Holiday Guide 2008: Creative giving - Page 2

Cheap and DIY ideas for giving on a shoestring
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All your giftee need do is attach earrings — both dangly and post styles — to the net, and they're on display for all to see.

SHOP SMART

If you like a crafty feel but don't have the creative touch yourself, there are plenty of local artisans ready to sell you their wares — for much lower prices and with much more flair than you might find at big corporate stores. Some of the best gifts are available over at Etsy (www.etsy.com), where you can search for nearby vendors. Our favorites include SquishySushi pendants made from recycled Scrabble pieces, TalkingHands jewelry in the shape of sign language letters, rings from contraptions that are made to look like they've been scarred in battle, and bottlecap necklaces by recaps.

If you're shopping for a crafter, a great idea is a gift certificate to Noe Knit Flicks at NoeKnit (3957 24th St., SF.), which treats him or her to a night of movie-watching and needle-clicking. Other affordable local stops? Stylish marshmallows from Coco-luxe (1673 Haight, SF. 415-367-4012, www.coco-luxe.com), Little Mismatched socks from Sock Heaven (2801 Leavenworth, SF. 415-563-7327, www.sockheavensf.com), or funky zines from Needle and Pens (3253 16th St., SF. 415-255-1534, www.needles-pens.com).

We also love the papers, pens, and tchotchkes at Kinokuniya Bookstore (1581 Webster, SF. 415-567-7625, www.kinokuniya.com). You can find all kinds of vintage clothes, jewelry, and other delights at Alemany Flea Market (100 Alemany, SF. 415-647-2043), Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. And you can get all kinds of kitchenware goodies — at wholesale prices! — at Economy Restaurant Fixtures (1200 Seventh St., SF. 415-626-5611, www.bigtray.com).

Of course, there are tons more places to get cheap gifts in town. This is just a starting point. Neighborhood boutiques, crafts fairs, and art shows are great places to find one-of-a-kind objects that'll not only delight those on your list, but also support our local economy. Used books and CDs are always good for media types. A collection of magazines — perhaps foreign ones from Fog City that might be hard to find otherwise — can be beautiful and cost-effective.

The most important thing to remember is that when trying to give a gift with minimal cash, you should think about the message you want to send. Showing someone they're important to you, important enough to pay attention to, can mean just as much as getting them the Guitar Hero for MacBook game they know you've been wanting (hint hint, Mom). And who knows? Maybe next year, Obama will give us a better economy for Christmas. *

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