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SPCA gift certificates

If you're going to put a puppy or kitten underneath somebody's Christmas tree, better shell out for what the new pet owner really needs. Gift certificates from San Francisco's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals can be used for T-shirts and notecards, but most pet owners will want to turn them in for exams, neutering and spaying, microchip identifiers, and (for dogs) training and obedience classes. Since the SPCA's prices are already rock-bottom, that gift certificate goes a long way. And proceeds help fund the organization's numerous animal care programs, from the veterinary hospital to animal therapy and the no-kill Maddie's Pet Adoption Center. $25-150; 554-3024 or (800) 211-7722,

S.F. Museum of Modern Art membership

Here's one of those great gifts that lasts much longer than the holiday season. And admittedly, it isn't totally selfless, since membership entitles a cardholder to free museum admission for themselves and a guest (that means you) for a year. Stay in good with your buddy and be among the first to check out new exhibits (including previews) and attend members-only events. There are also discounts at the always-fab SFMOMA MuseumStore. Right now they're running a holiday special, too: Purchase a $65 membership and receive 20 percent off of additional memberships. 151 Third St. (at Mission), 357-4076

One-month Muni pass

Way cheaper than a plane ticket to Thailand, and much longer-lasting than a dinner at Delfina, a Muni pass offers unlimited access to our beautiful home by the bay. It can open up a new world of possibilities -- not to mention interesting smells. Foggy trips to the beach and adventures in detached overhead wires await you. An adult pass costs $45 for 33 days (the first three days of each month are a gift from the city). Visit or call 415-673-MUNI for a complete list of purchasing locations, including downtown stations and corner stores in a neighborhood near you.


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