Holiday gift options from local stores

Shoppers can give personalized gifts and support Palo Alto stores


Anna Moragne/The Campanile

Bell’s Books offers a variety of new, used and rare books for different genres and ages.

The moment the calendar flips from Oct. 31 to Nov. 1, people will begin singing classic holiday songs such as “Jingle Bell Rock” and decorating their homes with colored lights and fake snowmen. People may as well jump on the bandwagon of holiday spirit and start searching for gifts ahead of time.

It is easy to shop on an online marketplace such as Amazon, but such shopping lacks fun and personal connection. This season, make an effort to support local businesses while finding the perfect gift, whether it be for a friend’s white elephant party or for any family member during the holidays.

Five Ten Gifts

Five Ten Gifts is a small shop that can easily be overlooked while strolling in downtown Palo Alto, but should not be disregarded. Though it occupies a small space, the shop has a nice array of gifts for the holidays.

The shop has been in the same location for the past 10 years and offers a variety of unusual and colorful kitchen supplies. The store also has jewelry, candles and spice mixes. It is a great place to pick up a gift for anyone who likes to spend their time trying new recipes in the kitchen.

Palo Alto Art Center Gift Shop

Adjacent to the Main Library, the Palo Alto Art Center has a small gift shop that is perfect for finding jewelry, vases and bowls for a grandparent, parent or friend with an artistic taste. All of the items in the gift shop are created by local artists and are very unique.

The selection also includes scarves, bags and jewelry that are hand-made, however, some of the jewelry is on the more expensive side. The shop even includes some of Palo Alto High School students’ glass blown creations in the store for viewers to catch a glimpse of.

Mills Florists

Mills Florists is a discreet hole-in -the-wall shop on University Avenue that has an array of flower arrangements and other plants. The best gifts found in this shop are the small, planted succulents. Mills has been in Palo Alto since 1903, making it the oldest florist in the city. The cute little shop is a small chain that only runs throughout the the Bay Area.

Zombie Runner

Many Palo Altans are aware of this store on California Avenue as a shop for runners, but are unaware that it provides more gift options for friends and family besides simply sneakers. Zombie Runner offers a wide selection of different items, from athletic apparel to water bottles and hiking packs.

However, Zombie Runner is also a great place to get a gift for those who love coffee and chocolate. Zombie Runner has a cafe in their store with different blends of coffee beans and chai mixes available. Furthermore, the cafe has a large assortment of milk and dark chocolate bars from all over the world to satisfy the sweet tooth of whoever receives it. Ultimately, Zombie Runner is a great local store to get holiday gifts.

Bell’s Books

Bell’s Books is the perfect location to get gifts for fellow bookworms. The small store offers a wide range of new, used and rare books of all genres. Even though many Palo Altans are not aware of the shop, it has been in town for 80 years. The store has a multitude of books, whether they be for a 5-year-old sibling or 75-year-old grandparent. They also have all types of books including travel guides, professors’ old books and newly released books.

United Nations Association Gift Shop

Although not quite an independent business, the United Nations Association Gift Shop is an excellent place to buy gifts for the holidays and one that should definitely be considered. The products are from all over the world, and most are fair-trade merchandise, with the proceeds going directly to the original artist.

The store offers a selection of scarves, bags, jewelry and some other colorful items. The prices are reasonable and can make great gifts for loved ones while also promoting local businesses. Visiting shops like these would greatly help the community and its economy.