Holiday Gifts, Dinners and Desserts — Local Tidings of Joy this Holiday Season

Wild as it may seem, it’s the holiday season once again because time is apparently, in a word, flying. This article, however, is not an examination of  theories of temporality—it’s a holiday gift-and-catering guide. Because, regardless of how strange time or the circumstances of our lives might be, we are here at the time of year allocated for appreciating friends and family with time spent, meals served—regardless of who cooked them!—and gifts given.

This guide will direct you toward local, affordable, community-supporting shops, markets and bakeries to fill your gift-giving and dinner needs. I also highly recommend, for those considering the environment and their wallets, making gifts at home this year, or sticking to home-cooked meals. You can’t go wrong with homemade ornaments, and this might be the year you wow your family and yourself with a full Thanksgiving dinner. Onward, my wayward craftsmen and chefs, to stuffing and glory!

Regardless of your choices, you have options. See a few below. 

Thanksgiving

They say it takes a village

Village Bakery, Sebastopol

Dessert-making is challenging, and while we may all be feeling bold, perhaps the holiday season isn’t the best time to execute our first princess cake. That was an unintentionally French Revolution-esque sentence, by the way. Rolling and coloring marzipan might be a whisker out of the wheelhouse this time around, and that’s more than OK. For your patisserie needs, look no further than Village Bakery. A bakery for the ages—I’m not just saying it because I worked there as a 14-year-old and lived solely on linzer cookies and lemon rolls—this holiday season VB is providing breads, pies, tres leches cakes and breakfast pastries. Just get those orders in by Nov. 20. Visit villagebakerywinecountry.com.

Baby it’s cold outside—but inside there’s turkey

Sonoma County Catering Co., Sonoma County

Dessert-making is challenging, yes, and let’s be honest, sometimes cooking in general is challenging. We don’t always have the space or the time or, hey, the desire. None of this is problematic—dinner can be catered! Sonoma County Catering Co. is not only one of the best local places to offer catered Thanksgiving meals in terms of quality, price and ingredients, it’s also an exceptional company in terms of community support. Sonoma County Catering Co. and Head Chef Caesar provided meals to firefighters and victims during the Tubbs Fire, and are actively involved in the local community. This is a great opportunity to take dinner off your plate, while putting it on your plate—if you’ll humor me—while supporting a great company. Go to Sonomacountycatering.com to place an order, and go fast—because they will sell out!

Holiday Gifts and Events

Deck the halls with local artwork

The Barlow, Sebastopol

This Holiday season revelers can’t go wrong with a visit to Sebastopol’s cutest shopping center, The Barlow. Everyone loves the Barlow. I mean it; name me one person who’s gone to the Barlow and not had an adorable time. I’m waiting. Fully stocked with local and artisanal products from eco-friendly fashion purveyors, almost everything onsite is produced right here in Northern California. From apparel like Indigineous Organic + Fair Trade Fashion and Barge North Company to art galleries like Gallery 300 and Lori Austin Gallery, you’ll find everything you need here and have time for a lunch pit-stop at Fern Bar. I truly cannot recommend the smash burger more highly. I shed a single tear writing this sentence, it’s that good. The Barlow is a great spot to put presents under the tree and dollars back into the community. Those who are holed up and prefer to shop online can save 10% on their first order with the code SHOPBARLOW21.

The Barlow is located at 6770 McKinley St., Sebastopol, and is open 7 days a week. Hours of individual stores may vary, so visit thebarlow.net for more information. Happy shopping!

A selfie with Santa before he checks his naughty-and-nice list

East Washington Place Holiday Celebration, Petaluma

This one is going to pop, and may I say, I’m loving the amount of community celebrations we’re able to have this season—I’ve missed you all! Petaluma is putting together an epic day of festivities this Nov. 21. Among other things, we will all have the opportunity to meet Santa Claus; selflies and DIY’s with the guy are free, by the way. There will also be balloon twisters, arm painters—in lieu of face-painting as we are, alas, still in mask territory—holiday-themed musical entertainment and free treat bags until they run out! Hint: Show up early. There is also a raffle attendees are encouraged to enter, with a gift-bag prize valued at $500. Y’all, this is going to be a scene! Come out, bring the fam, have some apple cider, unload your hopes and dreams on good old Kris Kringle—and happy holidays to you!

The East Washington Place Holiday Celebration is held on Sunday, Nov. 21 from 2–4pm at 401 Kenilworth Drive, Petaluma. For more information visit eastwashingtonplace.com 

Chestnuts roasting over an open fire, Jack frosting your glass of IPA …

Lagunitas Early Gifting 

Lagunitas Petaluma Taproom and Beer Sanctuary, Petaluma

I’ve lived all over the U.S.—from New York to New Mexico—and I’ve always taken pleasure, when people order a Lil Sumpin’ or a Lil Sumpin’ Stoopid, in saying “Oh, Lagunitas? Yeah, they’re from my area code.” Let’s be honest, this is damn good beer. I still remember a phenomenal afternoon with friends, fondly referred to as “Day Drunk of the Jungle,” which featured Lagunitas-fueled drinking games while watching George of the Jungle. I ended on a couch with an agonizing case of hiccups … and it was fully worth it. Drink responsibly. This holiday season, Lagunitas Schwag shop is coming through hot with gifts for him, her, them and the furry friends. We’re talking sweet treats, swag, and of course, beverages. Come snag, and then take a load off in the taproom. You earned it, you gift-giver you!

Lagunitas Petaluma TapRoom & Beer Sanctuary is open Wednesday through Sunday, 11:30am to 8pm, for outdoor dining and takeout.

Carol of the bells, but it’s carol of the modern makers instead 

Patchwork Modern Makers Festival, Santa Rosa

I’m truly stoked for this event, which we will all have two opportunities to attend—Nov. 20 and Nov. 21. Produced by Dear Handmade Life, this free community event is designed to showcase the incredible local creativity and talent Sonoma County has to offer. Not only will all attendees be able to view and purchase handmade goods, they’ll also get to participate in hands-on DIY craft stations—this might be the spot for my earlier suggestion to make gifts this year—enjoy live music and great food, and patron the Patchwork Junior Booths, featuring artists and makers who are under 18. Turn out to support the creative community and youth, and bring your friends to this one—it’s going to be fun. Expect to find jewelry, apothecary items, clothing, ceramics, home goods and more. 

Patchwork Modern Makers Santa Rosa will be held Saturday, Nov. 20 and Sunday, Nov. 21, from 10am to 4pm in Old Courthouse Square at Santa Rosa Avenue and 3rd Street, in downtown Santa Rosa. There are also Patchwork events in several other California locations including San Francisco; for more information visit dearhandmadelife.com.

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