Here in Santa Cruz County, we have an incredible amount of creative locals who share their talents with our community and beyond. We assume that we have more of these gifted individuals in Santa Cruz than the average county, but we have no stats to back that up. Whether locally made, sourced, or curated, there are a ton of options just down the street – so before browsing Amazon, think of supporting your neighborhood artisan!
We asked our team, a dedicated crew of Santa Cruzians, for their favorite local business recommendations – and boy did we get an onslaught of ideas! In no particular order, here’s what the Strock team recommends when shopping locally for the holidays:
Magnolia Fine Gifts & Gallery
Our agent Rose Wood recommends Magnoli. No, not the Chip and Joanna Target brand – we have an Aptos version! This local lifestyle store has the word “gift” right in it – need we say more? Specializing in eclectic jewelry, inlaid knives, hand-blown glass, wood bowls, candles, & much more, you’re bound to find something for the pickiest recipient on your list.
Our agent Amy Connolly is a big fan of Outside In, a local store that sells gifts, home decor, jewelry, and luxury clothing. Right now you can find fleece jackets, beautiful candles, and something called Maple Bacon Onion Jam (stocked online, last time we checked!). Rule number 1: You can’t go wrong with bacon!
Our Director of Operations, Tarra McPartland, loves shopping at Lumen Gallery in Capitola. You’ll find stellar artwork created by local artists and other hand-selected trinkets. We’re eyeing the CBD bath soaking salts!
The Farm Bakery Cafe & Gifts
Justina Bryant, our Marketing Director, does her holiday shopping at The Farm. This locally beloved eatery is known for using fresh fresh ingredients (yep, we know we have fresh twice – we meant it). So, you can really kill two birds with one stone here – get some delicious food annnnd nab some thoughtful stocking stuffers. Win-win.
Waves & Fades
If you’re looking for some great gifts for the guys on your list, our ISA Joey Vanni suggests Waves and Fades. This is more than your average barbershop – it’s also a surf shop! You might not be buying your bro a new single fin board, but maybe you can treat him to some locally-made merch, all-natural products, or even a gift card for this white-glove haircut (and beard trim) experience.
For the plant mama/papa on your list, stop by Dig Gardens – suggested by our agent Kelsey Brown. They have options for any size space – from windowsills, to cozy patios, to huge backyards. They also have a generous selection of home decor (yes, largely plant-themed) including their absolutely stunning wreaths that every neighbor will be jealous of
The True Olive Connection
For that particularly refined recipient on your Christmas list, Nicole Tonti says you can’t go wrong with the 18-years aged olive oil from Olive Oil Connection or the premade chai mix from India Joe’s. Stock those cupboards with the good stuff!
Gayle’s Bakery & Roticceria
So, our agent Kevin Bell claims that the Seasalt Chocolate Cake from Gayle’s Bakery is the best thing he’s ever eaten – that is a bold claim! But, we dare you to take him up on it – because you won’t be disappointed with anything from this place (and your friends + family won’t be either)!
Our Transaction Coordinator Nicole Neilsen loves shopping for loved ones at Ethos, a reduce, reuse, recycle shop. You’ll find cool stuff like reusable coffee filters, unpaper towels, washable facial rounds, or even a dog shampoo bar – perfect for the environmentally conscious person on your list!
The Closet Shopper
Another great spot to find green products is the Closet Shopper. Our Office Manager Maya Bolle loves to hunt for gently used second-hand items that are eager for another home. This place is also stocked with homey accessories like blankets and mugs too!
Botanic & Luxe
For the self-care warrior in your life, you’ll have to check out Botanic and Luxe! Our Social Media Manager Emily Basanese loves gifting all-natural products. With plenty of organic, vegan, and cruelty-free options, you’ll find a spa-worthy gift for anyone in need of some self-love.
The Warmth Company was recommended a couple of times by our Sales Manager Nancy and Agent Todd Allen. Todd said that he’d love his house to be decorated just like this store, so basically you can’t go wrong with any of their cozy wares.
Santa Cruz Farmer’s Markets
Last but not least, check out the local Farmer’s Markets! Ben Strock loves strolling through the booths and picking out hand-made gifts from vendors who may not have a brick-and-mortar storefront just yet. It’s almost like speed dating, but speed shopping – and we like the sound of that!