by Janet Alexander
This the holiday season, and with this festive time of year come the traditions of holiday celebrations and, of course, the annual custom of holiday shopping, which for many feels like an annual chore that can come with the annual tradition of a holiday headache.
Finding the perfect presents to fulfill wish lists can daunt even the most seasoned gifting guru. One way to prevent your holiday merriment from turning into a holiday meltdown is simply to think outside the big-box store. Avoid the frenzy of overcrowded name brand megastores and shopping centers to let your holiday spirit roam free among the native Bay Area shops and boutiques that are as unique as Marin itself. Let our list of local gift stores be the saving grace of your holiday season sanity. Give the gift of Marin
Great Acorn Company Inc.
Nestled in the junction where downtown San Rafael ends and downtown San Anselmo begins, sits the Great Acorn Company. Originally opening its doors in 1976, The Great Acorn was purchased in 1995 from its original founder, Judy Tilt, by co-owners Judy Morris, a San Anselmo resident, and Mary Rathbun, who is from Ross. This store’s eclectic collection, which includes clothing, accessories, homewares, books, stationary, and more, predominantly features jewelry handcrafted by various Bay Area artists. 800 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo
In keeping with its name, Terrestra focuses on natural materials that come from the earth. Ray Kristof and Amy Satran, husband and wife who own and curate Terrestra, travel abroad to cull distinctive ceramic, glass and wood pieces from international designers, while also sourcing handcrafted fashion accessories and jewelry from individual artists—not wholesale manufacturers—across the U.S. Terrestra in Mill Valley opened less than a year ago as a companion to its San Francisco counterpart. 30 Miller Ave., Mill Valley
Beach House Style
Friends Susan Delurgio and Alisha Peterson founded Beach House Style in 2006, to combine their shared love of the easy, breezy sand and surf lifestyle. Brimming with all the airy interior trappings of a beach house, BHS also offers its own custom line of reclaimed wood furniture. You can keep a bit of summer’s warmth all year long with Beach House Style. This downtown Fairfax treasure is one of Marin’s better kept retail secrets. 779 Center Blvd., Fairfax
Toby’s is a product of its environment, stocked with seasonal produce and dairy from the surrounding West Marin farms. This is a place where gourmands can find locally pressed olive oils, premium coffees and tea, all-natural snacks, and even feed for animals—large and small—of discerning taste. The homegrown charm of a farm shop suits holiday tables. The scenic drive through Point Reyes makes this a holiday trip in and of itself, or at least a holiday detour worth taking. 11250 Highway One, Point Reyes Station
Moss & Daughters
Tolan Clark Florence, a Mill Valley native and the wife of Food Network star Tyler Florence, describes her home gifts store as a “low-key family affair.” It joined the pre-existing dynasty of Florence owned businesses—Moss&Moss, El Paseo and Tyler Florence Shop—clustered together within the same block, when it opened in 2012. Simpatico candles, Mosser Glass cake stands, vintage stemware and decorative bird feeders are but a few of Mrs. Florence’s favorite things that you’ll find at her so-called “happy place.” 1 El Paseo Ln., Mill Valley
Koze reflects the rustic, chic side of Marin’s character, as well as the formidable fashion career credentials of its owner and Bay Area resident, Darla Fisher, who was the former director of sales for Jessica McClintock. True to its name, the core business of Koze is cashmere, with six collections that embody the philosophy of the store. “Our clothes aren’t fussy,” she says. Prices range from $49 to $300—price points that fit most sized wallets. This subtle luxury carries through to its attached accessories shop, Annex. 16 Main St., Tiburon
Ask Janet what she wants for the holidays at [email protected].