Presents for adults: from artistic to historical to pure whimsy

To find for Chanukah, ASAP:
For Dad: Miniature traveling menorah
For Grandma: My Mishpocha Bag
For Sister: Silk-screened “Yo Semite” shirt
For Mom: “I am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl”

In the Bay Area, you don’t need to travel far to find a distinct gift for your loved ones. Judaica shop owners — now gearing up for the early Chanukah season, beginning sundown Tuesday, Dec. 7 — are quick to recommend a gift for any member of the family.

Shirley Bob of bob and bob in Palo Alto has the perfect gift for that relative on the road during Chanukah. “Say, if your brother is traveling — he might be off on a business trip, we have traveling chanukiot,” says Bob, referring to the mini-collectible menorahs made in aluminum and hand-painted wood.

Have a history buff in the family? Bob recommends Hasia Diner’s “Jews of the United States, 1654 to 2000,” published by University of California Press last summer. Publishers Weekly commends Diner, a professor of American Jewish History at New York University “for her thorough integration of women into her Jewish American story. She also deserves kudos for attending to both religious and secular Judaism. “

Looking for something for Grandma, who already has a huge collection of menorahs from past years? Bob says that you should check out My Mishpocha Bag, a simple black shoulder bag with a pocket on the side in which “you can slide in a photo of your family.”

Looking for a gift that can be displayed all year and not pushed into a closet after the holidays have ended? Among Bob’s personal favorites are the glass-and-cut-steel collectible menorahs by Israeli artist Anat Mayer. Because Mayer’s creations are made from natural materials, they will fit into your home decor year-round.

Myra Kaplan from Afikomen Judaica in Berkeley suggests menorahs shaped to resemble realistic-looking fruits and flowers, which will fit right in to your home day in and out. One of her favorites is “made of nine separate hand-enameled water lilies.” In Afikomen, you’ll also find individually handmade menorahs by Seeka, which “are very bright and whimsical, and decorated with jewels.”

Nurit Sabadosh of Alef Bet in Los Gatos is fond of “the distinctive chanukiah” made by artist Gary Rosenthal, who is based in Washington, D.C. Rosenthal is known internationally for designing a mezuzah with a hinged top and a chamber in the front in which couples can put pieces of their broken wedding glass.

Visitors to Alef Bet are also drawn to Rosenthal’s dreidels, which are made of fused glass and metal, and sculpted with a heart near the center.

For menorahs and dreidels, Sabadosh also recommends designs by C.J. Art from Jerusalem, with laser holographic images etched on crystal. The three-dimensional, crystal menorahs feature designs of the Western Wall, the Holy Days or Judaic symbols.

If you have not yet checked out the new Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, you might wander into its gift shop, Dayenu, which opened in March.

Co-owner Eva-Lynne Leibman may lead you to one-of-a-kind gifts made by local artists, such as the menorahs made by Aimee Golant of San Francisco. Golant, formerly an apprentice goldsmith for Alix & Co. in Mill Valley, gets some of her inspiration from her mother’s parents, who are Holocaust survivors.

Also, “for the Judaica collector, we have some gorgeous dreidels,” adds Leibman, pointing out the Venetian glass dreidels by Michael Gore. He frequents Venice, Italy, every year to work with master glass blowers and artisans, in order to create mezuzot, yads, Kiddush cups and dreidels. Gore has also exhibited at the “To Life!” Jewish street festival in Palo Alto.

For teens, she recommends any of the fun, hip T-shirts by Jewish Fashion Conspiracy. Begun on a lark by Sarah Lefton, the director of marketing and outreach for Camp Tawonga near Yosemite, the collection features shirts with such slogans as “Yo Semite” — a favorite of Leibman’s.

For shoppers in search of a special, reasonably priced gift, Kaplan from Afikomen recommends Ahava skin care products with minerals from the Dead Sea. You can choose from shower gels, body lotions, soaps and facial cleansers.

And in preparation for the holiday, Afikomen has something new this year, notes Kaplan: Chanukah card boxes from the Museum for Modern Art in New York.