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Davis, California

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Davis holiday gift guide

Getting a cow for Christmas might be bizarre, and it also might not be a very good gift. But don’t worry — there are other more useful non-mooing things or perhaps knick-knacks that say, “This gift is from Davis.”

Christmas is fast approaching, and yet, so are finals. There is really no time to think about what gift to get for Mom, Dad, brother, sister … or pet. But a short exploration through downtown Davis proved to have a few gift ideas unique to this college town, whether it is Preeti Girl’s green blouse popular with students or UC Davis apparel.

As Davis was originally an agricultural university in an environmentally conscious town, it only makes sense that the university grows and makes organic products. For instance, both the Memorial Union Bookstore and UC Davis Store downtown sell Russell Ranch Dried Tomatoes. These are organically grown and their ingredients list consists only of “dried tomatoes.” These could be a delectable gift idea for the kitchen aficionados in the family.

Another popular UC Davis product is the University’s assortment of olive oil merchandise, priced at $12 a bottle. There are three olive oil flavors — Silo, Roasted Garlic and Gunrock — that also include a description on the label that says exactly what it goes well with, such as chicken or salads.

“I’ve purchased it for my grandmother, my mom and married friends of mine,” said Chad Ceccola, a fourth-year film major and UC Davis Store employee. “It really is the epitome of Davis, because it’s something that comes from our campus.”

Other olive oil products also include table olives, soap, lip balm, body butter and 100 percent vegan body lotion. Proceeds of UC Davis olive oil products benefit the UC Davis Olive Center in future research and education concerning the olive industry in California.

So, while you purchase a uniquely Davis Christmas gift, you can also take pride in helping research. Both the Memorial Union Bookstore and UC Davis Store also sell the body products in a gift pack for $24.95.

Funny enough, the UC Davis Store also sells mason jars with straws through the lids. The jars represent both Davis’ sustainability and environmentally friendly reputation, but also appeal to the college town status. Mason jars have recently become a trend among (broke) students with uses ranging from alcohol container to candy jar to decorative ornament, making it a perfect gift for family members of any age.

“As [sustainable as] the campus is, we’re trying to be a zero-waste university by 2027,” Ceccola said. “This is a great way of doing it. Instead of throwing out all these [mason] jars that we use to cook, we manufacture them as glass jars that people can drink out of.”

For a classier (and more expensive) pick, De Luna Jewelers, located in Downtown Davis, sells a jade and 14-karat gold bike pin.

“[The bicycle] is the symbol of Davis,” said Diego Rodriguez, a De Luna Jewelers employee. “The logo of Davis and what Davis is really known for are their bike ways and paths and greenbelts.”

Rodriguez explained that the jade represents Davis’ green areas and green community. This may be a less wallet-friendly gift, priced at $1,015, but it certainly symbolizes Davis.

For the students wanting to apply their hard-earned knowledge from beer-brewing class — or for any beer fans, in fact — the MU Bookstore online has the perfect gift. They offer three different beer-making kits, each for $40, to brew chestnut brown ale, a breakfast-flavored coffee and donut stout or an everyday IPA.

Of course, the most evident gift that screams “Davis” is most likely UC Davis apparel. It may not be out of the ordinary, but it is safe and will certainly be used.

“I would definitely [get] either the Davis sweatshirt or the California Aggie sweatshirt,” said Harry Gebhardt, a fourth-year economics and political science double major and Davis Sports Shop employee. “Those are both really popular.”

The Davis Sports Shop also has bike T-shirts and Davis town hats for $11.99 and $16.99, respectively.

However, unless you are not a UC Davis student, your entire family probably already has a UC Davis T-shirt, hat, mug, water bottle and sweatshirt. If not, then a UC Davis sweatshirt might be the perfect gift for Dad in this cold weather. Otherwise, why not get something for your pet?

The MU Bookstore sells a “dog outfit,” which is a jersey hoodie with “UC Davis Veterinary Medicine” written across the back, for $18.95. Whether it is the jersey part or the fact that it is dog apparel, it certainly is a bizarrely perfect — or perfectly bizarre — gift for our furry friends. It does say it is from Davis.

For a less obviously-Davis gift, also nestled in the clearance table at the MU Bookstore is what looks to be a miniature beanbag chair labeled “mobile comfort.” It is, in fact, a beanbag chair for your cell phone. Nothing says extraordinary or maybe just flat-out strange like a gift that sends the message to make sure your cellular device is comfortable. Plus it is only $5.89.

On the contrary, if you want to show UC Davis pride (or want to be the lucky receiver too), for $39.95 the MU Bookstore’s UC Davis gnome just might cut it to accent your garden, room or fireplace mantle. After all, its description on the Bookstore’s website said it is nothing short of extraordinary.

JOYCE BERTHELSEN can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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