The 2015 Friends Holiday Sale

We're pretty sure you can make a serious dent in that Santa list of yours at the Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks ParkStore holiday sale, Dec. 4-6 at the Mission Adobe.

by Traci Hukill

Nov. 30, 2015—What's better than drinking Mutari hot chocolate on a chilly winter's eve? Drinking Mutari hot chocolate on a chilly winter's eve and getting a whole bunch of your holiday shopping done in one pleasant, easy go. Like it does every year, Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks is putting the greatest hits from its five ParkStores together under one roof and discounting everything 20-30 percent.

That makes the prices even better and makes the Mission Adobe the perfect First Friday night stop (4-8pm), not only to see gorgeous Monterey Bay area wildlife photos by Ooh! Look! Photography but to get some serious shopping done to live music, and with the aforementioned hot chocolate in hand. Friends staff will entertain the kids with papel picado, a cutout craft similar to making snowflakes, and music and pan dulce. The ParkStore is also open Saturday (10am-4pm) and Sunday (Noon-4pm) in case you don't get everything done on Friday.

By the way, everyone who walks in the store this weekend gets a 20 percent discount. To get the 30 percent discount, join Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks; memberships start at $25 and will earn you 15 percent off in ParkStores the rest of the year. You can practically make money off this deal, we're tellin' ya.

Something for Everyone

Got a female hipster on your list? She'll blow her bangs when she opens up a gauzy scarf with bird or wildlife print, handmade by Knot Another Scarf ($17.99). Gift Republic's exceedingly groovy thermos with mushroom, wildflower, bird or insect theme ($26.99) is also definitely a winner; the series's enameled tin cups ($11.99) are great too (and, like the thermos, totally gender-neutral). Plus the giftee will learn some stuff, like what a siskin or a bluebell looks like.

New Natural Bridges and Seacliff black beanies ($19.99), featuring the iconic work of Michael Schwab, are specially designed to keep the head of a male homo sapiens warm and toasty—especially important when that individual is a surfer or outdoorsman of any kind. Or pick a classic hoodie, T-shirt or mug in one of six designs honoring Santa Cruz-area state parks.

For the small fry, choose from a variety of adorable animal finger puppets from Folkmanis ($8.50) or the mind-blowing Crystal Growing Giant Sequoia by Copernicus ($7.99), which in a matter of hours sprouts crystal "branches" from a cardboard "trunk" if you stick it in water. Hm, that may be appropriate for some adults, come to think of it. For older kids, Green Science's Salt-Powered Robot ($14.99) — yes, it's a salt-powered robot! — seems pretty awesome.

Sometimes nothing will do for the richly deserving woman in your life (perhaps your mom) but a chrysalis pendant from Tupper's Perch, handmade in real gold and porcelain ($120). The Minnesota jeweler behind this cottage industry is a monarch butterfly fanatic who runs a monarch preserve with her husband. That's cool.

At the other end of the budget are really beautiful French-style jacquard dish towels with bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and pinecones, a steal at $6.95. The store also carries fetching little Oaxacan-style salsa dishes in several cute colors ($12.50).

New this year from designer Tim Ward are his highly recognizable (because they're on every third car you see) Santa Cruz designs in pin and keychain form ($5.99 and $7.99 respectively). You'll find the butterfly, the Santa Cruz shark, the very popular new bear and the redwood.

And last but not least, bookworms will feel understood at last. Store manager and book lover Kat Bailey has curated a nice selection of California history books, including many about the Native Americans from Heyday Press, publisher of The Ohlone Way. They'll be able to prop up those tomes correctly with gorgeous cast iron seashell bookends from HomArt.

The 2015 Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks Holiday Sale

Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, 144 School St, Santa Cruz. Friday 4-8pm; Saturday 10am-4pm; Sunday noon-4pm. Entrance to the park is free.

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