Special Issues » Holiday Guide

Shop Local: Your San Antonio holiday gift guide

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BRYAN RINDFUSS
  • Bryan Rindfuss

There’s no shortage of reasons to shop local as we head into the holidays.

The dollars we spend with San Antonio-based businesses stay in our community via local sales taxes, employee paychecks and more. They also fund businesses rooted in our city and that won’t pull up their tent stakes at the first sign of an economic slump. And haven’t we all reached the point of exhaustion with ordering crap from Amazon?

The Current has long trumpeted the importance of shopping locally around the holidays and has tried to direct readers to Alamo City businesses that offer unique and dazzling gifts.

This year, however, we decided to approach our annual Shop Local guide a little differently.

Rather than compiling the lists ourselves, we asked SA-area artists, creators and personalities to discuss the homegrown gifts they would love to receive this season. What’s more, we asked them to touch on some of their favorite past gifts and talk about why keeping dollars local is vital to them.

Of course, for those just can’t turn loose of holiday traditions, we also provided an abbreviated local shopping guide sourced by a Current contributing editor.

Happy holidays, and happy shopping.
FACEBOOK / JENELLE ESPARZA
  • Facebook / Jenelle Esparza
Jenelle Esparza, artist and co-director of Presa House Gallery

What two or three San Antonio-made items would you love to receive as holiday gifts this year and why?

I would love to receive gifts from the folks at Millard Street Studios, a ceramic studio
run by Diana Kersey. The artists there have frequent sales of their ceramic goods, both functional and decorative. They have a holiday sale scheduled for December 18 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at 322 Millard St. Diana Kersey, (210) 573-7418, dianakersey.com.

CCOURTESY PHOTO / ESPERANZA PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER
  • Ccourtesy Photo / Esperanza Peace and Justice Center
What’s the best locally produced gift you’ve ever received?

The best locally produced gifts I received were a batch of cookies from Nora at Estudio Tlalli, a handwoven tapestry from the Mercado de Paz at the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center and a lotería card set from local author and friend Xelena Gonzalez.

Why is it important for people to shop local during the holidays?

It’s important for folks to shop local because it directly supports the artists and makers in their community. I enjoy gifting local goods to my friends and family because it’s always something unique and beautiful.
FRANCISCO CORTES
  • Francisco Cortes
Andrea Vocab Sanderson, City of San Antonio Poet Laureate 2020-2023

What two or three San Antonio-made items would you love to receive as holiday gifts this year and why?

COURTESY PHOTO / NAPP2REALITY
  • Courtesy Photo / Napp2reality

Nancy Scaife-Mullens [of Napp2reality] — one of her amazing clutches or purses. Napp2reality, napp2reality.com.

HerStory Boutique. I just got a chocolate maxi sweater from [Kenyada Bell] at an event the other night. I would love to have more of her clothing. HerStory Boutique, 1010 S. Flores St., Suite 108, (210) 504-7449, herstyletherapy.org.

Jewelry from Say That Accessories. Naomi Williams — her copper pieces are amazing. Say That Accessories, (414) 502-7209, facebook.com/SayThatAccessories.

What’s the best locally produced  gift you’ve ever received?

I won an Arts and Letters Award last year from Friends of San Antonio Public Library and was given some Mission candles. This year I finally met Marcie Anguiano, who owns the store. Mission Crafts Chandlery, 2915 Roosevelt Ave., (210) 865-2471, missionchandlery.com.

COURTESY PHOTO / MISSION CRAFTS CHANDLERY
  • Courtesy Photo / Mission Crafts Chandlery
Why is it important for people to shop local during the holidays?

The women and men that own their own businesses, whom I know, create from a place of passion are definitely supporting their family with their craft. Their work is fresh, original and unique. You deserve something authentic that has a story behind it that you can retell to others when they compliment you on your amazing taste. 
BRYAN RINDFUSS
  • Bryan Rindfuss
Nydia Huizar, co-owner and designer of BarbacoApparel and the Tortilla Press

What two or three San Antonio-made items would you love to receive as holiday gifts this year and why?

Calavera Crafters has this amazing Bar S Bologna ornament that brings the biggest smile to my face every time I see it on social media. I would love this on my tree and then as a year-round office decoration. Calavera Crafters, 109 Blue Star, facebook.com/calaveracrafters.

Gemini Vato released a few plush items this year, and the MR. CRISPYDOG is high up on my list. I have his first Chale Tamale, and I love it! Gemini Vato,
geminivato.com.


Anyone who knows me knows that I live for purses, and any of Breakfast Friend’s custom-painted bags would be a dream to own. I’m excited to see what her
upcoming drop will include. Breakfast Friend, breakfastfriend.shop.

COURTESY PHOTO / CALAVERA CRAFTERS
  • Courtesy Photo / Calavera Crafters
What’s the best locally produced  gift you’ve ever received?

Hands-down, my luxe Karma Candle Makers Fiesta Sangria candle. The container this candle is in is absolutely beautiful and really enhances a space’s look and smell. Karma Candle Makers, karmacandlemakers.com.

Best gift I’ve given myself? NataziaNatazia’s iced tea earrings. Super cute and perfect for my South Texas sensibilities. NataziaNatazia, instagram.com/natazianatazia.

Why is it important for people to shop local during the holidays?


The holidays are the biggest shopping season of the year, so it’s a very important time, fiscally speaking, for local makers and businesses. This is our opportunity to make up for our slower seasons and hopefully keep creating in the following year. Not only is shopping local a great way to boost our regional economy — which has countless benefits — but it’s a great way to help sustain local makers and businesses and keep them around for years to come. And for shoppers, it’s a great way to gift unique and thoughtful pieces to friends and family and themselves.
VALERIE REYNOLDS
  • Valerie Reynolds
Valerie Reynolds, owner of Chica Verde

What two or three San Antonio-made items would you love to receive as holiday gifts this year and why?


One of my favorite things about San Antonio are the pop-up markets that happen throughout the year and, of course, get super heavy around the holidays. These are the perfect opportunity to check out the artists, makers and importers who make San Antonio shine. If someone wanted to make me tear up and cry like you might see in a holiday diamond commercial, they would make this happen by gifting me with the following:

1. A platter, mug, planter or any piece of amazingly colorful pottery made by one of my favorite San Antonio artists, Diana Kersey. She also holds occasional outdoor sales at her studio on Millard Street. Diana Kersey, (210) 573-7418, dianakersey.com.

2. I would love a citrine sun ring or a crescent moon pendant from Edge81 — jewelry made by local designer Edith Lymarie. Lots of silver and perfect little gemstones. Simple but they make a statement for sure. Edge81 Jewelry, edge81.com. Edge81 Jewelry can also be found at Chica Verde. Chica Verde, 2314 San Pedro Ave., chicaverde.net.

3. My holidays would be made gift-wise if I were to receive a fresh print made by San Antonio artist Gilbert V. Martinez’s For Real Art. Currently, my eye is on a print called “Controller.” For Real Art, forreal.bigcartel.com.

COURTESY PHOTO / DIANA KERSEY
  • Courtesy Photo / Diana Kersey
What’s the best locally produced  gift you’ve ever received?

The coolest locally produced gift I was lucky enough to receive was a holiday gift bag chock full of BarbacoApparel stickers, buttons, a Periodic Table of Tacos T-shirt and the La Bamba — Bob yelling out “RITCHIE!” — T-shirt they once carried. All-time favorite! You can find BarbacoApparel at holiday pop-ups, local retail shops and online. BarbacoApparel, barbacoapparel.com.

Why is it important for people to shop local during the holidays?

Local businesses give our city character and color. And when it comes to gift giving, something special bought from a local maker, artist, restaurant or shop is appreciated leaps and bounds over a basic big-box type gift.
FACEBOOK / EDDIE HERNANDEZ
  • Facebook / Eddie Hernandez
Eddie Hernandez, musician, DJ and owner of La Segunda Bartique & Gallery

What two or three San Antonio-made items would you love to receive as holiday gifts this year and why?


A bottle of Devil’s River Rye Whiskey. Why? Because they make a fine whiskey right here in San Anto! Devil’s River Whiskey, 401 E. Houston St., (833) 379-1840, devilsriverwhiskey.com.

Also, some handmade tamales by Sweet Chela’s Custom Cakes. Why? Because they’re some of the best in town! Sweet Chela’s Custom Cakes, 2118 Cincinnati Ave., (210) 897-0879, facebook.com/SweetChelas.

What’s the best locally produced  gift you’ve ever received?

A T-shirt designed by local artist Robert Tatum of Choice Goods Gallery. It’s titled “Grey Pride” and has a rainbow of different shades of grey instead of the spectrum colors. Why? When you see my hair, you’ll know why! Choice Goods Gallery, 1903 S. Flores St., Suite 104, (210) 902-0233, choicegoodsbrand.com.

FACEBOOK / DEVIL'S RIVER DISTILLERY
  • Facebook / Devil's River Distillery
Why is it important for people to shop local during the holidays?

It’s important to shop locally because, of course, it helps our economy and keeps our beautiful city thriving. But it also keeps our culture vibrant and alive! It’s especially nice to shop for local gifts for out-of-town friends and family.
FACEBOOK / ANGELINA MATA
  • Facebook / Angelina Mata
Angelina Mata, fashion designer

What two or three San Antonio-made items would you love to receive as holiday gifts this year and why?
COURTESY PHOTO / JORGE VILLAREAL
  • Courtesy Photo / Jorge Villareal

Three items I would love to receive from San Antonio-based artist and artisans would be:

• A portrait from Cruz Ortiz. Burnt Nopal Creative Studio, burntnopal.com.

• Two dozen custom hand-blown glasses from Justin Parr. Justin Parr, instagram.com/in_hot_water.

• Another vermeil-dipped African bead necklace from Hazel Smyth. Hazel Smyth, (210) 573-6517, hazelsmyth.com.

What’s the best locally produced gift you’ve ever received?

A sketch local artist Jorge Villarreal made from coffee and red wine. Jorge Villarreal, jorge-villarreal.com.

Why is it important for people to shop local during the holidays?

I enjoy buying local. It gives the shopper a chance to have a studio visit with the seller,
designer or artist and to create a dialogue and an understanding of how the process
for development of the product is achieved.
COURTESY PHOTO /  BEXAR TONICS
  • Courtesy Photo / Bexar Tonics
Maray McChesney, owner of Bexar Tonics

What two or three San Antonio-made items would you love to receive as holiday gifts this year and why?

There are too many to narrow it down!
COURTESY PHOTO /  FELIZ MODERN
  • Courtesy Photo / Feliz Modern


• I would love gift cards or merch from locally owned breweries and restaurants because I just love food and beer, especially in San Antonio.

• I also love the locally made gifts that you can find at Feliz Modern and Feliz Modern Pop. Feliz Modern, multiple locations, felizmodern.com.

• Local art and jewelry.

• Anything from BarbacoApparel. BarbacoApparel, barbacoapparel.com.

What’s the best locally produced  gift you’ve ever received?

Again! Too many to narrow down! But if I had to choose, my favorite locally produced gifts I’ve received are:

• Handmade jewelry from El Puno Y La Mano. El Puno Y La Mano, elpunoylamano.bigcartel.com.

• A custom succulent arrangement from No. 9 Floral, Chocolates & Gifts. No. 9 Floral, Chocolates & Gifts, 1701 Blanco Road, (210) 232-4471, no9floralandgifts.com.

• A class card from The Synergy Studio. The Synergy Studio, 701 N. Alamo St., (210) 824-4225, thesynergystudio.com.

Why is it important for people to shop local during the holidays?

It’s important to shop local during the holidays because it helps to support our local economy, it helps to keep our friends and neighbors thriving and it also helps to reduce our carbon footprint. 
JOSH HUSKIN
  • Josh Huskin
Mary Heathcott, Blue Star Contemporary executive director

What two or three San Antonio-made items would you love to receive as holiday gifts this year and why?
COURTESY PHOTO / GUTEN CO.
  • Courtesy Photo / Guten Co.


There are so many SA-made items I’d love to receive. Here are a few:

Guten Co. Ceramics. I especially love the earrings, minimalist colors and bold forms. I was gifted a pair by a friend, and I love them. Guten Co. Ceramics, gutenco.com.

Anything from Breakfast Friend — I love the whimsical wearables and accessories of Bárbara Miñarro. Handbags embellished with pats of butter, necklaces with mini croissants and bright beads. Breakfast Friend, breakfastfriend.shop.

Burnt Nopal posters, bandanas and totes. Cruz Ortiz’s work is iconic, and BN brings a colorful, Spanglish bent to powerful messages of love and activism. Burnt Nopal Creative Studio, burntnopal.com.

Sonsuz womenswear. For Angelina Mata’s luxe contemporary take on kaftans and creative silhouettes in beautiful fabrics. Sonsuz, facebook.com/sonsuzstyle.

What’s the best locally produced  gift you’ve ever received?

There is no greater gift in my opinion than the gift of art. Artworks by SA artists have been my most treasured and favorite presents over time. Blue Star Contemporary, 116 Blue Star, (210) 227-6960, bluestarreddot.org.

COURTESY OF BREAKFAST FRIEND
  • Courtesy of Breakfast Friend
Why is it important for people to shop local during the holidays?

Don’t we all want to live in a vibrant community that sustains creativity and offers options that are not replicated in every other city? I certainly do. Shopping here means investing in the people who make SA great.
TIMO NUÑEZ
  • Timo Nuñez
Tamara Adira, artistic director for Arte y Pasión

What two or three San Antonio-made items would you love to receive as holiday gifts this year and why?


A giant toro painting by Franco Mondini-Ruiz. Franco Mondini-Ruiz, etsy.com/shop/FMondiniRuizPurses.

I would love to receive a trunk of goodies from Kat Day’s Imaginarium Wonder Emporium. Kat has curated amazing surprises from all over the world, collecting oddities new and antique, and breathing life into theatrical objects from the mundane to the arcane. She has a unified vision of magic and theatrical, ranging from thrift costumes, to masks, toiletries, herbs, perfumes, art and jewelry. There is nothing like a little magic and wonder, and Kat brings all of it. The Imaginarium Wonder Emporium, theimaginariumwonderemporium.com.

BRYAN RINDFUSS
  • Bryan Rindfuss
A pass to Agosto Cuellar’s vintage store, Augustine. Agosto is an award-winning fashion designer who not only sells some of his own work but breathes life back into vintage pieces by repurposing them in unexpected and wonderful ways. Augustine, 1414 S. Alamo St. #108B, instagram.com/iloveaugustine_vintage.

Anything, anything, anything from the Brick at Blue Star Art Market. Brick at Blue Star Art Market, noon-5 p.m. Sundays, 108 Blue Star, (210) 262-8653, brickatbluestar.com.

What’s the best locally produced  gift you’ve ever received?


Two hand-cast sterling silver rings, one for each middle finger, handcrafted by metalsmith Alejandro Sifuentes. Equinox Gallery, 418 Villita St., Bldg. 4, (210) 281-0706, alejandrosifuentes.com.

Why is it important for people to shop local during the holidays?

It is truly magical when you can make something with your hands or your own goodwill, and then be able to support yourself with the income produced from that. By supporting local artists and entrepreneurs, you are nurturing the arts and reaffirming the value to those artists to continue nurturing the arts in themselves.

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