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Life Boost

Wed, Dec 02, 2020

2020 Holiday Gift Guide

Did you know that with every purchase you make, small business owners and local creators erupt into jazz-hands and gleeful jumps?? To celebrate the creativity and abundance of Santa Cruz County we've rounded up gift guides spanning local shops to DIY creations to carefully curated experiences based on our staff recommendations.

Do remember to shop responsibly, as Covid-19 health restrictions are still in effect. Many of the businesses listed below offer contactless pickup or delivery to ensure the safety of their shoppers. Please do your part to continue keeping each other safe and abide by community guidelines.

If you find yourself cruising through Downtown Santa Cruz during your gift search, be sure to stop by the MAH & check out our outdoor exhibition, Community is Collective Care. Located behind Abbott Square, the sunkissed patio, vibrant mural, and an array of food options make it the perfect place to recharge.

Happy shopping!


The Environmentalist

  1. Botanic & Lux: Fruit + Veg Print – Shop online or in Downtown Santa Cruz
  2. Homeless Garden Project: Reusable Bamboo Utensil Set – Shop online or in Downtown Santa Cruz
    • Give the gift of zero-waste with this reusable utensil set made from bamboo! Perfect for the on-the-go camper in your life.
  3. No Trace Shop: Beeswax Wrap
    • This reusable kitchen wrap is made entirely from organic cotton and beeswax, making it the ideal gift for that special sustainable someone!
  4. Fybr: Bamboo Takeaway Mug – Shop online or in Downtown Santa Cruz
  5. Ethos Shop: Friendsheep Dryer Balls – Shop online, free pick-up in Capitola, or opt for local bike delivery.
    • Make your laundry days up to 40% shorter and 100% more fun! Ditch dryer sheets and switch to an eco-friendly, toxin-free laundry with Dryer Balls.

The Adventurer

  1. MBMurals: The Ville Shirts & Stickers – Shop via DM on Facebook or Instagram
  2. Pacific Wave: Santa Cruz Hooded Windbreaker – Shop online or in Downtown Santa Cruz
    • Rep your favorite city with this lined windbreaker, fitted with a water-resistant shell to keep you dry during Santa Cruz downpours!
  3. Maria Schoettler – ”I Brake for Wildflowers” Bumper Sticker – Shop online
  4. California State Parks Annual Pass – Shop online
    • Support your local parks and give the gift of the great outdoors. We recommend Golden Poppy Pass as it includes more Northern California parks like Julia Pfeiffer Burns in Big Sur
  5. Berdels: Khordz Mug x Berdels – Shop online or in Downtown Santa Cruz
  6. The MAH: LandScapes – Shop online
    • Learn all about the environmental and historic preservation of Santa Cruz County through first-hand accounts and gorgeous images. Informative and makes for great conversations as a coffee table book.
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The Jewelry Lover

  1. Siesta Clay (Maria Rosario): Gila Earrings – Shop online
    • These boho-style earrings are the perfect statement piece for your next outfit. Handmade by local Latinx artist Maria Rosario, these pieces are crafted from lightweight clay and are sure to turn heads.
  2. Stripe: Robins Earrings – Shop online or in Downtown Santa Cruz
  3. Rainbow's Clay: Donna Earring – Shop online
  4. Wallflower Boutique: Triangle Dalmatian Jasper Stone Necklace – Shop online or in Downtown Santa Cruz
  5. Laurie Tholen (Rizingemstar): Hand Stamped Jewelry
    • Handcrafted in Watsonville, these gorgeous necklaces feature funny, inspirational, and sweet remarks made from repurposed copper.
  6. EKZdesigns: Rose Earrings – Shop online
  7. Mountainside Made: Capri Earrings – Shop online

The Self-Care Maven

  1. Yoso Wellness: A Gift Card for a Massage or Facial – Shop online or in Downtown Santa Cruz
  2. Bonny Doon Farm: Soaps – Shop online
    • These artisan soaps are the perfect addition to a relaxing spa night. Hand-poured at Bonny Doon Farm, choose from a wide variety of scents from English Lavender to Sandalwood, to even a Dog Soap formulated for that furry friend in your life!
  3. Akasha Apothecary: Phoenix Oil – Shop online
  4. Artisans & Agency: Blithe & Bonny Hand Cream – Shop online or in Downtown Santa Cruz
    • Unwind with this luxurious, thick hand cream formulated with almond oil and shea butter. The perfect gift for keeping hands supple during the cold winter months!
  5. Wild Seed Utility Cream: Lemongrass – Shop online
  6. Baabushka: Wool Slippers – Shop online
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The Foodie

  1. Cat & Cloud: Coffee Subscription (Ships every 2 or 4 weeks) – Shop online
  2. The MAH: Harvesting Our Heritage
    • Learn new recipes & read chronicles of cuisine through this MAH publication! Offering a taste of local history without leaving you stuffed, this publication will fit perfectly on your coffee table, nightstand, or in use with your flour-dusted kitchen recipe collection.
  3. Mutari Chocolate: Straight Up Hot Chocolate – Shop online or in Downtown Santa Cruz
    • Cozy on up with a cup of this sweet & salty hot chocolate, made from cacao beans sourced from the Ugandan Semuliki Forest.
  4. Toque Blanche: Le Creuset Coffee Mug – Shop online or in Downtown Santa Cruz
    • While your travel plans may be put on hold, envision France every morning with this durable Le Creuset mug, expertly crafted to withstand continuous café cosplay.
  5. Aptos Apiary: Raw Honey – Shop online
    • Sweeten up your days with this raw honey sourced from the Aptos mountains! Available in Big Sur Black Sage or Summer Wildflower.
  6. Gift Cards to Local Restaurants – Give your favorite restaurant a call to see what they offer for gift certificates!

The Creative

  1. Sundry Studios: Hand Painted Landscape Art Print – Shop online or via Instagram DM
  2. GaiaBGreen: Epoxy Resin Coasters with Gold Foil – Shop via Instagram DM
    • Add some flair to your furniture with these custom resin coasters adorned with everything from gold foil to dried flowers! Created by UCSC students, proceeds from this store are donated towards racial justice efforts.
  3. Lumen Gallery: Fiesta Heart Print – Shop online or in Downtown Capitola
  4. Wild as Elle: Gnar Whal Print or Sticker – Shop online or via Instagram DM
  5. Home/Work: Lily Arnold Passion Fruit Print – Shop online or in Midtown Santa Cruz
  6. Little Giant Collective, Art Prints for sale at Tabby Cat Cafe downtown
    • Show our friends at the Tabby Cat Café some love by picking up a cappuccino and a custom art print from Little Giant Members!
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For the Youngins

  1. Childish Toy Shop: Red Wagon – Shop in Downtown Santa Cruz
  2. Carrasco Concepts: Stickers – Shop via Email or Instagram DM
    • Support student scholarships in Watsonville and pick up a few custom stickers from Carrasco Concepts.
  3. Be Natural Music: Music Lessons
    • Know an aspiring rockstar? Be Natural Music offers an array of remote classes from voice to ukulele to saxophone!
  4. Wonderland Toys & Classroom Resources: Gravitrax Interactive Track System – Shop online or in Aptos
  5. Santa Cruz Natural History Museum: A Walk in the Woods Kit – Shop online
    • Discover the natural history of the woods with this handy kit, including a portable field guide, mesh collecting bag, and jar with a magnifying lid. Use code MSS20 on November 29th for 10% off your purchase!
  6. Keep On Pushing Children’s Book by Adam Reber and legendary local artist Jimbo Phillips.


  1. Downtown Dollars
    • Enjoy the best of what Downtown Santa Cruz has to offer with this voucher, redeemable at a number of businesses. Shop online or at Bookshop Santa Cruz, the Downtown Information Kiosk, or Pacific Cookie Company.
  2. MAH Membership or Donation
    • Support by the MAH by gifting a membership or making a donation in someone's name to help us continue developing inspiring, educational programs. Use the code HOLIDAY2020 for 20% off your MAH Membership!
  3. Leaf & Vine: Houseplants & Uncommon Tropicals – Shop in Downtown Santa Cruz
  4. Simpatico: Leather Wallet – Shop online or in Felton
    • Function meets form in this stylish wallet made from full-grain Haitian leather. Purchases through Simpactico also help create sustainable development for Haitians through design, training, and job creation.
  5. Bookshop Santa Cruz: Hand Picked Custom Book Bundles – Shop online or in Downtown Santa Cruz
  6. Send Flowers – Watsonville delivery from Flowers by Toshi or greater Santa Cruz delivery from Bonny Doon Garden Company
    • Show your gratitude with a beautiful floral arrangement from one of our local florists, available for delivery in Santa Cruz, Watsonville, and Bonny Doon.

DIY Gifts

In the market for something a little more personal? You can’t go wrong with these thoughtful DIY gifts! In these uncertain times, it’s important to check in on loved ones with kindness and compassion. Handmade gifts are the perfect way to show someone you truly care about them. You can pick up your supplies from local retailers like Palace Art Supply or Lenz Arts.

Holiday gift guide
  1. Twisted Candles: Candles with a literal twist! All you need is hot water and skinny candles to make this aesthetically pleasing home decor gift.
  2. Embroidered Photos: Pull on heartstrings with this creative and personal way to give a photograph as a gift.
  3. Rose & Geranium Aromatherapy Gift Set: For costing under $10 to make, this gift set is ready to impress! Perfect for that person in your life who loves baths & self-care.
  4. Shrinky Dink Keychains: Doodle anything and make it into a one-of-a-kind key chain or ornament.
  5. Felt Ornament: Practice your sewing skills with this heartfelt ornament.

Give the Gift of a Local Experience

Set out or stay in, there is a lot to enjoy in Santa Cruz County. To give this gift to your loved one we recommend handcrafting a simple certificate for them to open. Mark the big idea or craft a moment to moment itinerary. They'll be sure to appreciate this quality time with you and hopefully uncover something new about the area.

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Outside on the Westside

Who doesn't like a sweet treat, a hike, and a cold beer on the beautiful westside of Santa Cruz? Start off with some sweet treats and coffee at the Westside Cat & Cloud. Fully caffeinated, then set off to Monarch Trail at Natural Bridges and the Seymour Center Coastal Bluffs & Native Plant Habitat. Close by and with plenty of free parking, these nature walks offer some of the best views of Santa Cruz. Round out the day with a cold beverage and delicious food at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing or West End Tap & Kitchen.

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A Day Trip to Pescadero

A small town located 45-minutes north of Santa Cruz, this will feel like a mini-vacation. Plan for lots of stops at sunny beaches and jaw-dropping views as you take a drive up the coast to Harley Goat Farms. Plan your tour or book a picnic in advance through their website before you go. We HIGHLY recommend planning your visit during baby goat season. Once you are in town you must stop for some famous Artichoke Bread at Norm's Market. Did you say that you love artichoke…? Well, you can dig in even more with some artichoke soup at Duarte's Tavern.

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Food Tour of Watsonville

Kick-off your day together with a seafood lunch at La Perla Del Pacifico. We, and everyone else on the planet, recommend al mojo de ajo (the butter garlic fish fillet). Then pop a block over for sweet treats at Gama Bakery. Be sure to get them to-go so you can take your goodies over to Watsonville Plaza. After a stroll through Downtown, finish off the day with a cold one at Corralitos Brewing. They specialize in IPAs, seasonal flavors, and sours.

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Disc Golfing at De La

Located in Santa Cruz, the De Laveaga Disc Golf Course is one of the highest-rated disc golf courses in the world! Put on good walking shoes and grab some water as the course includes large hills and uneven ground. Before heading out, treat your "gift receiver" to a disc or two at DJs Mini Mart. They have a huge variety to choose from here. We recommend picking up at least one long-range disc and one putting disc if you don't already have some. Then, set off for De La and on the way back out stop to grab a slice at Joe’s Pizza and enjoy their outdoor patio.

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Oysters & Champagne on the North Coast

A hidden treasure, American Abalone, is an abalone farm where you can come and eat oysters– and even shuck them yourself if you are up for it. You can bring your own champagne and create a romantic day out of it at this beautiful coastal farm. The farm is open Saturday and Sundays from 10am-4pm.


Eat & Be Well Together

There’s nothing better than a cozy winter night spent with loved ones. Stay in and try your hand at one of the delicious and soothing recipes featured in Magali Brecke and Liz Birnbaum's free fall cookbook, Eat & Be Well. Crafted, tested, designed, and photographed in Santa Cruz, the e-book is like nothing you've seen before. Bonus points if you pick up the ingredients from your local Farmer's Market. Find the farmer's market closest to you, check the open hours, and pack your reuseable bags to enjoy the freshest organic ingredients that SC County has to offer.

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Art & History Tour

Treat your person to a walking tour of Downtown Santa Cruz art and history. Start off down Pacific Avenue and be sure to have Santa Cruz City Art's helpful guide handy. Browse the sculpture and murals as you make your way to the MAH. There you can enjoy lunch in Abbott Square, beneath the mural found in Community is Collective Care. From there, set off towards the clock tower to the Santa Cruz Mission. Near Holy Cross Cruch you'll see a footbridge. Take that path down to Evergreen Cemetery. If you've packed drinks and snacks you can enjoy an afternoon picnic under the trees after takig a self-guided tour of the grounds.

Thanks for Reading!

If you enjoyed this gift guide be sure to share it. You can tag us on social media @santacruzmah. And, if you want to support the MAH consider making a donation or becoming a MAH Member. Your generosity enables us to maintain our collections, develop and produce exhibits, and present inspiring and educational programs year-round.