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(1.) The parking probably won't be any worse than it is at the mall.

(2.) They have wonderfully fresh flowers, pine boughs, garland and wreaths for nearly the same price as the dried out ones in the mega stores and tree lots.

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Super fresh garland for $1.50/ft.

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Wreaths in small ($10), medium ($16) and large ($20)

(3.) You can use your decorations to flavor dinner.

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Locally grown pepper wreaths ($20 - $35 and up)

(4.) Your gift can directly benefit someone in a far away country.

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Fair trade baskets from Ghana

(5.) You can give healthy food gifts that taste good and are lovingly hand made. Mark at Happy Pantry Artisan Pickles and More specializes in unique pickled and fermented foods that are full of flavor and probiotics.

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Mark Stogsdill of Happy Pantry Artisan Pickles and More

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Just a few of the pickley products at Happy Pantry

(6.) You can find affordable, durable kitchenware that's beautiful enough to display when you aren't using it. The Wheel Stoneware in Encinitas makes handcrafted, one of a kind bakeware, serve ware and table settings that can go from the freezer to the oven to the table AND it's dishwasher safe. (I can personally vouch for it's durability, since I can be pretty clumsy at times.)

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Handmade stoneware from The Wheel in Encinitas is freezer/oven/dishwasher safe.

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Gorgeous, one of a kind chip and dip from The Wheel Stoneware in Encinitas ($45).

(7.) Toffee. Caramel. Chocolate. Rich, sweet, salty, made by local chefs who painstakingly hand craft their goodies using the finest ingredients.

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Carmel sauces from Praline Patisserie in San Diego ($8/jar).

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Toffees from Salty Sisters, Leucadia. Gift boxes start at $10.

(8.) There are beautiful artisan soaps, lotions, sachets, and home products made with locally grown herbs and flowers for all the spa junkies you know.

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Beautiful, fragrant soaps from Keys Creek Lavender Farm

(9.) The baby in your life can wear handcrafted, lovingly made clothing without the designer prices.

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Hand knit caps from Le Petit Bebe

(10.) You can have that precious pup, precocious kitten, perky parrot or lanky lizard immortalized. Katy Helen Art specializes in adorable "petraits" starting at $60. Although she can't finish a portrait by Dec. 25th at this late date, you can get a gift certificate for your animal lover friends and relatives online.

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These aren't zombie dogs, Katy just hasn't finished their eyes yet.

(11.) The bottle of wine you take for a hostess gift is made by people you know. Triple B Ranches has released their first bottling, just in time for your holiday parties and dinners. If you'd like to try them, they are available by the glass at the Linkery and El Take It Easy.

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Family owned and operated Triple B Ranches first release wines.

(12.) Why give boring, generic jewelry from the mall store when you can give beautiful, one of a kind pieces from local artists? Designs from metalsmiths Angel Mercer of Angel Me Jewelry and Christina Arter of Isis Adornments in sterling silver, gold, and bronze range from simple to dramatic.

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Funky, cool designs from Angel Me Handcrafted Jewelry.

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Simple, beautiful handcrafted necklaces from Isis Adornments.

I had a hard time narrowing down my list to only twelve. There are so many talented, hardworking folks who would love to make your friends and family happy with their creations. Not every vendor shown here is at every farmer's market, but with several markets open every day of the week, you can probably find something for nearly everyone on your gift list. Plus, when you get hungry, you have better choices than the food court.

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So, save yourself time, money, and stress, all while supporting regional farmers, chefs, artists and winemakers. Your gifts will be unique, beautiful, and thoughtful. You'll support our economy and help keep jobs in San Diego. Buy local. Eat local.

San Diego Farmer's Market schedule (includes maps, some markets have websites listing vendors)

Many of the vendors listed have their farmer's market schedules on their website.

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