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The Express' Holiday Gift Guide 2016

For giving in Oakland, Berkeley, and beyond.



We figured you'd need some help. So, we came up with 25 giving options this holiday — all either local, or by local artists or makers. Or at least we're pretty sure they're local wares (we keed, we keed).

This list has a little bit of everything. Want to read about climbing a ton of friggin' stairs? We got you. Want a Screw Trump poster? Done.

Here's our list. Now go get shopping!

Not Your President: #JACKASS Trump Poster

It's official: You don't like Donald Trump. Your friends don't like Donald Trump. Nobody here likes Donald Trump. But is it really official if you don't have a locally screen printed poster hanging on your window to let the world know? In the spirit of outspoken Bay Area radicalism, bring your friends into the fold of an unending political diatribe by gifting them the perfect anti-Trump conversation starter: the #JACKASS poster by Political Gridlock. You've probably already seen them wheat pasted pretty much everywhere in the Bay Area. Pro tip: sometimes these posters are handed out at local protests, so if you're too busy smashing the patriarchy to cash out on a consumerist, capitalist, made up holiday, you can keep the anti-Christmas, anti-Trump spirit alive by donning a ski mask and jetting to the nearest protest and picking up one for free. Gridlock.com. (PR)

Do-It-Yourself: Knitting needles, fabric and other DIY inspo at A Verb for Keeping Warm

It doesn't get more local than a DIY project. And the place to find all sorts of crafting tools and inspiration in Oakland is a Verb for Keeping Warm. Founder Kristine Vejar's brick and mortar shop — which includes a store, two classrooms, two dye studios, and a dye garden — offers classes on everything from natural dyeing to knitting, spinning, and weaving. You can make it a gift that keeps on giving with a knitting 101 workshop or a how-to book. And if you can't make up your mind between sewing patterns, yarn, and other organic fibers, gift cards for classes or store goods can be purchased in person or online. 6328 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, AVerbForKeepingWarm.com. (SJ)

Take A Hike, err, a Climb: Secret Stairs: East Bay: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Berkeley and Oakland by Charles Fleming

It may seem slightly passive-aggressive to give someone a book full of staircases they can climb — "Oh, just in case you ever get up off the couch" — but if you're going to send your loved one off on a walk, may it be as magical as the ones documented in Secret Stairs. Each of the book's 38 self-guided hikes focuses on one of the East Bay's most charming features: the hundreds of pathways and public staircases that wind through many of its residential neighborhoods, hidden away in plain sight. The walks are rated according to length, duration, difficulty, and number of stairs climbed. They take you past interesting architecture and sweeping views, and, of course, they make for great exercise. Not that I'm saying you need it. Available at various East Bay bookstores and online booksellers. (LT)

A Reason to Return Near Campus: Art supplies at The Ink Stone

Even though there's a rarely a good reason to immerse yourself in the drudgery of the UC Berkeley student population, Ink Stone might actually be one that's worth the push. Although small, and relatively difficult to find, the art supply store actually offers a huge variety of goods, from spray paints to acrylics to acid-free sketch pads and everything else your creative minds could imagine. If you're looking for a unique notebook of any sort, stop by Ink Stone. They have enough for days. 2302 Bowditch St., Berkeley, 510-843-1162, TheInkStone.com. (EY)

Heal the Bay: Stones and crystals at Sacred Well

In case you're looking for some healing in this tough time, Sacred Well is the place to be. The metaphysical store is one of Oakland's most famous, and its staggering collection of healing stones, crystals, and herbs are enough to satisfy even the most obscure of your homeopathic needs. Offering everything from protection candles to tarot readings or spiritual mentoring, this unique shop is the perfect venture for those who drift more than normal into the supernatural or the unknown. For a gift that challenges the mundane every day, stumble into Sacred Well for a moment of respite and blissful unknown. 536 Grand Ave., Oakland, SacredWell.com. (EY)

More Than Just Stationary: Japanese-inspired goodies at Miki's Paper

If you're looking for something a bit more special than your average clothing and jewelry, Miki's Paper is definitely the place to go. The walls of the small, quaint store on Fourth Street are decorated with papers of all shapes, colors, and sizes. The Japanese-themed shop is also not limited to simply paper goods. They offer hair clips, pencils, and many other small trinkets you definitely wouldn't think to find at a stationery shop. 1801 Fourth St., Berkeley, 510-845-9530, MikisPaper.com. (EY)

Hella Fresh Fish: Community-supported fisheries

The community-supported-agriculture model transformed the business of growing vegetables as well as the consumer experience of buying produce. The same is now true for seafood thanks to the community supported fishery, or CSF. For anywhere from $23 to $200 per week, you can get the freshest fish, shellfish, crab, shrimp, and other bounty of the sea, and in so doing you're buying it practically straight from the boat captains who haul in the catch each day. It's a great way to enjoy sustainable seafood and support northern California's fishers. The Seaforager (SeaForager.com), Siren Fish Company (SirenSeasa.com), and Real Good Fish (RealGoodFish.com) all have drop-off locations throughout the East Bay where members can pick up whatever's in season. A typical year includes salmon, various species of rockfish, mussels, oysters, tuna, sole, and halibut, but also ocean riches that are harder to find in supermarkets like spot prawns, surf smelt, butter clams, red abalone, opa, swordfish, and even fresh seaweed. (DB)

Perfect Accessories: Timeless jewelry at Marisa Mason