Found: Shopping for Holiday Gifts on the Grid

Becky at University Art

By Ashley Robinson

We were tasked by the morning team at KCRA to find the perfect gift for the hard-to-find family member. With a $100 limit for each gift and being number one fans of Sacramento and its many businesses, local personalities and benefits, we were pretty confident we could meet this challenge head on … and on the way, we got a few gifts for our own lists.

You can watch our KCRA segment HERE – thanks again, we had a blast!!

Quick personal note: After reading some statistic (that now I can’t find the citation for, darn it) that if everyone were to do their Christmas shopping at locally-owned shops, it would infuse something like $8 million dollars into our community. With that in mind, my husband and I made it our goal in the past two years to purchase everything for our family on the Grid … coffee beans from Old Soul for my father-in-law, pashminas from tiny boutiques for my mom, and music gift certificates to The Beat. It was great!

Get your walking shoes on, think outside the box, and get going. There are lots of hidden gems to explore!

Teo’s 86-year-old Grandma

Teo described his grandma as rather kooky, and like our own grandmas, insisted she didn’twant anything for Christmas. When you’re 86, you don’t want more stuff! You probably already have a version of it, and would rather spend time with loved ones. So, we figured our new octogenarian role model would enjoy a year-long membership at The California Museum. The Museum rotates a full schedule of fun and unique exhibits, marked with interesting events and perks for members. And, not knowing how mobile Grandma is, we thought Teo could pitch in for a car service. Why not add a hint of glamour to a day of museum going? (Plus, with the free guest passes she gets, we foresee future day dates for Teo!)

  • Cost: membership, $40 for seniors
  • Benefits include: free Museum admission for 1 year, 2 tickets to opening reception of one special exhibition per year, 1 guest for free on weekends, 2 guest passes, advance notice of special events and exhibit openings, and 10% discount in the Museum Store.
  • Other options: Tickets to the Sacramento Ballet, Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra or Sacramento Zoo.

FACT: The California Museum is opening up the newest installment of the California Hall of Fame tonight. We know a certain Girl on the Grid (ahem, Laura Braden) who may just go pay homage to a certain Golden Girl’s exhibit.

Kristin’s New Husband

She said, “This is our first Christmas together as a married couple and I want to get something memorable, but not overly expensive.” Also adding that he is into extreme sports, we thought they could do something fun together that he would enjoy (no ballet tickets there) and she could get into (not watching him almost kill himself). So, we suggest Kristin get a private session for the two of them at Pipeworks for one-on-one intro rock climbing tutoring. The private lesson would ensure that the couple go at their own paces and still be vocal unabashed cheerleaders for each other. The old warehouse converted into a canyon of climbing walls, a small gym and a pro shop, is an ideal place to kick off 2011 together – a little romance, a little physical activity, and a great excuse to massage each other’s shoulders at the end of the day.

  • Cost: $40/person for non-members
  • Finally! A gift your man will love that you two can do as a couple, not as a spectator. And don’t forget to bring a camera to chronicle the date!
  • Finish off the night nibbling on Ginger Elizabeth chocolates and a sipping a bottle of red wine from 58 Degrees.

FACT: Your arms will be sore after the lesson, but just imagine how cute that photo of your two harnessed up and smiling will be on the walls of your home for years to come.

Deidre’s Friend

This guy sounds awesome. “He’s the most creative person I know.  He’s a writer, blogger, advertising guy who loves to travel and teach yoga.  He has impeccable style with a sense of the ‘unexpected.’ For example, he has a bathroom in his house decorated in a superhero theme.”  At first I thought he would be really hard to shop for, but then we went to University Art.

Fellow GOTGer had never been there before, whereas I frequent the shop for art supplies and am familiar with all the great gift options at the place. Becky was rather hesitant, but as soon as she walked in the door, she went crazy picking up gifts for every member of her family, and even made plans to go back and do some more exploring. Trust me, it’s not just art supplies; the shop does lean toward creative/artsy gifts but with a quirky sense of humor (a Henry VIII vanishing wives mug anyone?), funky kid gifts and lots of opportunities to get your budding artist friend some fun projects.

For Deirdre’s friend we found a Magnetic Superhero Pixel Puzzle to go with his kitsch sense of style, a Buddha board to go for his zen side, and … shall we say interesting silicon ice cube trays.

  • Total Cost: $79
  • Treat your creative friend to something that will cater to their fun side … and have fun picking out the gift yourself. You bake that cake and you eat it, too!
  • Other options: Good Lord, just go down to University Art (one on J Street and one out on Marconi & Fulton) and just start roaming. There are tons of possibilities.

FACT: Street parking is free during the holiday shopping season in Midtown. So put that coin purse away when parking in front of University Art!

Teo’s Wife

Teo is one lucky man. His smokin’ wife looked stylish in the photo he sent us … which was about the only information he gave us to go off of. (Uh, and saying a woman has “particular” taste is like saying she brushes her hair in the morning.) So, we hopped on over to one of our favorite clothiers/jewelry peddlers/and all around awesome downtown chick, Krazy Mary. It was extremely difficult for Becky and I to stay focused on our mission … as that red dress was screaming my name, that purple purse was a must-buy for Becky … and about everything in there is so perfect for this winter season. (Christmas party dress shopping time!) Focus! So, here’s what we picked up for Teo to chose from…

  • Black shimmering and hip cocktail dress by Ya Los Angeles: $38
  • Olive green sequin bolero by Flying Tomato: $75
  • Deep purple clutch: $40
  • Bronze necklace by local designer by jenjems: $65
  • The clothes, jewelry and accessories at Krazy Mary’s are so diverse that it is nearly impossible for anyone, even with “particular” taste, to not walk out of there with something brag-able and unique.
  • Other options: Spa day at Spa LaLe nestled in the Le Rivage hotel.

FACT: Krazy Mary also owns the Sugar Shack down the block from University Art. And that shop is also awesome.

Kristin’s Dad

Kristin described her dad as an “athlete and big sports fan, golfer, movie lover, food lover, L Wine Lounge 61-yrs-old, total brainiac (Sudoku, crossword/Mensa puzzles, etc.)” – sounds like an interesting guy. Much like gift suggestions for Teo’s grandma and Kristin’s husband, it seems like these individuals are vibrant, active people who don’t need more stuff. They want to be out doing things! So! For Kristin’s pops, we suggest a wine membership to L Wine Lounge. For $24.95 a month (oh, quick note: keeping it under $100, just get the minimum three-month membership and then see if he wants to continue on after), Kristin can treat her dad long after the tree has been kicked to the curb. I’m sure any dad would appreciate not being the one to pick up the tab at the end of the night!

  • Cost: $24.95 plus shipping and tax for the two bottles (one red and one white) received every month
  • Perks: free valet at L Wine Lounge (huge!), free WoW (Wine on Wednesday) tasting for members – plus free tasting for 1 guest with the purchase of any entrée, discounts on some wine purchases, discount on a subscription to Golf and Lifestyle magazine, invitations to special events, and special club member pricing for wine and food pairing classes at the L.
  • Options: another Jerry Garcia tie or crossword puzzle book. I hear the LA Times version isn’t bad.

Deidre’s Friend

Deidre’s good girlfriend is a meteorologist in Chicago and a mom of four kids. She describes her as a “superwoman and one of the quirkiest people I know” with a great sense of humor and loves to run. Deidre and her friend try to “one up” each other in practical and sometimes humorous gifts. She sounds like a very cool chick where time efficiency is essential. We think a perfect gift for this mom-on-the-go is a gift certificate for one month of unlimited classes at The Dailey Method. The Dailey Method is part ballet, part pilates and part yoga – it is a CHALLENGING workout! It is also a great workout for runners as it focuses on strengthening the core and stretching key leg muscles. Plus for moms, they offer child care during the one-hour class. The Dailey Method just opened here in the Sacramento area but they also opened a studio last year in Chicago.

  • Cost: New Client Unlimited Classes for One Month – $100

FACT: It took Becky and I less than two and a half hours to scout out all these gifts, even with Becky’s slow driving!

Merry Christmas everyone, and good luck with your shopping!

You might also like


  1. Bella Q says

    I love the fact that GOTG are big proponents of shopping local! What a great list of ideas, and it really puts a good spirit back into Xmas shopping. May I also suggest you check out this Saturday’s market at the Midtown Bazaar? It’s the last Bazaar of the season, and is full of wonderful locals who hand-make everything from jewelry to soaps to candies and cookies. A great stop for Santa!

    Midtown Bazaar
    1616 I Street
    Sacramento, Ca


  2. ashley robinson says

    Hi Bella! You know, I have actually been wanting to check out the Midtown Bazaar … I think you just gave me an idea for my next post!

  3. Allison Fuller says

    Great list. I really enjoyed reading about your suggestions. I love Sacramento and all of the unique gifts you can find here 😉

  4. Amelia Neufeld says

    Such an awesome blog! Great job!! And you made Christmas shopping sound fun 🙂

  5. Yvonne says

    Hey Guys! Thanks so much for including UA in your byte this morning, on “My 58”. And especially for the so called “heads up” on the time and station, info, so I could watch it! Happy Holidays. Y

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.