Coast’s annual gift guide is brimming with the latest and greatest ideas for your favorite OC locals. From the utilitarian stocking stuffer to the extravagant display of under-the-tree affection, we’ve got your shopping list covered.
Stocking Stuffer: < $100
Under the Tree: $101-$500
Tree Topper: > $500
For the Locavore
Stocking Stuffer :: Fill your honey’s stocking with the good stuff – what the ancient Greeks called the nectar of the gods. Yes, we’re talking about honey. But, not that generic bear-bottle kind. Aliso Canyon Honey (8 oz. jar for $7.89) is available at Mother’s Market & Kitchen and boasts that its jars have hints of sage, citrus and even buckwheat. And, best of all, the honey comes only from Orange County. Savor each bite knowing that everything from harvesting to labeling is done by hand.
Under the Tree :: The South Coast Farms community supported agriculture (CSA) is the brainchild of local farmer George Kibby and Rebecca Noble. A regular basket consists of 15-20 organically grown items (weekly, regular CSA subscription for one quarter equal to 14 baskets of produce, $476). Think fresh avocados, citrus fruits and pears in the spring delivered right to your secret Santa’s door.
Tree Topper :: Corona del Mar-based cheese experts Vin Goat will help you plan the ultimate fromage soiree. A private event in a remote location – think: underground wine cave located near Newport’s Back Bay (starting at $800) – is the perfect gift for 10 of your closest cheese-loving friends. Vin Goat’s chef will personally choose six local wines that are paired with 10 of their favorite cheeses. :: vingoat.com
For the Oenophile
Stocking Stuffer :: Give the gift of celebration with a bottle of NV Brut Sparkling wine from Laguna Canyon Winery ($16). Made using the Charmat process, an Italian method in which the wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the resulting bubbly is clean and crisp with aromas of grapefruit and a finish reminiscent of vanilla and nuts. Winner of the 2009 OC Fair Wine Competition award, the wine is ideal for all manner of holiday toasts.
Under the Tree :: Mixing wine and transportation is generally not advised, but there are instances when the two can be combined appropriately. The Clos Cruiser ($350), a collaboration between fashion and home décor retailer C. Wonder and Sonoma winery Clos du Bois, is a stylish picnicking bike outfitted with a chevron-lined wicker basket designed to fit a bottle of wine, two GoWine reusable glasses and a corkscrew. There’s also a little space left over for cheese and fruit. Comes in his-and-hers navy blue and fuchsia.
closdubois.com :: cwonder.com
Tree Topper :: For the wine connoisseur, there’s nothing more enticing than a collectible bottle of wine. And for the wine gift giver, there are few things more difficult than picking the right bottle to add to the collector’s cellar. Let Corona del Mar’s Wine Gallery pick for them with a one-year membership to the Collector’s Club ($1,200). Each month, the member will receive two bottles of extraordinary, rare wines that are designed for aging, or for instant gratification, can be decanted now.
For the Next-Door Hipster
Stocking Stuffer :: The Chevre Goat DIY Cheese Kit ($29) is the perfect stocking stuffer for your artisanal food-loving hipster. Complete with all the tools necessary – cheesecloth, thermometer, citric acid, and salt – to make homemade goat ricotta and other tangy cheeses. It only needs two quarts of goat’s milk and one hour of your hipster’s valuable time. Available at the Cheese Shop at The Mix in Costa Mesa.
cellarcheeseshop.com :: urbancheesecraft.com
Under the Tree :: Wouldn’t it be nice to transfer notes from paper to tablet in the blink of an eye? Now your high-tech hipster doesn’t have to worry about typing. The Equil JOT pen ($149.99) instantly digitizes its user’s thoughts. So your resident trendsetter can compile quotes from Jack Kerouac without smudging the ink. :: myequil.com
Tree Topper :: When Buena Park local Jason Anderson decided to build his own bike, he wanted something truly unique. So rather than tinkering with state-of-the-art designs, Anderson, who was influenced by H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, designed his own Victorian-era Steampunk Penny Farthing ($3,900). The 24-year-old artist/builder even retrofitted an 1898 carbide lamp to run on LEDs. It now functions as the bike’s headlight. The parts look antique, but they’re mostly brand new, which makes this one-of-a-kind cycle a functional art piece on wheels. Available at Gold Bug in Pasadena
For the Devoted Pet Parent
Stocking Stuffer :: For the doting pet parent that loves to include their pet in all activities, including holiday dining, consider treats made especially for dogs. Just Food for Dogs’ pumpkin treats ($5.95) are hand-made from whole wheat flour, pumpkin puree, blackstrap molasses, water, safflower oil, cinnamon, and baking powder, and are baked fresh in the store’s Newport Beach dog kitchen and bakery. JFFD does not use preservatives, added colors, by-products, or partial grains, processed sugars, or any other additives. :: justfoodfordogs.com
Under the Tree :: For the dog with a reputation to uphold, a new addition to its canine wardrobe is in order for the holidays. Dog accessory company Ware of the Dog’s Dogstooth sweater (from $180) is made of 100% organic wool and is hand-made in the U.S. The sweater comes in grey/electric blue or grey/hot pink – a fashion statement for the most image-conscious dogs and discerning pet parents.
Tree Topper :: The dog that has everything will revel in his own custom-made living quarters. La Petite Maison’s doghouse (from $5,500) is the ultimate in barkitecture, ranging from mansion-style residences to Alpine-inspired digs, Victorian-era abodes, and French chateaux. The company will also custom-build a doghouse to replicate the owner’s home, and include special touches such as hand-painted wallpaper, recessed lighting and hardwood floors.
For the Bike Roadie
Stocking Stuffer :: For the avid biker who needs to know everything about his beloved cycle, grab the Bike-Owner’s Handbook ($18). He’ll have the basics for repairing his two-wheeler without having to digest an entire user’s manual. It’s also compact enough that your roadie can consult it on the go. :: uncommongoods.com
Under the Tree :: Combining elements from racing, cycling, and über fashion, Kask's Lifestyle bike helmet ($250) exemplifies functional elegance. Crafted in Italy, the futuristic-looking helmet features a flip-down visor and it doubles as a cool accessory.
Tree Topper :: Sure, peddling your own bike is great exercise. But what if your favorite biker also has the need for speed? Now, your rider extraordinaire can travel – even off-road – on his very own electric-powered bicycle. The Trail Tracker ($2,975) releases no toxic emissions and it speeds up to 20 mph, which makes it an easy alternative to the auto. :: pedegonewportbeach.com
For the Faithful Surfer
Stocking Stuffer :: San Clemente-based Surfer’s Journal (one year subscription, $63) is no mere magazine – it's a compilation of surf history in the making in a format that’s more like a soft-cover book than a magazine. Each issue consists of 132 pages that are almost completely editorial, with sparsely covered topics that range from surf travel and board design to people profiles and fantastic surf photography. It’s like a National Geographic collection for surf lovers.
Under the Tree :: While surfing year-round in OC is doable, it may not always be pleasant when water temperatures drop. For the surfer who insists on riding the waves in chilly waters, Rip Curl’s H-Bomb Vest ($299.99) not only helps keep body heat in with serious waterproofing and high-quality neoprene, but also uses a carbon fiber heating system with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery to keep the heat coming. The vest can be worn under any wetsuit.
Tree Topper :: San Clemente-based Nation Mfg. is the place you’ll want to go to get a surfboard for the most discerning surfer. Shaper Ryan Engle crafts each surfboard he sells and accepts orders for custom sizes. The RicKanePro surfboard ($615) has a sand finish and can be decorated with Nation’s signature airbrush or a custom hand-painted Pottz-style deck.
For the Gamer
Stocking Stuffer :: The U.S.S. Enterprise pizza cutter ($29.99) fits into your favorite Trekkie’s stocking. Useful for those late nights, live long and prosper pizza binges while gaming hours on end, this functional – albeit quirky – gift makes us want to throw up the Vulcan salute and boldly go where no man has gone before.
Under the Tree :: With all the new gaming systems coming to the market this month (we’re talking about you, Xbox One and PlayStation 4), maybe what your resident gamer really needs is an upgraded speaker system. Silverlake and Venice’s hip modern design haven, A+R, has the ideal gift: porcelain speakers with a cast-iron base ($495) that Wired magazine deemed “a seamless marriage of drool-worthy design and audiophile-worthy sound.” This speaker and subwoofer system, created by industrial designer Joey Roth, easily fits on any desk and is not only functional but pretty cool-looking, too. Plus, aside from the electronic components, the majority of this system is plastic-free. :: aplusrstore.com
Tree Topper :: For the ultimate gamer, the TL1 simulator from Motion Simulation (starting at $30,000) features the world’s first portable 180-degree projector screen. It's “cockpit” is designed to control ambient light and sound. Intended only for serious players, the TL1 is like having a personal arcade inside your home.
For the Cinofile
Stocking Stuffer :: There is something about sipping wine and eating truffle skinny fries with sriracha aioli and Shishito peppers with ponzu dipping sauce, while watching Tom Hanks go up against a Somali pirate on the giant screen, that makes Cinepolis’s (two tickets, $27) plush leather recliners seem obvious. Because who wants to eat dark and white chocolate Zebra Popcorn, or a Nutella spring roll, when they are not served on personal swivel tables by the first-class movie theater’s attentive servers? Locations in Laguna Niguel and Rancho Santa Margarita. :: cinepolisusa.com
Under the Tree :: If you want to create your own drive-in movie, check out Target’s supply of inflatable outdoor movie screens. Airborn screens (starting at $169.99) self-inflate to become 12 feet high, and Open Air Cinema’s nine-foot inflatable screen has its own air blower. Pull up the car, set up your favorite movie or TV show and snuggle up with your beloved or the whole family. :: target.com
Surprise your favorite movie buff with tickets to the Sundance Film Festival (all access passes, $1,500-$3,000), scheduled for January 16-26 of 2014. Spend your nights at any one of the luxurious Park City and Deer Valley offerings, most of which are already sold out for the week of the festival. But try lodging.sundance.org to find accommodations or the Montage Deer Valley. Ski all day, watch movies and party all night. sundance.org :: montagedeervalley.com
For the Suburban Farmer
Stocking Stuffer :: Back to the Roots created a genius gift for the aspiring hipster gardener. Grow organic gourmet oyster mushrooms with ease by simply opening the Mushroom Kit box ($19.99), lightly misting with water, then harvesting. An added bonus: the mister is included. And, once the oyster mushrooms sprout, your farmer can enjoy them roasted, slow-cooked in soups or tossed into a hearty risotto. :: backtotheroots.com
Under the Tree :: Part compost bin, part earthworm habitat, the Worm Factory 360 ($119.95) naturally creates organic fertilizer for your urban gardener. It’s easy to maintain – only takes approximately 15 minutes a week – and your farming friend can transform scraps from the kitchen (except for meat, dairy and citrus), cardboard and paper waste into all-natural, nutrient-rich fertilizer. Worms are hearty composters. They will eat half their weight in food per day. Plus since the habitat is well-ventilated, the yucky trash smell that’s usually associated with composting isn’t as potent. Available at Nature’s Footprint. :: naturesfootprint.com
Tree Topper :: Greenhouses are made for serious growers. Not only do they regulate the plants’ temperatures but they also help with pest control and humidity. But forget traditional greenhouses. The Tree Topper gift for your suburban farmer is a geodesic 18-foot diameter growing dome greenhouse in the five-wall Classic Kit ($8,450). Not only is it functional, but it’s also an aesthetically appealing addition to any garden. Think of it as a 10-foot-high dome that’s meant to grow fresh produce for up to four people. And, interesting enough to keep as a backdrop to your swanky garden parties.
For the Green Lover
Stocking Stuffer :: Bring a little light into someone’s life with Luci ($25), a solar-powered lantern that’s small, sustainable and oh so cool. It’s like a mini-beach ball (it’s inflatable and collapsible) with high and low light levels, plus a flashing emergency setting. Set it out in the sun for a day, and the rechargeable lithium battery pack will charge the 10 LEDs for up to 12 hours. Kids love carrying it around on adventures, parents like that once it’s bought, there are no batteries or further costs. Ever. Plus, for every Luci bought in the U.S., the company sends one free to a developing country where the grid isn’t as reliable as ours. Available at SEED People’s Market, The CAMP, Costa Mesa. :: thecampsite.com
Under the Tree :: Those of us who can remember the House of the Future at Disneyland (or at least “The Jetsons” animated TV show) have been wondering when we’d have a completely computer-controlled home. The Nest Learning Thermostat ($249) brings the wired revolution to the level of our more mundane daily activities in an easy to install, high-tech package, with energy savings as a big bonus. With an iPad-like appeal and aesthetics (no big surprise the company is run by Apple alums), the WiFi-enabled Nest thermostat is easily programmable from anyplace to turn heat and A/C off and on throughout the day to meet our schedules and comfort levels. It also learns our habits (yes, it knows when we’ve been sleeping, it knows when we’re awake). :: nest.com
Tree Topper :: If you’re a last-minute Santa rushing around looking for a perfect gift, consider stopping in to the Tesla store at Fashion Island. That hard-to-please eco-warrior who also has a need for speed would love a Tree Topper electric car that goes 0-60 in a little over five seconds. If the price tag is too steep to snap up a Model S (starts at $70,000) to wrap in red ribbon and park outside for a holiday surprise, consider a gift of the $5,000 deposit to reserve the new Model X SUV due early next year. :: teslamotors.com
For the Caffeine Junkie
Stocking Stuffer :: Blue Bottle is a San Francisco staple. Now with locations in New York and soon-to-open cafes in Los Angeles, this back-to-basics coffee company is making its way closer to Orange County. But, true aficionados can sport the gear even if they can’t enjoy a freshly brewed Blue Bottle coffee every day. The 100% organic cotton tote ($10) with its hip drip illustration is a trendy stocking stuffer that will never spoil. The bag celebrates the Blue Bottle motto of preparing each coffee by hand. :: bluebottlecoffee.com
Under the Tree :: Portola Coffee Lab’s monthly coffee subscription (three months, $100) is selected by a resident roaster and consists of two bags of whole-bean coffee shipped directly to the door of your favorite caffeine connoisseur. The best part is that these exclusive blends are only available to subscribers. Add The Professional Barista’s Handbook: An Expert’s Guide to Preparing Espresso, Coffee, and Tea by Scott Rao ($45) as the perfect manual for the coffee geek on your gift list. Combining scientific descriptions with preparation styles and growing regions, this hardcover book covers the basics from beans to brewing. :: portolacoffeelab.com
Tree Topper :: For the pure Tree Topper, send your caffeine lover to Costa Rica’s Finca Rosa Blanca Inn and Coffee Plantation for The Culinary and Cultural Highlands Package for two people during high season (dates include January 6 through April 30, $2,014; price does not include airfare). Treat them to a luxurious three-night stay in one of the property’s junior suites that includes a coffee tour followed by a coffee detox treatment at Spa Pura Vida. Other activities are included as well, including a rum-tasting session, canopy tour, cooking class, and cultural highlights excursion. :: fincarosablanca.com
For the Orange County Housewife
Stocking Stuffer :: Know someone who admires the OC Housewives’ always-impeccable makeup? Now she can try her own hand at reproducing the cosmetic magic seen on the show. Gretchen Rossi of “The Real Housewives of Orange County” has developed her own cosmetics line, Gretchen Christine Cosmetics, and her three custom eye shadow palettes (The Goddess, The Golden Girl and The Vixen, $39.99 each) are one of the signature pieces. Rossi strategically hand-picked the colors for each one of the compacts – colors that can be built on throughout the day and transformed for the red carpet that night.
Under the Tree :: Former Orange County Housewife Lydia McLaughlin may be best known for her role on the “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” but in her time off the air she’s been busy building her jewelry business, Lydia M Jewelry. Inspired by her own modern fashionista style, McLaughlin has developed a line of handcrafted jewelry made of braided 18k gold wire and Swarovski crystals that can be mixed and matched or worn as statement pieces on their own. The Athena ring ($144) is made of two gold-braided bands with a delicate Swarovski flower detail on top for a one-of-a-kind look. :: lynnecurtin.com
Tree Topper :: Those OC Housewives don’t stay in great shape by foregoing their fitness regime. Tamra Judge, along with husband Eddie Judge, both OC Housewives regulars, took their workout to a more personal level when they opened C.U.T. Fitness (one-year unlimited membership, $999), a 6,200-square-foot gym in Rancho Santa Margarita that offers a variety of challenging classes – yoga, indoor cycling, cardio/martial arts, and weight-lifting – to get in shape fast. A separate kids studio means children can come along and get in their own workout, or even join their parents in class if they choose. :: cutfitoc.com
For the Teenage Athlete
Stocking Stuffer :: If you have a passionate soccer player, FIFA 14 will excite footballers with Real Ball Physics ($59.99) that transform this popular game. Relive Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s bicycle-kick against England, Lionel Messi’s first goal at Barça as a 17-year-old, or Papiss Cisse’s volley against Chelsea 14 and feel what it is like to connect with the perfect strike. Real Ball Physics ensures the trajectory of the ball behaves as it would in real life, thanks to authentic ball physics based on new formulas that dictate the flight path and trajectory of a shot. Both were overhauled for FIFA 14 to match how the ball moves in space. :: target.com
Under the Tree :: If drones are too scary and you’re more of a boots on the ground kind of parent, Soloshot Inc. has developed a robotic cameraman ($479) to film your teenage athlete’s heroic exploits. Pop your camera on the Soloshot smart tripod, which uses a wireless waterproof transponder armband to track your subject who can be up to 2,000 feet away, moving as fast as 143 mph (almost faster than a speeding bullet). All you do is tilt and zoom and let the camera do the work while you enjoy the game. :: soloshot.com
Over the Top :: Nothing makes teenagers and their friends happier than looking at photos and videos of themselves performing outrageous feats of strength and agility, except sharing said images on various social networking sites for all the world to see. DJI’s new Phantom 2 Vision Quadcoptor ($1,199) comes with a 14 megapixel camera that will hover above the surf or your varsity game or a cliff dive for 25 minutes of action-packed, high-tech footage. It can be remotely controlled from a smartphone and relies on a GPS-based navigation system from around 1,000 feet away. Previous GoPro-compatible incarnations of this drone are available but do not include the camera, shock-absorbing bracket or ability to see what you’re shooting in real time. :: dji.com/product/phantom/
For the Yoga Devotee
Stocking Stuffer :: Traveling for dedicated yoga practitioners can lead to yoga mat separation anxiety. The affliction can be cured, however, with Jade’s travel mat ($54.95), which is small enough to come along for the journey. Weighing in at 3.5 pounds with a thickness of one-eighth of an inch, the mat can be folded to fit into almost any luggage, comes in two lengths (68 and 74 inches) and is available in a variety of colors. As a bonus, it’s also made of natural rubber, which prevents mat slippage and is eco-friendly. :: jadeyoga.com
Under the Tree :: Your devoted yogini can go straight from yoga class to dinner and a movie in Corona del Mar-based Delano Wear’s Kara sweater ($130). Made from the softest cashmere, the long ballet-wrap sweater is comfortable, classic and ideal for chilly winter days and evenings. Comes in black only.
Tree Topper :: Join YogaWorks instructor Peggy Orr for yoga and an expertly crafted tour through northern India’s most treasured sights January 25-30 (starting at $2,195). Organized through International Yoga, rituals, ceremonies and the culture and lifestyle of both old and new India will be explored in bustling Delhi, followed by a train to the Taj Mahal and a visit to Varanasi, one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. Witness all of life’s rituals on full display along the banks of the holy Ganges River and enjoy an experienced guide throughout the journey, along with local insiders in each city.
For the Art Lovers
Stocking Stuffer :: Patrons of the arts, collectors and other aficionados of creativity are often enthusiastic museum-goers. So why not look for a special stocking-stuffer in a museum gift store? For those who like to stay local, Laguna Art Museum recently redid its store with a focus on local artists, like Laguna’s Casey Parlette ($60-$65). The artist takes what he’s learned about metal from his full-size sculptures and applies it to his shell jewelry, coaxing the colors of nature out of titanium in pieces that look as if they came from the sea. :: lam.org
Under the Tree :: For an art lover who likes to cross boundaries (and state lines), consider the $75 catalogue from OC favorite Chris Burden’s current retrospective, Chris Burden: Extreme Measures, that’s on display at The New Museum in NYC (adult admission, $16) through January 12. Better yet, fly them out to see the show (roundtrip flights on Virgin America for the second week in January 2014, approximately $325; prices are subject to change). Chris Burden: Extreme Measures Catalogue is available at Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills.
gagosian.com :: newmuseum.org :: virginamerica.com
Tree Topper :: A couple of billion dollars were bid during a big-bucks run at fine art auctions by Christie’s and Sotheby's. Old masters, one would imagine? One would be wrong, as many of the record-breaking bids were on paintings from the past few decades (a Francis Bacon went for $142 million and a Warhol for $105 million). One should never buy art only because it might appreciate mightily, but a generous gift like the stunning monochromatic painting Aether by Jason Martin ($140,000) at Peter Blake Gallery is the price to be paid for the knowledge that your gift will be something truly unique. The huge (six by five feet), visceral work is part of Blake’s The Nature of Abstraction show on display through early January and includes works by leading Southern California artists like Peter Alexander and Rita Albuquerque.
For the Eternal Youth Seeker
Stocking Stuffer :: Give the gift of relaxation with a gift certificate for one float at Laguna Beach’s Float Lounge (60 minutes, $60). Gigantic water tanks infused with Epsom salts allow the floater to be effortlessly suspended in a quiet, tranquil atmosphere that encourages everything from relaxation to healing and self-awareness. Floating in this atmosphere also enhances skin tone and promotes muscle relaxation, especially in the face, which can lead to a younger-looking visage. :: feelingfunctional.com
Under the Tree :: Obagi Skin Health Institute is known for its revolutionary skincare and cutting-edge products and treatments, and now that the institute has a location in Laguna Beach, locals don’t have to go far to get a wide range of clinical services. The Obagi HydraFacial (60 minutes, $200) uses crystal-free microdermabrasion and HydraPeel tips to remove damaged skin and infuse a customized blend of nutrient-rich serums. LED photomodulation stimulates collagen production and promotes healing. :: obagiskin.com
Tree Topper :: The ultimate in OC pampering is to be had at The Spa at The Resort at Pelican Hill, where the Pelican Hill Diamond Indulgence Spa Package ($570 Monday through Thursday, $680 Friday through Sunday) takes care of your loved one from head to toe. Treatments include the 80-minute Diamond Magnetic Ritual, 80-minute Diamond Experience Facial and 80-minute Diamond Manicure and Pedicure, which are all formulated with the spa’s diamond dust mud exfoliation. :: pelicanhill.com