(View the slideshow above for an assortment of local gift ideas.)


Just because you can’t get together with friends and family from far-flung places to sit around the Christmas tree, sip eggnog and open gifts together does not mean you have to skip the gift-giving rituals. Drop off gifts on the doorstep or send them in the mail, and share the love – while also supporting local merchants, who are facing an unprecedented economic challenge as we enter into a new stay-at-home order through the busy holiday season.

Some things to know about retail shopping: Unlike SIP 1.0 in March, retailers are allowed to remain open this time, at limited capacity. (Wear layers in case you need to stand in line to wait your turn to enter a store.) Masks are required. Think about what you want to purchase in advance to avoid wandering aimlessly so you can minimize your exposure – while still getting unique gifts that have the added benefit of helping local businesses survive.

To play it safe, you can call stores or visit their websites instead of showing up in person – many have online ordering, delivery or curbside pickup options. Local business owners have been incredibly innovative to adapt and stay open – and now they need our support to get through the season.

Other safe ways to buy gifts and keep it local include going virtual: Buy a gift card to a restaurant to use for takeout orders now or in-person dining when they reopen, either direct from a restaurant or at kindnessmonterey.com; you can also donate to 162 local nonprofits in someone’s honor at montereycountygives.com.

If you’re out shopping for tangible goods, here are some of our ideas for last-minute gifts at a range of price points for this holiday season.

Sara Rubin loves long public meetings, red pens and reading (on newsprint). She has been editor of the Monterey County Weekly since 2016, and has been on staff since 2010.

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