Sometimes we put off shopping too long, too. Here are Sunset staffers’ favorite DIY and locally purchased gift-giving solutions.

Wrapped Present
Photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash

Say It with Fruit and Frosting

For last-minute gifts, I like a local bakery. If you’re shopping for an acquaintance or someone whose tastes you’re not super-familiar with, you have plenty of crowd-pleasers to choose from. If it’s for someone you know well, you can show some thought with your last-minute gift by getting something they like that not everyone else does. —Frederick Tippett, intern

Elevate Essentials

My last-minute go-to gifts are pantry staples, but elegant versions of things like salt, olive oil, dark chocolate, and beautifully packaged teas that people might not consider buying for themselves. Surfas, a specialty food and restaurant supply store in Los Angeles, is a great source for things like this. So is Monsieur Marcel in the Original Farmer’s Market. Both shops have online markets. And whenever I’m in Venice, I like to stock up on Gjusta Goods salts and olive oil to give as host or holiday gifts. Both the herbed and smoked chili salts make everything they touch more delicious. And while they do cost something, they’re both an affordable indulgence and a great gift. —Christine Lennon, home & design editor

Find Yourself Something, Too

My favorite is Goodies in Atwater Village. They have so many beautiful housewares and everything is under $25. I mean, a teak cutting board for $22? A ceramic salt bowl with wooden lid for $16? Come on! The only problem is I always end up buying something for myself, too. Well, maybe that’s not a problem. —Deanna Kizis, garden editor

A One-Stop Shop

Around the holidays I’m usually in the Bay Area visiting family and it can be difficult sometimes to bring all of my gifts with me on the drive or coordinate shipping times. Last time I was in San Francisco I stopped into Bernal Cutlery with a few family members and was overjoyed to find that this unique cutlery store has something for everyone (as I’m used to spending hours in kitchenware stores while my comrades wait with tapping feet for me to finish browsing). 

My brother was looking through cookbooks, my grandma perused their pantry of herbs and spices, and I checked out pocketknives to keep on my keychain for upcoming picnics. Upon leaving I had a bag that was filled with a pickle press, a grill weight handmade in Oakland (perfect for anyone on your list who makes burgers), Marash and Aleppo pepper from Oaktown Spice Shop, and a variety of pantry goods from Queens (a Korean Superette down the street from Bernal). If you’ve enjoyed a meal with the people left on your gift list or are searching for something for a foodie, you’ll find a thoughtful gift for them at Bernal Cutlery that will remind them of the good eats shared between friends.  —Magdalena O’Neal, assistant editor

Your Kitchen Is a Candy Store

James Carrier

I like to whip up a batch of homemade chocolate truffles. They’re a little time-consuming and messy, but not at all difficult—the equipment and kitchen skills required are minimal. I start with this basic recipe, which is very adaptable. Skip the booze, or make it bourbon or rum; it’s all good. My favorite modifications are adding either orange zest or strained raspberry purée to the hot cream. If your recipient has an especially ferocious sweet tooth, roll the truffles in coarse sugar instead of cocoa powder. The recipe is almost endlessly adaptable to giftees’ tastes, and your loved one will probably be so astounded that you have the power to make confectionary that it won’t occur to them that you just didn’t get to the chocolate shop in time. —Nicole Clausing, digital producer and newsletter editor

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