A Few Words on the Gift Guide

The editor yearns for a yurt but scores a diamond ring.

Putting together this year’s holiday gift guide was a lot of fun. There’s some great stuff in there, something for girly girls, manly men, and everybody in between.

Some of our favorite contributors did the shopping for us, coming back with one-of-a-kind artisan bling and popping into some of our go-to shops. They discovered a high-quality handmade denim line, encountered floral essences to make any foodie swoon, and found teeny-tiny, cool-ass speakers for iPhones that will be the envy of everyone.

I wouldn’t mind having just about everything in the roundup. But if pressed to pick a favorite, hands-down that would be the yurts from Village Yurts. First, I wish success for the earnest, creative, inventive, and young 24-year-old behind it, Ilya Pinsky. He fell in love with yurts at Burning Man and eventually set up shop in Oakland at American Steel Studios to bring the intriguing round sanctuaries to the people. A Tiny House advocate, he now works out of Moxe, an industrial arts incubator on 23rd Street, not far from where he grew up, Alameda. He uses fellow craftsmen and can customize a yurt equally suitable for the backyard or a rugged environment.

Word on the Street this month also gets into the spirit of the holiday season, asking people about the best, or worst, gifts they ever received. One response took me back to childhood, sparking a memory of waking up pre-midnight Christmas Eve to my big brothers getting first dibs on my Incredible Edibles machine. They gleefully fired it up before I had gotten my hands on it, cooking up the Gobble De-Goop that emitted a burning plastic odor as it was baked into the rubbery “edible” insects and worms. As a teen, I once peeled back the tissue paper to find not the wool crewneck sweaters in blend-in earth tones I had envisioned, but a turquoise velour pullover, a hot pink zippered top, and a neon green cardigan—all of which I came to love, sort of. As a dating adult, I received a microwave oven once, a lame CamelBak from a guy, promptly dumped; and an Obermeyer mitre-like ski hat. Sigh.

My husband once gave me a television set, not my favorite. But recently he tricked me into a post-holiday shopping field trip, ostensibly to Walnut Creek’s Sports Basement, but the foray culminated instead with a visit to Morrison’s Jewelers in Orinda and a diamond ring. Definitely the best present ever.