A guide for shopping local in Silicon Valley this holiday season


Everyone’s singing the “Supply Chain Blues” this year, worried their holiday gifts won’t make it home in time. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution that avoids shipping woes and might actually help small businesses in Silicon Valley: Shop local.

And if you don’t know where to start, don’t worry because I’ve got a few suggestions that could cover everybody on your list — especially if they live in the Bay Area.

GAME NIGHT: Believe it or not, there’s a knock-off version of Monopoly based on San Jose called — you guessed it — San Jose-Opoly. You might remember there was a Silicon Valley board game called In the Chips back in the early ’80s and a SiliconValleyOpoly later in the decade, and both were so-so at best.

This one is spot-on, with Santana Row and San Pedro Square Market occupying the traditional Boardwalk and Park Place spots and references to Falafel’s Drive-In, Cinequest, San Jose Jazz and Shoe Palace. My only complaint is that the game tokens are generic and it really needs an Electric Light Tower and a Quetzalcoatl for authenticity’s sake, though that’s nothing a good 3-D printer can’t fix.

Admittedly, this first suggestion is a bit of a cheat because it’s not locally produced and I bought mine at Walgreen’s for $20, plus tax. The woman behind me in line said, “San Jose-Opoly? That’s hella crazy.” Oh yes, it is.

GETTING PERSONAL: Hammer & Nails is a relatively new men’s grooming salon that opened at 1151 Lincoln Ave. in Willow Glen, which offers haircuts, shaves, beard grooming, manicures and pedicures for guys in a setting that’s more “Mad Men” than beauty salon. Guys can even get their tootsies pampered while enjoying a glass of whiskey, sitting in a spacious leather chair and watching an overhead TVs. Services run from $60 for a classic cut to $180 for a premium manicure and pedicure combo, and they even offer memberships with two services a month included. You can get a gift card at www.hammerandnailsgrooming.com.

HOLIDAY FINDS: The Bay Area Glass Institute has its annual ornament and holiday sale going on Nov. 27 through Dec. 19 at History Park in San Jose, with lots of handmade glass gifts. Or you could sign up for a two-hour class and learn to make a glass snowman ornament or Christmas tree yourself. Check out www.bagi.org for details or head over to History Park, 1650 Senter Road.

San Jose Made’s Craft Holiday Fair is also happening at the Santa Clara Convention Center from Nov. 26-28 with more than 300 makers, artists and designers selling their stuff. Go to www.sanjosemade.com for details, and be forewarned: The 49ers are playing Sunday at 1:25 p.m., so you will want to arrive and leave before then to avoid traffic headaches.

MUSEUM STORE SUNDAY: This is a real thing on Nov. 28 that was started five years ago because, well, something has to come between Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, right?

The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles recently gave its on-site shop a big makeover with new items for textiles fans or art lovers in general. And while you’re there, it’s worth checking out their new exhibitions. Go to www.sjquiltmuseum.org for hours and other details.

The San Jose Museum of Art’s store is one of the best places in the city to find interesting gifts, from scarves and other apparel to puzzles, jewelry and books, and there’s always something related to the current exhibitions. You don’t need to pay admission to visit the store, and museum members, who already get a 10% discount, will get a double-discount the first two weekends of December. Check it out at store.sjmusart.org.

The Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara also has an art sale on Sunday, featuring ceramics, glassware and artwork by Treg Silkwood, Cindy Saracco, Bobby Bowes, Ken Takara and Gavin Piemsomboon. There’ll also be live music and wine offered during the 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. event. Find out more at www.tritonmuseum.org.

EXPERIENCE NECESSARY: If you’re shopping for someone who doesn’t want more “stuff,” how about a cool experience?

You can get tickets or a subscription to any of the valley’s theaters, most of which have brought back live, in-person performances. Need some hints? Try City Lights Theatre Company (www.cltc.org), San Jose Stage (thestage.org), Tabard Theatre Company (www.tabardtheatre.org), TheatreWorks Silicon Valley (www.theatreworks.org), or San Jose Playhouse (www.sanjoseplayhouse.org).

Got families on your list? Get tickets or splurge for a membership at the Tech Interactive (www.thetech.org), Children’s Discovery Museum (www.cdm.org), the Computer History Museum (www.computerhistory.org), Happy Hollow Park & Zoo (hhpz.org) or the new Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo.

And I bet you know somebody who’s never been to the Winchester Mystery House or Great America.

THE WRITE STUFF: I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for bookstores, and I think you just can’t go wrong introducing a favorite book to a new reader. I recommend stopping by Hicklebee’s (hicklebees.com) on Lincoln Avenue, Books Inc. (www.booksinc.net) at the PruneYard in Campbell, Mountain View and Palo Alto; Recycle Books (recyclebookstore.com) in San Jose or Campbell, Leigh’s Favorite Books (www.leighsbooks.com) in Sunnyvale or Bell’s Books (www.bellsbooks.com) in Palo Alto.

FOOD (AND DRINK) FOR THOUGHT: If you’ve got a fan of beer, wine or spirits on your list, try 10th Street Distillery in San Jose, Joseph George Fine Wines or any of the South Bay microbreweries (Hermitage, Narrative Fermentations, Clandestine Brewing and Camino Brewing are among my San Jose favorites). You also can’t go wrong getting a gift card to a favorite local restaurant or just offering to take someone out for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

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