Just what they wanted: Los Altos businesses offer ideas for unique and useful presents

A vintage typewriter from Los Altos Typewriter & Business Machines might spark creativity in the writer on your gift list.

Whether your family, friends and business associates are easy to shop for or notoriously difficult, neighborhood stores are brimming with possibilities. Following are a few holiday gift-giving ideas from Los Altos shops.

Retro inspiration

The writer in your life might find inspiration by using the same model of typewriter as Ernest Hemingway (a 1941 Royal Quiet Deluxe, among others), Dr. Seuss (Smith Corona) or Woody Allen (Olympia portable SM-3). Los Altos Typewriter & Business Machines, located at 300 State St., has a good selection of manual typewriters from the late 1880s through the mid-1970s, ranging in price from $200 to $500. The shop also carries new electronic typewriters.

Practical but giftworthy

Los Altos Hardware, located at 441 First St., offers a number of items for those who enjoy useful gifts. Brazos walking sticks and canes are handcrafted in Texas. Woods include oak, ash, hickory and cedar, with prices ranging from approximately $30 to $50. For the garden or patio, there are bird feeders, thermometers, garden tools and accessories. The store is well stocked with U.S. and California flags, with prices starting at $5.99 and capping at $50. And to help keep the drivers in your life safe, the store offers roadside assistance kits complete with jumper cables, rope and flashlight for $39.99.

For kids of all ages

Linden Tree Books, located at 265 State St., stocks books, music and gifts for all ages. In addition to the wide variety of children’s books, the store carries adult fiction and nonfiction, including titles on food, wine and travel. Gift items include accessories such as LED book lights, stationery, journals, calendars, puzzles, socks, puppets and stuffed animals.

For the nature lover

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in Los Altos in November, Nature Gallery, located at 296 State St., is the city’s purveyor of minerals and fossils. In addition to display items and furniture, the store offers a wide selection of jewelry - starting at $21 for silver electroplated geode slice pendants. Stone pens ($100) are a popular gift item, as are sandstone coasters ($48 for a set of four), "calming stones" ($8-12) and Zuni carved animal figures from New Mexico. Owner Carol Garsten designs one-of-a-kind nickel purses with various accent stones on the front. The store also features a kids’ section.

The gift of food

Who doesn’t enjoy a delicious treat? Edible gifts and food baskets are available at a number of Los Altos stores, including Gourmet Works (205 Main St.), Present (127 Main St.), DeMartini Orchard (66 N. San Antonio Road) and the First Street grocery stores - Draeger’s and Safeway. Gift cards to any of the restaurants in town also may be a good bet for nearly anyone on your list.

Gifts of pampering

Los Altos features salons of all types. Consider gift certificates for manicures, pedicures, facials, massages or hair treatments.

Gifts of fitness

There are many exercise studios in Los Altos. A gift certificate for dance, yoga, cycling, martial arts, personal training or other forms of exercise can be a practical and healthy choice.

Read all about it

Help keep your friends and family up to date on the happenings in Los Altos with a subscription or renewal to the Town Crier. Call 948-9000, or drop by the office at 138 Main St or visit us

For more information on shops in downtown Los Altos, visit the Los Altos Village Association’s website at ❄

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The Town Crier publishes six different glossy magazines throughout the year that are inserted into the newspaper.

You can view the latest magazine as a PDF here 
or explore our archive of past issues.  


Our magazines include:

  • Camps (1/30)
  • Family Spotlight (2/27)
  • Living in Los Altos (3/27 & 9/25)
  • Home & Garden (4/24 & 8/28)
  • Senior Lifestyles (5/22)
  • Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival Magazine (7/10)
  • Home for the Holidays (11/13)

To advertise, contact our sales department by calling (650) 948-9000 or email

To offer submissions to editorial, contact editor Bruce Barton at

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