Related Articles: Clothing & Accessories, Arts & Crafts, Home & Garden, All

Gifting in Noe Valley

Gifting, the age-old practice of giving stuff to others, is a year-round sport as the calendar is littered with various holidays and special occasions that require you to get out and spend. The specialty shops and boutiques along 24th Street in Noe Valley can help with this task. Shopping addicts from all over the Bay Area come here to take care of their gifting needs, no matter what the season, occasion or recipient requires.

Kids of all ages love The Ark, a toy store where you'll find tiny treasures such as hand puppets and oversized stuffed animals. They carry a wonderful selection of toys and games that entertain and promote child development with very little plastic (something to be proud of). Most of the goodies you'll find here are made of wood (see the Brio line) and imported from Europe.

Looking for something with an Asian influence? The owners of Toko Arts successfully combine their passion for Asian products and modern design in their jewelry, furniture, children's mobiles and games from Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. One of my favorites is the dachshund-shaped wood and pewter salt and pepper shakers!

The smell of incense and the soft East Asian music will let you know you are in Xela (pronounced shay-la). The walls are lined with beautiful crystals, jewelry for all body parts, Buddha figurines, silk scarves in lively color combinations and candles in many shapes and sizes.

Global Exchange is an international human rights organization, and all proceeds are used to promote fair labor and worker's rights around the world. This shop has been in Noe for over five years (sister shop in Berkeley), continuously adding to the beautiful and unique gifts piled from floor to ceiling. Just walking through the store is like navigating a narrow path in Golden Gate Park on a treasure hunt.

You'll find Marilyn Sitkoff selling whimsical clothing for adults to wear at Ocean Front Walkers. Silk Hawaiian shirts from the 30s and 40s line the walls with novelty socks and Freudian Slippers. The licensed characters on her novelty boxers and loungewear will bring back fond memories. My favorites are the retro sleepwear - pink pajamas with Lucy in the Chocolate Factory and the Mr. Bill boxer shorts.

Jack Epstein makes all the unique blue boxes you see in Chocolate Covered Sweets & Gifts. Each box is handmade using Japanese washi paper and photographs his clients provide him. Ask Jack for a demo and he'll happily show you his creations and the details of cyanotype photo processing. He has over 125 different designs for small to lunchbox size and carries about 100 different brands of the finest chocolates to fill your custom-designed box.

Marjory Panetti opened Panetti's over 15 years ago and has become a destination spot for folks from all over the Bay Area. She carries a broad range of contemporary items imported from Europe as well as made by local artists, from glassware to pillows, candles and cards. Come in and check out the latest design of German Love Plates (if you are a Food Network junkie, you'll know what I'm talking about).

Just For Fun & Scribbledoodles is a gift and stationary store. You'll find playful gifts, cards and seasonal decorations here. It's always fun to walk by the front windows to see the latest party theme available inside, and come summertime, you're guaranteed a window dedicated to the fine art of barbequing!

============

Chocolate Covered Sweets and Gifts
3977 24th Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
Phone: 415.641.8123
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am - 7pm
Sunday 12noon - 6pm

Panettis
3927 24th Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
Phone: 415.648.2414
Hours: Daily 11am - 6pm