12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day Five: Homeless Garden Project wreath & many gift ideas

Treats at Homeless Garden Project’s holiday boutique include tea, jam, and wreaths

It’s Day 5 of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” Today’s prize is a beautiful wreath from Homeless Garden Project’s holiday store. See end of article for how to enter, and keep reading for gift ideas from HGP and others.

You only have a few shopping days left ‘til Christmas – so I’m going to share a bunch of ideas in this article. How about buying some “gifts with a cause?” You can find lots of these at Homeless Garden Project’s holiday store (more details below) in article. Another idea is to make a donation to a non-profit in your gift recipient’s honor. If you do this via Homeless Garden Project, HGP provides a beautiful gift card for notifying your recipient that a donation has been made in their name. Many non-profits do similar things. Or purchase a CSA for a friend of family member; here is one directory of local CSAs.

Another alternative for a fun gift or stocking stuffer: buy Downtown Dollars at Bookshop Santa Cruz, Pacific Cookie Company or Old School Shoes. These dollars are like cash and accepted at dozens of downtown Santa Cruz shops, cafes, and restaurants. See full list and learn more here. Of course, there are always gift cards. Some places are even doing holiday deals: Pacific Thai is offering 10% off gift cards (minimum $25 purchase) through December, and at Hoffman’s you get a free $10 gift card for every $50 you purchase in gift cards (the $50 can be divided up among one or more cards). Johnny’s Harborside has a similar promotion; with the free $10 you can either add it to the gift card you’re buying for someone else, or keep it for yourself.

If you are going to be shopping in downtown Santa Cruz, you get 2 hours of free parking at parking meters from now until Dec. 26 (just look for the bagged meters, and make sure you don’t stay longer than 2 hours).

Have you tried Serendipity Saucy Spreads? This mother-daughter Santa Cruz company makes jams and more; their products can be found at several local venues for your holiday shopping needs. Co-owner Kristen Cederquist shared on Dec. 16 that “Stripe, DIG Gardens, Mountain Feed & Farm Supply, and The Garden Company were restocked with jam in the last two days. They are also all carrying my new Honey & Sea Salt Caramels and Whiskey & Honey Caramels that are made without corn syrup.”

The Homeless Garden Project (HGP) holiday gift boutique, open seasonally in downtown Santa Cruz, offers a variety of affordable gifts — such as tea — including products made in its training program from herbs and flowers grown at the HGP organic farm. Income from gift sales helps provide job training and transitional employment for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and volunteer and educational opportunities for community members who want to learn about and practice sustainable agriculture and social justice.

A few selections from HGP’s food gifts:
Lavender Shortbread Mix (Organic ingredients, including lavender hand-picked from HGP’s farm) and lavender sugar
Herb biscuit mix and herb salts
Herb-infused vinegar
Strawberry Jam

Non-food gifts available at the boutique include ornaments, bath salts, wreaths, jewelry, soap, hand-dipped beeswax candles, a variety of soy candles, lavender sachets, an HGP calendar, potted succulents, t-shirts, hand-knitted scarves, hats, a selection of Alice Waters’ cookbooks, and handmade cards. HGP is also offering granola (supports Food What?!) and coffee (supports Project Homeless Connect).

The shop is located in the Cooper House Breezeway on Pacific Avenue between O’Neill’s and Verizon.

  • Hours: Daily 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. through Dec. 24
  • Phone: (831) 426-1774 (store), (831) 426-3609 (office and workshop, open Mon-Fri)



Reminder — during the entire “12 Days of Christmas” promotion, each person can only win one prize.

DAY FIVE PRIZEThe winner receives a beautiful wreath (retail value: $50) from the HGP Holiday Store’s beautiful wreath selection; each is one of a kind made from flowers and herbs grown, harvested and dried by HGP staff and trainees at the organization’s 3-acre organic farm.

To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the words “HGP Wreath.”

Or post a comment to this article on my Facebook page.

Either way, the entry deadline is Mon. Dec. 17 at 5 p.m.

The drawing will take place that evening; the winner will be notified via email.