Yes, this is really just a smallish wooden star at the end of a thinnish wooden rod. We will not argue! But the star comes in such pretty colors, and the simple wooden-toyness of it conjures up childhood loveliness. Plus, hello — instantly anyone becomes a fairy princess or Harry Potter! Cool tyke hotspot Fiddlesticks has an array of neat matching outfits and other magical doo-dads.
508 Hayes, Hayes Valley, SF. (415) 565-0508, www.shopfiddlesticks.com
CHOCOLATE BAR WITH POPPING ROCKS
Oh, Christopher Elbow, chocolatier to the stars! Your gem-colored, bite-sized, often Bucky Dome-shaped chocolates tend toward adventurous flavors like Venezuelan spice, rosemary caramel, and spiced pear. But you keep it real with our favorite quick trip back to childhood: the Christopher Elbow chocolate bar No. 6. A thick slab of dark chocolate bursting with popping candy rocks? Chocolate plus fun equals win.
401 Hayes, Hayes Valley, SF. (415) 355-1105, www.elbowchocolates.com
OWL-SHAPED MUG, $8.99
Kamei Housewares and Restaurant Supply
Who-who can't resist a cup of joe from a lovable owl? Kamei's got what you need in terms of high class, unique kitchenware on the cheap. It also has out-of-the-kitchen objects — check by the front door for a stack of beautiful paper parasols for the promenading perambulator on your list.
525-547 Clement, Richmond, SF. (415) 666-3699
FELT MUSHROOM, $6 AND $8
Let's spend the holidays shrooming! For your most cherished permagrinner (or possibly Smurf) come these beauties, small and large, in orange, gray, brown, and blue combinations. Made of sustainable wool by a couple in Nepal, these squishy caps fit perfectly in your hand — and also fit right in with Lotus Bleu's dazzlingly patterned, natural fabric goods aesthetic.
325 Hayes, Hayes Valley, SF. (415) 861-2700, www.lotusbleudesign.com
TAKENOTSUYU YUKI HONOKA "SILENT SNOW" SAKE, $8
True Sake was recently anointed by The New York Times as a true original, a gem of a space specializing in nothing but sakes. Seriously, dozens of gorgeous bottles and wildly diverse flavors await you here. Our pick is this super-cute, super-fresh, super-smooth sake. Wine is so passé — put a little bow on one of these beauties and come off sophisticated.
560 Hayes, Hayes Valley, SF. (415) 355-9555, www.truesake.com