We live in one of the greatest shopping cities in the world, which means there’s no excuse for you to do all of your holiday gift-buying online or at big-box stores. Los Angeles is home to some of the weirdest, most eclectic businesses in the country. Diversify your gifts with bizarre, strange or wonderful presents from…
Brace yourself for the bizarre. The wares at this macabre Hollywood store range from dried seahorses and taxidermied bats to a 14K gold, Victorian-era bracelet laced with human hair. The clerks wisely frown on bringing food or drink into the store, and their stringency keeps each object in prime condition. If you’re looking for a fairly-priced, reasonably-haunted holiday gift, this is the place.
Stock up on crystals, candles, and oils at this small store dedicated to the metaphysical. The friendly owners are happy to help New Age newbies find the perfect gift, and each stone is packaged with a card delineating its many properties. Nonbelievers will still love the gorgeous, totally Instagrammable qualities of a hunk of azurite and the store’s stock of trendy crystal jewelry.
The self-described “purveyors of pop culture” have been making L.A. weird—well, weirder— for over 45 years. Pick up a Krampus ornament, featuring the eponymous Christmas demon from Austro-Bavarian Alpine folklore, or go the more traditional route with one of the store’s handmade soaps. There are over 10,000 items to choose from.
Edible presents are the best presents, and Rocket Fizz has cornered the market on basically everything sweet. The soda superstore carries Buffalo wing soda, Simpsons-inspired energy drinks, and an impressive amount of British chocolate bars and other international candies fill shelves. It also stocks classic sodas—in vintage bottles, natch—or go the gag gift route and buy a crate of ranch dressing soda.
Tweak bills itself as “the best gift store ever,” and it’s a pretty dead-on description. Every gift comes wrapped—even an eight-foot-long snake body pillow—and most ring in under $100 dollars. The off-beat card selection is especially fantastic. Bonus: a gift concierge is always on-hand to help pick out presents for the annoying, already-has-everything people in your life.
Pick up a jar of “Industrial Revolution Pollution” or canned Primordial Soup at a shop dedicated to enshrining the past, present, and future. This Echo Park landmark doubles as a literacy tutoring center, and all profits benefit the nonprofit 826 L.A. Also cool: Books written by the center’s students are available for purchase.
Dapper Cadaver is the prop house of choice for horror filmmakers across the city, and many of its items double as excellent, extremely unexpected gifts. Good for stocking stuffers, gag gifts or that perfect something for a creepy friend.