If you're looking for beautiful handcrafted items that can't be found in a big box store, plan a visit to these shops.
Artworks 21 is a very cool shop on J Street, between 18th and 19th, that sells a whimsical collection of gifts and art, mostly of the Mexican folk art variety. I'm never sure what to expect when I visit, but I always find something interesting and unique.
It doesn't feel like the holiday season until I've made the short drive up to Old Town Folsom. My favorite store in Folsom's Historic District is Clouds, where they make and sell gorgeous pottery. In addition to the usual plates and mugs, Clouds makes teapots, garlic pots, toothbrush holders, pet dishes, spoon rests, and many other unusual items for the kitchen and the bathroom.
Taylor's Art & Soul in Old Sacramento sells beautiful jewelry, art, and gifts made by a variety of local artists. Definitely worth a look!
If you haven't visited Trezhers on Riverside Boulevard before, you should check it out. They have lots of unusual gifts made by a variety of local artists and craftspeople. On Small Business Saturday, November 30th, they'll be offering special sales and activities, so that would be a great time to go.
One of my favorite gift shops in Sacramento is Zanzibar, located at the corner of 18th and L in Midtown. Zanzibar is a fair trade store offering beautiful jewelry, art, and handicrafts from all over the world. So many beautiful things!