The race is on—you have but nine shopping days left! So let's waste not an inch more of space.
For guy gifts, I suggest you try Igloo Shop (640 W. Beech St., Suite 1A, in Little Italy, iglooshop.com). I'm partial to the folding cardboard car shade that makes paper a cool present, designed by Arik Acosta and priced at $22. Or perhaps the cranberry Falcon tee at local givers of good, JedidiahUSA.com. The 'stasche has made a full comeback, and while it's located in the Fashion Valley Mall, and the mall = hell this time of year, The Art of Shaving (theartofshaving.com) sure does have a good selection of moustache accessories. Or hit Hunt & Gather (4496 Park Blvd., Suite G, in University Heights, huntandgathershop.com) or Stereo Unlimited (3191 Sports Arena Blvd., Sports Arena, stereounlimited.com) for vintage vinyl.
For girly gifts, you could get a pair of the Sanuk Ibiza series flip-flops, which look slightly up-market with their circle-shaped thong. They have the whole line at Becker Surfboards (927 S. Coast Highway in Encinitas, beckersurf.com). In Solana Beach, Cedros Soles (143 S Cedros Ave., Suite L, cedrossoles.com) has a great selection of Micheal Stars tights and socks. Local designer Barbara Rourke of Bells & Whistles doesn't have any retail coverage at the moment, which is a shame, but she does have a mighty cute Etsy.com page called Lou Lou and Maxime (etsy.com/shop/loulouandmaxime). Her leather and metal jewelry designs are perfect girlfriend gifts.
For kid gifts, you could get the skull-kid apron or horse-y rain boots and umbrella at Magical Child (967 So. Coast Hwy. 101, Suite B108, in Encinitas, magical child.com) or The Books of Elsewhere by Jacqueline West at Yellow Book Road (7200 Parkway Drive, Suite 118, in La Mesa, yellowbookroad.com), or the vintagelooking fake tattoos at the kid booth in Solana Beach's Solo (309 South Cedros Ave., solocedros.com). If you need big-box toys, skip Toys R Us and hit Tuesday morning (tuesdaymorning.com), a chain of grandma discount stores that has a great toy selection (you can always find last season's expensive collectible Barbies here for a 20-spot). But while you're there, take a walk down the housewares aisle—I've found the re-issued Russel Wright dinnerware and the entire line of Andrew Weil cookware for more than half off.
Mega-cheap gifts are hard to come by, but Rosamariposa (611 W. Fir St. in Little Italy, rosamariposa.com) has $5 wooden hair sticks and baskets of worldly bracelets, each under $10. Several of the mini boutiques in the giant store Leaping Lotus (240 South Cedros Ave. in Solana Beach, leapinglotus.com) carry Archie McPhee fun junk like absinthe dental floss, corn-dog-flavored mints and the over-exposed, yet still delicious, bacon lip gloss—all are less than $10.
For your crafty mom, sister or friend, you could make a little gift basket of beads and accoutrements at the long-established Black Sheep Beads (1060 South Coast Hwy. 101 in Encinitas, theblacksheep.biz). Perhaps said friend is into scrapbooking? Make her sweet and pretty day with a selection of paper goods from Paper Tales (3960 W. Point Loma Blvd., Suite N, in Sports Arena, papertales.typepad.com). I can't stand scrapbooking, but I think this place is flipping adorable.
For your foodie friends, pick up an assortment of cheese at Venissimo (locations in Mission Hills, Downtown and Del Mar, venissimo.com); chocolate at Chi Chocolat (chichocolat.net), Chuao (chuaochocolatier. com) or Eclipse (eclipsechocolat.com); flavored salts in cute tubes from She Sells Sea Salts, which has set up shop at Saturday's Mercato in Little Italy; or cookware from Great News (1788 Garnet Ave. in Pacific Beach, great-news.com).
If you haven't started shopping yet and need to get it done in one place, you can swing by my favorite new store of 2010: Progress (2225 30th St., Suite 1, in South Park, progresssouthpark.com). It'll surely have something for everyone on your list—adorable baby gifts, green-gardening accessories, hip housewares, great art books, trinkets and baubles, weird and creepy things—it's all here. And it opens at 8 a.m. on Christmas Eve, so you really can wait till the last moment.
Either that or go to the Mobil/Body Beautiful Car Wash (4282 Camino Del Rio N. in Mission Valley), off Interstate 8 at Fairmount Avenue. It has an entire wall of stinky-car air fresheners in various shapes and sizes, plus singing mice stockings. Something everyone needs, really. Not to mention gift cards for car washes. Merry holidays to you all.
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