Dec. 15 2014 06:09 PM

A dozen ideas for the perfect present

wearable candle

As I'm writing this, there are 10 shopping days left before Dec. 25. And you're probably reading it with fewer than that. Stop panicking! That's tons of time, and here are a dozen ideas:

For the newlyweds: Their tree has, like, five ornaments on it, and three of them say "Our First Christmas." Head over to Solo in Solana Beach, where you'll find containers throughout the store holding pretty glass ornaments. Grab a few different ones, fill a box with crinkle-cut shredded paper or some of that sparkly, fluffy cotton stuff and you've got a nice little gift pack. Or, at Progress in South Park, pick up a copy of One Pan, Two Plates, a cookbook that'll transform anyone's dinner menu.

For mom: Objects with Purpose has created something called "the wearable candle." It's a candle! It's skin butter! It's a perfume! Stop scratching your head and go to Geographie in North Park, because this is an ingenious product.

For your bro: When he goes on a trip, he throws everything into a Ziploc bag. When you ask why he doesn't own a dopp kit, he thinks you're referring to some kind of hair product. No, dude, it's like a cosmetics bag, but for guys. Lone Flag in the Flower Hill Promenade has some practical-yet-stylish dopp kits by Topo Designs for $25. Or, go for the decked-out dopp kit ($68) that includes two pairs of socks, some fancy soap, face balm and a razor.  

For the caffeine fiend: There are a number of great coffee roasters around town. I'm particularly fond of two: North Park's Coffee & Tea Collective and Dark Horse in Normal Heights. Coffee & Tea Collective's holiday gift set ($50) includes a ceramic mug and bag of Guatemala Acatenago-Gesha coffee and comes in a charming birchwood box. Or, for $18, grab a bag of Espresso Seasonal blend. Warning: It's addictive. Dark Horse offers three-month and six-month subscriptions with five different "tiers" that'll get your recipient anywhere from 1 pound of coffee per month all the way up to 4 pounds, including exclusive Dark Horse blends. Head over to DH's brick-and-mortar location on Adams Avenue to pick up a cool mugs to complete the gift.

For your friend who left San Diego to move to San Francisco / Portland / New York / Seattle: Plastic bags are out; canvas totes are in. And what better way for a transplant to remember San Diego than a tote bag by Map Tote? Find 'em at The Grove in South Park.

For your 5-year-old niece: Go to Bazaar del Mundo's main shop and head upstairs. Near the checkout counter are very pretty bead necklaces that can't possibly cost $3.75—but they do! Find the one that looks the closest to what the Frozen princesses would wear. (I found a number of gifts at BdelM—it's a great one-stop shopping spot.)

For your lady friend(s): A signature feature of South Park's Bad Madge are the dozens of vintage brooches and pins throughout the store, cleverly affixed to retro playing cards for easier display. They dress up any cardigan and hold scarves in place. You'll find plenty in the $10 range (many for less), as well as some sweet vintage beaded handbags. 

That small item you need to round out a gift (girls): Paddywax's relish-jar candles (at Pigment in North Park and Establish in Hillcrest).

That small item you need to round out a gift (guys): A classic Opinel pocket knife at Geographie. 

Stocking stuffers: Head to Scout @ Quarters D in Liberty Station and wander the former naval officers quarters, where each room in the house is filled with wonderful things. Shelves and countertops hold small, fun items like retro boxes of matches, Kusmi Tea—with its almost-too-pretty-to-open packaging—a Marc Vidal retro Cat's Cradle game and lots of nice soaps and candles.


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