The start of November signifies the unofficial beginning of holiday gift-buying season—and the very official start of “I have no idea what to get for everyone” season. Just in time for all those “thank-you” presents, “just-because” gifts, “I appreciate you” baubles, and “I couldn’t have done it without you” bestowals, we present our second Made in California feature—with a holiday twist.
Buying local remains an increasingly popular idea, and over the holidays, it may be even more difficult to find Golden State goods. According to an L.A. Times article, “Industry experts say that 85% of the toys sold in America are made in China and more than 95% of the clothes are produced overseas. Most consumer electronics, too, are assembled beyond U.S. borders.”
So how do you make your holiday gifting a local affair this year? Finding products worthy of your loved ones (and your sense of style, because let’s face it–you can’t give it to someone else if you don’t love it yourself, right?) made right here between Arizona and the Ocean, Nevada and Mexico, Oregon and, well, the ocean again, can be tricky. But it is possible. You just need to know where to look.
So look right here. Use our handy guide and you’ll be on your way to a glorious Golden State gift exchange this year.
Gifts for the Foodie
If you find yourself in San Francisco, head down to the Ferry Building and fold into foodie heaven at Village Market. The second location of this local staple (Village Market original recipe is in Inner Richmond), Village Market is known for fresh local ingredients, organic produce, and a huge selection of imported gourmet items. So you’ll find specialty foods unique to the Bay Area and the state, like Poco Dolce, Bittersweet Tiles with Grey Sea Salt from San Francisco.
And you’ll also find hand-selected imported products like Casina Rossa Truffle Salt from Abruzzo, Italy.
For the person who’s been really, really good this year, there’s the Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil Auberge Torte au Chocolat. Fifty-seven dollars and 11 layers of dark chocolate ganache, hazelnut dacquoise, chocolate crémeux, and pureed organic hazelnuts. The specialty desert of the Napa Valley’s prestigious Michelin-starred restaurant, the Torte au Chocolat is available to ship anywhere in the U.S. you want to make someone weep with joy.
Gifts to Set a Mood
There is perhaps no better way to instantly change the ambiance of a room than to introduce candlelight together with a fragrant scent. This is no surprise to the luxury candle business, where sales “are on fire,” said the Wall Street Journal. “Swaddled inside gilded boxes that open up to release wafts of heady perfume, high-end candles make a popular holiday gift—especially for oneself.”
If you’re looking for a luxury candle made in California and inspired by the sights, sounds, and smells of the state this holiday season, Aquiesse has an answer. Actually, two; the Moorpark, CA, offers two distinct scents for winter holiday: winter currant and ivory rose oud.
If that holiday “mood” you’re looking to set is really more “moody,” take a look at Noir Furniture. Manufactured in Gardena, Noir Furniture features everything from bedroom and living room furniture to lighting, accessories, and more. But perhaps the best part of a gift from Noir for a friend or special someone is the knowledge that their new occasional chair or chandelier was featured in the cable hit True Blood. Fans of the show’s modern vampire chic style are rampant on design sites, (L.A. Times blog, CasaSugar). Checking out Noir, it’s easy to see why.
For the Design Obsessed
California-based designer and star of Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorators Jeffrey Alan Marks showcases two decades of California design in his first coffee table book, The Meaning of Home, and it’s filled with pages of swoon-worthy interior spaces (and ideas you may want to steal before you gift the book). Not all the interiors in the book showcase a California design, but all reflect Marks’ penchant for creating the perfect California-style luxe-casj space, so we’ll give him a pass.
For the Person who Feeds and Houses Your Clan over the Holidays
At the end of the holidays, whomever hosted the get-togethers will need a big stiff drink…of coffee. Leave her with the ultimate in California Joe. Groundwork Coffee Company, based out of L.A., was the first certified organic coffee roaster in southern California (and it’s all kosher!). Groundwork has seven cafes around Los Angeles, but if you can’t get to one, you can get their organic Signature Holiday Blend online.
If your hostess is more impressed by innovative products and Euro DYI drinks, try this hybrid Duet Tea Infuser + French Press Coffee System, with interchangeable pieces that allows two drinks from one cool gadget. Created by The San Francisco-based international design collective Miam-Miam (“yum yum” in French), it’s available at A + R Store.
For the Wine Lover
Perhaps your hosts would enjoy something a little stronger than coffee. You can never go wrong with a bottle of wine as a gift. And when it comes to the California-made variety, the choices are many.
Food and Wine has compiled a list of their top 75 California wines, with a hearty list of Under-$20s, classics, and insider’s favorites. You can take it a step further and treat your guest to dinner at the Santa Monica restaurant they say has “the best Cabernet list in California”—Italian restaurant Valentino.”
Or, take a cue from Frommers and plan a trip to one of the “10 Best California Wineries with a View,” like HALL Wines in the Napa Valley. After all, nothing says holidays in California like a getaway that celebrates the beauty, and bounty, of the state.
For the Golden State Enthusiast
This holiday season, give someone the key to your heart. Or at least a place to put that key. “California Key Holder” by artist Scot Hampton is a key holder with a twist, and just one of the CA-shaped finds featured in California Home + Design. Hampton’s key holder also has an eco edge, fashioned from reclaimed wood (it is from California, after all) and uses vintage camera parts to mark key coastal cities.
Snuggle up in this cozy blanket, in which Pendleton Woolen Mills meets California chic meets…skateboard culture?Curated by Arkitip, featured as One of California Home + Design’s 15 Hostess Gifts for the Design Obsessed, and designed by Michael Leon, whose works reflect his unique upbringing in California, the blanket is equal parts cozy and cool. Leon, a noted skateboarder, designer and artist, created the limited edition blanket of 125 as a reflection of his love of the state.
Which California-made gifts do you have your eye on?