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Holiday Gift Guide 2016

A curated list of our favorite local finds


This holiday season, be merry and gift well. We’ve rounded up 51 of our favorite stocking stuffers, over-the-top splurges, and unique experiences (gardening in Balboa Park, anyone?) from the city’s best boutiques and artists—organized by price, for every person and personality.

Choose a Price Range

$35 and Under
$36 to $100
$101 to $200
$201 to $300
$301 and Up

$35 and Under

Ocean Air

$21 - This scented candle, made by a Carlsbad soap company, smells like the beach and looks nice on a coffee table.

Mistral, Del Mar Highlands Town Center

Luxe Lunchbox

$30 - PB&J has never had it so good.


How Striking

$8 - This matchbook set for book lovers, with titles like Slaughterhouse-Five and Black Beauty, makes a highbrow stocking stuffer.


Throwback Beer

$14 - AleSmith’s San Diego Pale Ale .394 is one of the craft beer industry’s recent breakout stars. Its name pays homage to the late Tony Gwynn and his career high batting average.


Man Soap

$13 - Help him smell so fresh and clean with these handmade, fair-trade, cruelty-free soaps by Matr Boomie.

Moonshadow, 90 North Coast Highway 101, Encinitas

Color Happy

$15 - Adult coloring books promote mindfulness and happiness. Staying within the lines is optional!

Mod About You, 1619 West Lewis Street, Mission Hills

Cool Beans

$16 - This local coffee company’s Best Friend Blend is the perfect gift for your caffeinated better half.


Fancy Feet

$14–$15 - Channel tropical vibes through the winter with these funky socks by SoCal brand Stance.

Urban Beach House, The Headquarters

Some Bunny Special

$34 - Because every newborn should have a handmade rattle with a cable-knit cashmere sweater.

Make Good, 2207 Fern Street, South Park

Open Mind

$24 - These tiny, three-inch skull planters scream “hipster coworker.”

Make Good, 2207 Fern Street, South Park

Dog Tags

$22 - Call attention to your pup’s finer qualities with these collar accessories made by local jeweler Michelle Watson.


Hot Pots

$27 - These chic and minimalist tumblers, made by local artist Chelsea Bradford, are just right for cradling a morning cuppa.


Treat Yourself

Give the Gift of Theater

This present lasts all year. Season tickets start at around $112 for the bigger companies like The Old Globe and La Jolla Playhouse. News flash: Broadway blockbuster Hamilton is coming to the Civic in 2017–2018, and season tickets for Broadway SD can guarantee your seat.


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$36 to $100

Sweet Ride

$70 - Help your toddler prep for a real two-wheeler with this Piki Piki bike, which means “motorcycle” in Swahili. Double rad!


Ode to the Hawaiian Shirt

$60 - Because Dad’s closet is full of them. This coffee table book will make him appreciate those Reyn Spooners even more.

Patagonia, 2185 San Elijo Avenue, Cardiff

Cutting Edge

$65 - Display this artful wood cutting board on your kitchen countertop. Actual cooking skills not required.

Make Good, 2207 Fern Street, South Park

Scent of a Woman

$85 - Maison Louis Marie’s No. 5 Kandilli eau de toilette is a love potion. Feel free to thank us later.

Mod About You, 1619 West Lewis Street, Mission Hills

Little Surfer

$39 - Because even mini groms need to look the part. Also, palm leaves are totally en vogue.


Just Beachy

$70 - This luxe Turkish towel by Mayde looks great on the beach, at the park, or hanging in your bathroom. Bonus: They get softer with each wash.

Said Space, 766 South Coast Highway 101, Encinitas

In the Clutch

$42 - Cardiff-based company Aloha Collection makes cool splash-proof pouches in various sizes and prints. This Max version is big enough to hold your towel, swimsuit, and a change of clothes.


Save the Date

$48 - This personalized calendar by photo company Artifact Uprising, set on a sleek brass easel, will make any mom, dad, or grandparent cry with joy.


Day Spa in a Box

$50 - New local company Coastal Salt & Soul makes pampering products that smell lovely. Our favorites are the Blushing Peony salted-honey body scrub, bar soap, and hand cream.


Twinkle Toes

$50 - Because she leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes. These sandals, by Barrio Logan company Pons, will be the envy of the playground.


Beach Babe

$46 - This sweet little robe, made by Cardiff company Beachwood Baby, is perfect for a post-swim warm-up or for warding off the morning chill.

Moonshadow, 90 North Coast Highway 101, Encinitas

Wrist Candy

$99 - This lapis-rock bangle is delicate and beautiful for the woman in your life who is just that.

Bixby and Ball, 214 South Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach

Treat Yourself

Go Indoor Skydiving

Calling all daredevils who want to skydive without jumping out of a plane! The 50-foot wind tunnel at Mission Valley’s iFly reaches speeds of 120 mph and simulates all the thrills of an actual dive. Packages start at $80.


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$101 to $200

To the Point

$138 - This pocketknife, made of the finest American steel by luxe knife company Buck, looks cool and will last forever.


Festive Lobes

$195 - Add insta-glam to any holiday ensemble with these stone and tassel earrings.

Tory Burch, Fashion Valley

Firmly Planted

$130 - This 12-inch minimalist ceramic pot is made in Encinitas. Different colors and sizes available, too.


Powder Blue

$128 - With just enough room for some lip gloss and the cash to buy beer and a hot dog at the game, this is a true fan’s clutch from Dooney & Bourke’s brand new NFL collab.


Watch It

$149 - This simple design, framed by a thin wooden bezel and made by East Village-based company Original Grain, offers understated style for him or her.


In the Round

$128 - The round beach blankets, with a fun fringe trim, are designed in NoCo and show local love with names like The San Diego and The Santa Barbara.

Wild Dove, 740 Market Street, Downtown

City Slicker

$120 - Carlsbad-based Captain Fin makes rad surf apparel for the SoCal set. This Wharf Willy jacket will keep him toasty and dry through the winter months.


Say a Little Prayer

$150 - These B.loved wooden mala beads, centered by a swirly gray druzy stone, offer a little Zen and a whole lot of style.

Moonshadow, 90 North Coast Highway 101, Encinitas

Fab Frames

$145 - We love Warby Parker’s line (cofounded by a San Diegan) of affordable sunglasses that come with polarized lenses. Try the new Bonnie style in tortoise or a clear grapefruit shade.

Warby Parker, Westfield UTC

Treat Yourself

Make Pasta Like a Pro

Learn how to craft noodles at Tracy Borkum’s Kensington restaurant, Cucina Sorella. Monthly classes focus on different pastas, and are led by chef Daniel Wolinsky, who worked with renowned chef Massimo Bottura of the three-star Michelin restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy.
$68 per person, 619-281-4014


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$201 to $300

Beautiful Barware

$250 - Three cheers for this tank whiskey decanter ($110) and glasses with a hand-painted copper trim ($70 per pair), by British designer Tom Dixon.


Artsy Wallet

$345 - The Monte Revelle wallet by D’Alembert is handmade in Spain of French calfskin, then hand-dyed in the USA. Fancy!


Cozy Cashmere

$275 - New local company Pine Cashmere sources their high-quality threads from Mongolian goats. We love this turtleneck in one of fall’s prettiest hues.


Sweet Dreams

$286 - This silk pajama set by SoCal company Maison du Soir is so pretty that you will never want to get out of bed.

Ollie & Me, 2965 State Street, Carlsbad

Charitable Tote

$225 - Invest in fashion for a cause with this navy tote, handcrafted in the garage of local artisan Christine Longoria, who donates a portion of her proceeds to survivors of human trafficking.


VIP Gift Box

$250 - Gifting expert Simone LeBlanc knows how to find the rarest, sure-to-please items for the person who has everything. Her Modern Holiday Collection box includes gold foil playing cards, Baltic birch dominos, a dried foliage bundle, and so much more.


Treat Yourself

Edit Your Wardrobe

Local stylist Mahjuba Levine can help even the most challenged fashion victims. During her four-hour Closet Therapy session ($500), she will help you clean out your clothes and provide styling ideas for the pieces that remain. Or you can go shopping with her to ensure your winter/spring wardrobe is fashionista-approved ($150 per hour).


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$301 and Up

Rustic Centerpiece

$865 - Elevate any living space with this burl wood coffee table, crafted especially for the super-hip tastemakers at Pigment.

3801 30th Street, North Park

Heirloom Handbag

$3,195 - When nothing else will do, you can’t go wrong with vintage Chanel.


Neck Candy

$1,080 - Local jeweler Katarzyna Rosales’s vertical bar diamond necklace is perfect for special occasions and dainty enough for everyday.


Rule of Thumb

$700 - Local artist Cheryl Sorg customizes these truly unique Booklover Portraits with a person’s actual thumbprint and about 60 of their favorite book titles.


Specialty Surfboard

$1,070 - This 6’6” Chris Christenson C-bucket comes with a tennis ball tint, cedar-wedge stringer, and boxed fin.

Atacama, 2165 India Street, Little Italy

Slick Wheels

$2,730 - Cruise around in style with Electra’s Townie Go!, powered by a lithium ion battery and designed in Encinitas.


Hot Seat

$625 - Bring a little Beverly Hills Hotel glam into your home with this refurbished bamboo chair by local artisan Summer Meza.

Treat Yourself

Garden in Balboa Park

Have an actual hand (or, thumb) in beautifying Balboa Park with the Adopt a Plot program, which allows the public to sponsor and develop an actual parcel of soil in the park. The plot comes free, but it must be designed, irrigated, maintained, and city approved, which can cost about $500 to $1,000. Still, what a perfect and unusual gift.


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