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Los Angeles is often derided as a ragtag amalgamation of small cities under the guise of a singular big city — as if that’s a bad thing? L.A.’s vastness only means there’s always corners and crevices of creativity bubbling with new ideas, perspectives, and in the case of the holidays, gift opportunities.
We’ve gathered a selection of uniquely Los Angeles gift ideas spanning the entire city and beyond, all inviting you to support local businesses and artists who call L.A. home. Our guide ranges from stocking stuffers starting from $6.50 up to $3,400 for an extremely rare piece of Los Angeles history.
If you want more local, food-centric gifts, we also have a Mostly Local, Mostly Affordable, Foodish Holiday Gift Guide.
El Machete Black Rooster Red Chilli Paste
You can’t go wrong with any of Oscar Ochoa’s El Machete hot sauces. Each delivers an earthy umami-laden spiciness that warms rather than burns the lips. But if there’s one sauce representing the multicultural palate of L.A., it has to be this vibrant concoction of “red jalapeño, Korean red chili peppers, Japanese togarashi, sesame seeds, olive and sesame seed oil, Himalayan pink salt, and vinegar” (hot tip: drizzle it across some instant ramen or over a fried egg for an instant quick meal upgrade). The paste isn’t always listed as available online, but we’ve found if you slide into El Machete’s DMs, they’re very accommodating to requests for pick-up at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market.
Mann Handmade Ceramics
Ceramicist Sharon Mann Garrett’s speckled earthenware has a certain timeless vibe to them that always tickles the itch for a road trip up to Big Sur, the sort of everyday tools for living which quietly become the ones you'll always reach for when serving up a warm meal on an (subjectively) cold Los Angeles day. Her plates, bowls and mugs are crafted in limited batches never to be repeated again – truly one-of-a-kind creations. If you want some hands-on time with Mann’s work, be sure to mark your calendar for the upcoming Green & Bisque Clayhouse Holiday Market where MANN Handmade will be selling in-person.
Small Peace Sign Hook
Who doesn’t need a little peace in their life right now? Designer Eric Trine assembles every one of these friendly two-finger salutes from his Long Beach studio, sold exclusively via Los Angeles design boutique, POKETO. Available in both big and small sizes, and in a quartet of vibrant colors to liven up the walls, give one – or several – to someone who you think needs a literal hand with storage.
Soda sommelier Han Suk Cho wants you to eat, drink and be merry even if there’s no alcohol on the menu. Not only has the cocktail maker subtracted out the booze from her selection of adult fizzy drinks, but she’s also left out the cloying sweetness typical of sugary beverages. Instead, Cho’s drinks reflect a more thoughtful and nuanced approach to flavors where an inviting sniff tempts a pleasing sip. Citrus blossom, lilac shrub, and rose cheek sodas – each explode with their own distinct effervescent firework of fragrances before revealing a lasting flavor that will make you smack your mouth to eke every flavorful drop.
All Night Menu
Writer Sam Sweet has a penchant for peeling off the proverbial paint in search of long forgotten or overlooked histories concealed beneath the layers of Los Angeles most would deem unexceptional. Sweet’s ongoing series of episodic zines are filled with tales tinged with a sort of faded Polaroid-nostalgia you might feel while flipping through your grandparents’ photo albums in the attic…snapshots of the city that invite musings of, “All those people, all those lives, where are they now?” Planned as a five volume series, each edition dedicates eight distinct stories revolving around a single locale, embracing both the singular and sum of the city and its inhabitants.
There’s long been a buzz about town about the locavore offerings of beekeeper David Bock’s Buzzed Honeys, a purveyor of small batch honeys sourced from hives tended by urban backyard beekeepers strewn throughout Los Angeles. The efforts of bees from the likes of Altadena, Silver Lake, Pasadena, and Mount Washington are represented seasonally. A hive mind idea: purchase a few jars representing different neighborhoods and see whether you can distinguish one neighborhood’s floral terroir from another (“…tastes of the Rose Parade, with a hint of The Huntington”).
LOT XI The Experience Box
If you’re a fan of HBO’s Insecure you may have caught a glimpse of LOT XI in the background during the episode where Issa hems together a coalition of Black businesses celebrating the entrepreneurial landscape of Inglewood. While the series block party was fictional, the urban apothecary brand is real. Founded by clinical psychotherapist Krystyl Wright, the Compton-based LOT XI specializes in products soothing our largest organ – our skin. Lotions, soaps, masks, scrubs and butters are all made with fair trade ingredients, many sourced locally from farmers markets. The Experience Box is the most luxurious expression of LOT XI’s self care manifesto, offering a choose-your-own-adventure of the senses, with the option to pick and choose between body butters, organic sugar scrub, and a candle.
Experience the holidays at South Coast Plaza. Enjoy the majestic trees — there are three throughout the center. There is beautiful holiday décor, music and more while you shop for everyone on your list. Make some time for holiday food and cheer at one of the restaurants. Discover curated gift guides at southcoastplaza.com for more information and great gift ideas for everyone on your list.
At first glance Los Angeles artist K’era Morgan’s collection of handcrafted jacquard woven tapestries appear as purely painterly abstract pieces of wall art. But look longer and those energetic expressions of color, texture and movement begin to reveal a gestural diary of sorts, a feeling attributable to the fact each piece was inspired by Morgan’s own memories sketched over a summer spent exploring the popular SoCal backcountry getaway of Big Bear. Give one to the outdoor enthusiast with a bare wall calling out for some artwork.
Cactus Store Earthworm Shirt
Everyone knows someone who became more than a little plant or gardening obsessed over the span of the pandemic lockdown. If you want to gift that green-thumbed obsessive with something exhibiting a bit of fashionable flair atypical of most gardener’s wear, this lightweight Japanese cotton plaid work shirt “meticulously sewn” in Los Angeles should do the trick. Outfitted with reinforced pass-throughs and pockets galore, the shirt will make both indoor and outdoor plant parents feel like they’re equipped to deal with any situation.
Eames Office x Globe Skate Deck
When it was determined “Molly,” a mature eucalyptus tree shading the adjacent Eames House (aka Case Study House No. 8) needed to be removed to protect the nearby studio, there was a great deal of discussion about what to do with the remnants of the long term resident. Fortunately the Eames Office, Angel City Lumber, and skate brand Globe devised a plan to honor both the tree and the mid-century couple’s legacy in truly rad fashion. Taking only the most choice pieces from the felled trunk, the partnership transformed Molly into the quintessential symbol of carefree Los Angeles summers: the skateboard. Each of these 100 laser-etched skate decks lives onto honor Charles Eames’ own provocation, “Who ever said that pleasure wasn't functional?”