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S E C T I O N Holiday December 7, 2011 A ❉ LSO C INSIDE LA SS G UI D E 25 |C A LE N DA R 28 |C L AS S I F I E D S ❉❉ H A P PY H O L I DAYS Go-to ❉ gifts by Casey Moore W 33 ❉ ❉ Basic yet thoughtful presents to have on hand ith the arrival of the holiday season comes the flurry of planning and purchasing presents for everyone on your list. But when the unexpected happens — an office Secret Santa, new acquaintance, distant cousin or surprise holiday guest suddenly turns up — even the most creative gift-givers might need some backup. Non-specific yet classy gifts can be kept on hand to please a range of people and preferences. Local stores stock their shelves with a variety of options to bring cheer to every newfound friend and reconnected relative: Hand-crafted heartwood boxes, made in Washington state and designed from woods such as cherry, maple and teak, are among the most popular offerings at Shady Lane in downtown Palo Alto. Designs include the trademark “puzzle boxes,” which remain locked u n less opened by a unique series of taps and twists. Other styles, from small slidingtop “secret boxes” to multi-drawer jewelry boxes, can hold Michelle Le collections of trin- Britches brew bottle kets beneath their holders at Draeger’s market custom laser-etched in Menlo Park. lids. For a present that would make an impression, Shady Lane carries decorative containers that can be given alone or used to package smaller gifts. The metal-framed blue-glass boxes appear decidedly feminine, while the striped onyx jars and vases could please either gender. Paired with a few smaller items — like a heartwood bookmark or decorative blown-glass paperweight — the containers could charm the mother or father of a significant other. As a more specialized option, Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park carries — you guessed it — an array of books. Each of the store’s employees specializes in specific genres, everything from mysteries to fine art and photography to science to children’s books. The staff provides personalized recommendations upon request. “Say your 83-year-old great uncle comes to visit,” said floor manager Nancy Salmon, herself a specialist of fiction and biographies. “I’ll usually ask: What are his interests? What kinds of things does he like to do?” For bibliophiles, Kepler’s carries Mudlark “book lovers” sets, complete with miniature notebook, magnetic page markers, bookplates (or name labels) and bookmarks. But the store is not limited by its name. Bosses or recent graduates might appreciate the old-fashioned fountain pen collection, while crossword fanatics would appreciate the famous Seven Year Pen or the Puzzle Pen, which erases when used on newsprint. Looking for something generic yet tasteful (no pun intended)? Gift baskets, such as those offered at Draeger’s Markets in Los Altos and Menlo Park, come prepackaged with an assortment of goodies to please any palate. Holiday varieties include the “Epicurean Holiday” — complete with Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, imported pastas, specialty meats and Amarettini Italian cookies — and the “Holiday Snack,” with truffle almonds, popcorn, candies, cookies and chocolates. As a more classically feminine option, the store designs holiday-themed floral arrangements, along with their year-round offerings of potted hydrangeas, orchids, parade roses and azaleas. Draeger’s edible selections include fine ❉ Continued on next page Veronica Weber Above: Collectible pen sets at Kepler’s bookstore in Menlo Park. Left: The Mudlark book lovers set at Kepler’s bookstore features a journal, bookmarks, page markers and bookplates. ❉ Veronica Weber Draeger’s Holiday Snack gift basket includes assorted cookies, candies, hot chocolate and other holiday treats. Michelle Le December 7, 2011 N The Almanac N21

The Almanac 12.07.2011 - Section 2

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