Shop Oakland this holiday season

8 Dec

Holiday shopping can be stressful. Waiting in long lines, spending way too much time online trying to find the perfect gift, and driving around the Bay Area in traffic isn’t much fun. But there’s an easier and more rewarding way to do your holiday shopping – shop Oakland.

When you shop at local Oakland businesses, you’ll generally avoid the lines (and much of the driving) and find some very unique gifts. Plus, your dollars will be circulated back into the local community instead of sent off to another city or country.

Sound good to you? If so, join The Great Oakland Grown Holiday Challenge. Oakland Grown, which represents and promotes independent Oakland businesses and artists, is asking Oaklanders to commit to spending a certain percentage on holiday shopping at local businesses. You can either go all out and commit to spending 100% of your dollars here or figure out a percentage that works for you.

I committed to 50% because I’ve already done some of my holiday shopping in Hawaii and at a goat farm in Pescadero, but I’m going to try to do the rest of my shopping here in Oakland.

I signed up today for the Holiday Challenge and hope you’ll do so too. Oakland Grown will send you reminders and once the Challenge is over, if you fill out a survey you’ll be entered to win prizes from Oakland businesses.

Maybe you’d like to shop locally but are not sure where to go. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Check out the Oakland Grown Holiday Gift Guide. They have tons of ideas for local gifts you can buy at stores and online from jewelry, to furniture, to gifts for the little ones in your life.
  2. Go to the Crucible’s Holiday Gifty Art Sale this Friday-Sunday. I go to this every year and always find many incredible gifts. Not all of the artists are Oaklanders but many are and the rest are local to the Bay Area. If you’ve ever thought about taking a class at the Crucible (or gifting one), this would be the time, as they’ll be offering a 20% discount this weekend.
  3. Don’t have much time to do shopping or just want to get it over with? There are two Oakland stores that could each fulfill all or most of your gifting needs. I’ve written here before about Rockridge Home, where I’ve purchased dozens of gifts over the years. Since I’ve moved closer to Piedmont, I’ve discovered Nathan & Co, which is now my go to store for gifts. Both places have a huge range in prices, items, and styles – kitchen tools, books, jewelry, clothing, furniture, art, and just about everything in between.
  4. UPDATE: Somehow I didn’t find out about this until just now, but Oakland Urban Paths is hosting their First Annual Walk & Shop this Saturday. The walk will wind through three business districts via historic stairways and pathways. Sadly I have a meeting this Saturday, since I’d love to check out more of the stairways in my neighborhood, but luckily they offer a map so you can do the walk and shop on your own, which I plan to do.

Now that you know where to shop locally, sign up for Great The Oakland Grown Holiday Challenge. You’ll be joining Mayor-Elect Jean Quan and Councilmember-Elect Libby Schaaf in taking the challenge. (I suspect this challenge won’t be too hard for Libby as I’ve never met anyone as committed to shopping in Oakland as she is.)

If you want an awesome Oakland Grown shopping bag to use while you shop locally, stop by Farley’s tomorrow (Thursday) from 5-9pm for the Oakland Grown Happy Hour. Farley’s will donate 20% of the proceeds from the evening to Oakland Grown, and it will be a great chance to meet business owners, artists, and supporters of local businesses.

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