There are perfectly good reasons to wait until the last possible second to buy a holiday gift. Maybe you’ve been busy bustling around parties and events, or didn’t realize there was going to be a gift exchange at the event you’re already on the way to, or just found out that someone you didn’t really think you were present-level friends with got you something and you want to avoid looking like a jerk. Regardless of what got you here, you have limited time to find something that gives the appearance of thoughtfulness.
That’s where these local gift shops shine. We’ve picked a few favorites in neighborhoods across the city, so hopefully one is near you or where you’re going. They’re stocked with cute things to please a variety of people, and often also have cards and other necessities on hand for max efficiency.
Individual Medley has something for everyone on your list, pets and babies included, as long as everyone on your list appreciates a touch of desert boho style–but if they live in L.A. circa 2018, that’s a reasonable bet.
Our Gift Pick: Hand-painted planters by local brand O-M Ceramic ($72)
3176 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village.
This Bixby Knolls neighborhood shop is on a mission: Everything for sale gives back to the world in some way; many options are made sustainably by traditional artisans across the globe. Extra nice is the cute kid stuff that won’t make you feel like you’re indoctrinating your friends’ children into a sugar-coated, corporate-branded capitalist conspiracy (at least until they’re prepared).
Our Gift Pick: My Family Builders magnetic play set ($30)
3712 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach.
Los Angeles County Store
This shop is like one of those cute craft fairs you totally mean to attend but don’t. Everything comes from local indie makers, so you can feel good that you’re not just giving a sweet gift, you’re also truly “shopping small.”
Our Gift Pick: Colorful wooden trays by Wolfum for L.A. Original ($68)
4333 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake.
Pergolina owner Paulanna Cuccinello opened her dream “gift and garden boutique” in 1990, converting the storefront that had been her parents’ flower shop for the previous 45 years. If you’re looking for items that would be at home on a Nancy Meyers film set, this shop may have just the thing.
Our Gift Pick: Voyage et Cie Roma Tuberosa candle ($52)
10139 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake.
Colorful and fun, this Highland Park shop is stocked with items that will be appreciated by young and old. They carry artwork, accessories, totes, apparel, and cute little stocking stuffers, all crafted by local Latinx designers.
Our Gift Pick: Brujita Box Self-Care Kit ($24)
5159 York Blvd., Highland Park.
Long a favorite shop on the Abbot Kinney drag, Tortoise relocated to new digs in Mar Vista. It’s still stocked with a beautiful and thoughtful assortment of giftworthy goods, many of them imported from Japan, and any of which will give your recipient an instant moment of Zen.
Our Gift Pick: 2019 Himekuri Calendar ($36.50)
12701 Venice Blvd., Mar Vista.
Pretty, plant-y, and filled with light, Acorn has cool lifestyle accessories for organic modernists. Select your treasures from an assortment of candles, home decor objects, and comfortable apparel.
Our Gift Pick: Organically-shaped olive wood serving boards ($41)
1611 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock.
Inside L.A.’s historic Central Library, doing your shopping here means great gifts and a chance to take in one of the city’s prettiest buildings. Books are a focus, but there are lots of other giftables for bibliophiles of all ages. Walk over on your lunch break or after work; the shop stays open until 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
630 W. 5th St., downtown.
Pygmy Hippo’s owner calls her boutique “bite-size,” but what it lacks in square footage it makes up for in quirky, colorful goods with vintage flair. If Zooey Deschanel opened a store, we imagine it would look a lot like this.
Our Gift Pick: Stitch the Stars DIY 2019 calendar kit ($26)
306 N. Stanley Ave., Beverly Grove.
About half of Shout & About’s shelf space is dedicated to cards for every occasion. The rest is stocked with nice little gift items, like candles, enamel pins, fun water bottles, and jewelry. A kids’ corner keeps little ones covered, too.
Our Gift Pick: Mimosa Society iron-on patch by Antiquaria Mercantile ($9)
1547 Echo Park Ave., Echo Park.
Little Tokyo, Koreatown, Culver City, and Arts District
Graphic motifs, clean lines, and utilitarian-cool design inform the goods on offer at Poketo’s four L.A. locations. From totes they’ll actually use to stationery that looks like you brought it home from Japan, you’ll find gifts for all the creative types.
Our Gift Pick: Midori Stoneware speckled teapot ($48)
374 E. 2nd St., Little Tokyo; 3515 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown; 8840 Washington Blvd., Culver City; 777 S. Alameda St., Arts District.
Burbank, Santa Monica, and Highland Park
At this trio of upbeat shops, at least 70 percent of everything they sell is made by California artists. Among the selection you’ll find everything from cool jewelry to silly items that would kill it at a white elephant exchange.
Our Gift Pick: “Surrounded by Pricks” cactus tote bag ($20)
3319 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank; 2711 Main St., Santa Monica; 5050 York Blvd., Highland Park.
Tucked into a barnlike building in a setting designed to evoke a country town, Blackbird offers a selection of charming gift options. Shop gift boxes filled with gourmet snacks to books, pretty loungewear, and kids’ stuff galore.
23504 Calabasas Rd., Calabasas.
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