The holidays are right around the corner, and you’ll want to snatch up a special gift for that special someone. Whether perusing San Mateo County for inspiration or actual gift giving, you’ll find just what you’re looking a few surprises! Here is our ultimate guide to unique shops in our area, plus tips on what to buy at each. 


Where: 1440 Burlingame Ave.
Perfect for: foodies

Packing for a picnic? Stock up on the essentials at Del’Oliva in Burlingame, which specializes in fine and fresh products, like olive oils and balsamic vinegars from around the world. Scrumptious and unique flavors of organic extra virgin olive oil include Harissa, Eureka Lemon and Milanese Gremolata. Versatile dark and white balsamic vinegars pair perfectly with bread and are fantastic on salads. We love the unexpected Dark Chocolate balsamic vinegar drizzled on vanilla gelato.

Del’Oliva also carries a wide selection of gourmet foods—honey, jam, pasta grains and sauces, marinades, sweet and savory treats, and more. Even if you’re not the biggest foodie, there are other unique trinkets and souvenirs to buy for friends back home, especially ceramics, books and even gift baskets.


The Clock Tower Shop at Filoli

Where: Filoli in Woodside
Perfect for: history buffs and gardeners

Located in the Carriage House under the clock tower in Filoli, the Clock Tower Shop is one of our area’s most distinctive stores for home decor.

Sift through the seasonal and Filoli-inspired merchandise for clothing, gift sets and furniture. Many of the shop’s elegant herbal products, spice blends and vinegars are handcrafted from Filoli-grown plants in the kitchen onsite. If you head to the courtyard adjacent to the shop, there are plenty of pots, plants and garden decor and accessories to choose from. It might even inspire you to start a garden of your own! Best of all, with 16 acres of formal gardens and a 654-acre estate, Filoli provides ample opportunity for wandering.


Half Moon Honey

Where: Coastside Farmers’ Market
Perfect for: holistic living

If you’re a fan of honey, we have the shop for you. Teri and Gary Butler, the creators of Half Moon Honey sell twice monthly at the local Coastside Farmers’ Market. For those who suffer from allergies, raw local honey is a good way to get acclimated to the allergens in a new environment. Since honey contains bee pollen, it does all sorts of great things for the body, like ward off infections and boost overall immunity. Due to its popularity, many other stores on the coast sell Half Moon Honey, too. 


Spread the Love Jams & Jellies

Where: Half Moon Bay and surrounding areas
Perfect for: hosting parties

If honey isn’t enough of a sweet treat for you, try some of the flavors at Spread the Love Jams & Jellies, made with organic ingredients and sold at several fine places, including Spangler’s Market in El Granada, Cunha’s Country Store in Half Moon Bay, La Honda Country Market and the Coastside Farmers’ Market on Cabrillo Highway. For an entire afternoon of pampering, head to The Ritz-Carlton, which also stocks Spread the Love, for cocktails and then pack a picnic of bread, gourmet cheese and some jellies. Try the mixed berry jam, a combination of strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.



Where: 5450 Coast Hwy., Pacifica
Perfect for: adventure-seekers

Outdoor adventurers will get their fill at Traveler, an outdoor and adventure retail store selling all types of seasonal activewear for men, women and children. Of course, traveling isn’t just about the’s also about journaling, so stock up on inspirational books, journals and everything in between. If you’re into travel-friendly fashion, there is some unique jewelry here as well, along with surf and yoga gear. Considering how many hikes, bike trails and outdoor attractions our area has, this store will get you in tip-top shape.


Harvest Festival 2017

Where: San Mateo County Event Center
Perfect for: art connoisseurs

When it comes to holiday gift ideas, the more distinctive the better. Harvest Festival 2017, Nov. 10-12 at the San Mateo County Event Center, is a one-stop shop for everything handmade. With hundreds of artisans exhibiting, you’ll see everything from fine jewelry and blown glass to wood art, metalwork and photography. As the old saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder—meaning there’s something for everyone. To keep you entertained, live music and performers, such as Tom Rigney and Flambeau, a Cajun/zydeco band, and comedic juggling act Scotty and Trink, will be featured on the main stage.

Great Dickens Christmas Fair

Where: Cow Palace
Perfect for: one-of-a-kind gifts

Another fun shopping hub for unique holiday gifts is the Great Dickens Christmas Fair at the Cow Palace, when the exhibition halls transform into the winding streets, pub rooms and dance parties of Charles Dickens’ London. There’s a bit of everything at this quirky, Victorian-themed fair—apothecaries, emporiums, art, literature, ceramics, toys, ornaments and more. The fair begins Nov. 18 and goes until Dec. 17, giving you ample time to find the perfect gift for the most precious people in your life. Plus, there will be live music and entertainment—including English country dance—a Father Christmas Stage and dining options, where you’ll feast on food and drink from the British Empire and beyond.


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