After another challenging year, we can all use a little extra comfort and joy. That’s why we’ve rounded up this list of fun and creative ways to show your loved ones how much you care while showing some love to our local businesses. From artisan goods to delicious dining to helpful services and much more, you’re sure to find something to suit everyone on your list, without even leaving the neighborhood.
For many in our community, Pergolina is the place where “you can do all your shopping,” owner Paulanna Cuccinello says. For more than 30 years, the boutique has delighted residents and shoppers alike with its unique array of curated European-inspired artisan goods and gifts. Among her best sellers this year are marble charcuterie boards with heartwarming brass words like “share” and “love” that are perfect for holiday entertaining or to put on display. The shop also offers over 200 ornaments each season “that our clients collect and hound us for until we hand them over,” Cuccinello says. Pergolina’s renowned gift-wrapping services — featuring tasteful handmade papers and an assortment of ribbons and tags — are offered on all purchases in store or online at no charge.
B Matte CollectionTop
Matte Collection has everything you need to look and feel glamorous poolside or beachside, with ultra-flattering swimwear and apparel in on-trend styles for all shapes and sizes. From colorful one-pieces to chic bikinis and intricately designed monokinis, there are plenty of pieces for the #MatteBabes on your list. Too chilly to relax by the water? Matte Collection has got you covered with its Basix line, a cozy selection of high-waisted sweats and cropped pullovers perfect for lounging around the house or a casual but put-together look.
C Swordplay LATop
Whether you’ve been fencing for years or are a newcomer to the sport, Swordplay LA is offering a can’t-miss holiday special that gives those who buy a 10-pack of classes before the new year a free class in return. The special is available from November 1 to December 18; the classes must be used in 2022 and the free class must be used by the end of March 2022. “Regardless of what level you’re at, the coaches of Swordplay LA will help you stay fit and become the best fencer you can be,” co-owner Ryan Cook says. “Whether you train for competitions or simply fence for fun, you’ll be able to do it at a reasonable rate. If you’ve never fenced before, you can take a free trial lesson to learn the basics before jumping into our classes.”
D Generales & GeneralesTop
Whether you’re looking for a heartfelt stocking stuffer or a statement piece for yourself, Generales & Generales is your one-stop shop for customizable keepsakes and future heirlooms this holiday season. “The best holiday gift is one you can truly make your own!” co-owner Sylvia Generales says. “Build a one-of-a-kind pendant, bracelet or pair of earrings with our interchangeable gemstones and personalized name charms. Mix and match chains and charms with our new charm clasps to create versatile, layered looks. You can also add sentiment with your loved one’s birthstone or a special charm to mark a milestone.” With a curated selection of antique treasures and beautiful in-house designs, Generales & Generales is sure to make your holidays merry and bright.
E Restrained WhimsyTop
Restrained Whimsy is a gift-giver’s dream, with no shortage of unique local artisan goods for people of all ages. Cozy, comforting items will be all the rage again this season, as many people continue to spend time at home. Consider assembling a self-care gift basket with a crisp-scented frosted pine candle, fizzy bath bombs, a local artist-designed puzzle and an inspirational journal with a hand-lathed wood and enamel pen. And for that hard-to-shop-for person on your list, Chief Creative Officer Scott Marshall-Miller recommends “Balancing Act” by Carlos + Albert, a whimsical limited-edition, mixed-media sculpture. No matter what you’re looking for, the Studio City gift gallery “embraces all the fun, cool and laughter while understanding your gift needs to be unique and individualized for the person you have in mind,” Marshall-Miller says.
F Aldik HomeTop
Nothing makes a home merrier than a beautiful holiday tree, and “there is no finer selection of artificial Christmas trees anywhere in the country than at Aldik Home,” Bryan Gold says. He would know — for 70 years, his family’s store in Van Nuys has been the go-to destination for all things Christmas. “Nowhere else in the country will you find such high-quality Christmas products in such abundance, and that’s especially true for the trees,” Gold says. “Whether it’s our line of Neuman Trees or our cutting-edge Brilliant LED Trees, these artificial Christmas trees are magnitudes better than what you’ll find online.” Don’t just take his word for it; experience it for yourself in person at L.A.’s favorite Christmas store.
G Awwdorable PetsTop
Services such as dog walking and pet sitting will be in high demand as more people resume traveling for business or leisure after more than a year of pandemic life. But leaving your pet behind to hit the road may be hard. That’s where Awwdorable Pets comes in. Owner Julia Moreno Perri provides compassionate and loving pet care services for pet parents in and around Toluca Lake, and this holiday season she’s offering a Weekend Getaway Pet Sitting Service gift certificate for people who want to take a mini-vacation. Perri says this unique gift will give pet owners the peace of mind that “their pets will be cared for in the comfort of their own home to help ease the separation anxiety that their fur family may experience.”
H Milt & Edie’sTop
Milt & Edie’s has been the go-to for our neighborhood’s dry cleaning and tailoring needs for over 70 years. The local business has impeccable customer service, with a four-hour turnaround for dry cleaning, laundry and tailoring, and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. And it offers the perfect gift for the people on your list who have everything. “If you are not sure what to get for someone this holiday season, give a timesaving gift of service,” President Michael Shader says. “Your friends, family and co-workers will appreciate many of the special services offered at Milt & Edie’s. Who wouldn’t like to have all of their laundry done for them?” Gift cards can be used for dry cleaning, fluff-and-fold laundry services, tailoring and alterations.
I International School of Los AngelesTop
With research showing that bilingual children have enhanced focus, creativity and mental flexibility, the International School of Los Angeles (LILA) is proud to offer “the gift of bilingualism this holiday season,” Marketing Manager Leonora Lawrence says. “LILA offers a Mini Club program that teaches French to parents and children aged 6 months to 3 years in a warm, loving and supportive environment.” The program, which takes place online every Tuesday and Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., provides children with an introduction to bilingual education in a fun, immersive way. Parents are also welcome to participate in the class and learn alongside their children. “The Mini Club provides a first approach to a new language and culture for parents and children alike, and fosters an appreciation for diversity and multicultural immersion,” Lawrence says.
J The Store at The Garland HotelTop
For gifts with plenty of California cool, look no further than The Store at The Garland Hotel. The Store features specialty items hand-selected by Carrington Goodman, daughter of Hollywood actor and hotel owner Beverly Garland, with an emphasis on items from and inspired by the Golden State — such as candles with Garland-exclusive scents, handcrafted quilts, custom skateboards and handmade jewelry. The Garland offers gift cards that can be used at its store, hotel and restaurant. “Your loved one can pick out a gift of their own from our curated selection of locally made and California-inspired items at The Store, enjoy a meal with friends at The Front Yard or relax with a Valley vacation at The Garland,” says Mitchell Johnston, The Garland’s associate director of marketing.
K The Perfect ParrotTop
Are you a parrot lover who can’t get enough of the holidays? Then stop by The Perfect Parrot, which offers “specially made bird holiday ornaments, which are made by hand and come in 50 different varieties,” owner Kim Everett says. “We’ve been selling these since our store first opened 15 years ago, and they are always so popular, as are our wide selection of bird toys. We can do special custom orders on the ornaments as well.” If you’re looking to go on a much-needed vacation over the holidays, The Perfect Parrot is also happy to offer boarding services. “Boarding is a big thing during the holidays, so please make sure they’ve had disease testing done and contact us as soon as possible so we can look after your parrot.”
L The Strength CodeTop
Throughout the pandemic, many people have put their health front and center. The Strength Code wants to help residents continue on this path throughout the holiday season and beyond by offering the gift of fitness. “We have all become extremely aware of how important it is to take care of our health and fitness over the past year and a half, and there’s nowhere safer than The Strength Code to work out!” owner Sheila Melody says. By purchasing a gift card of any amount or buying the introductory offer for just $50, you or your loved one will be treated to “a boutique, private studio where clients experience a unique, slow-motion, high-intensity strength training method that only requires 30-minute workouts once or twice a week,” Melody says. “Our introductory offer includes a consultation with a certified strength specialist, medical body composition analysis and two one-on-one sessions.”
Gifts That Help Others
As we make our shopping lists this year, it’s important to remember those who are homeless, hungry, alone and vulnerable. Whether you donate on your own behalf or in another’s name — a great gift choice for those who have no space or desire for any more stuff — consider supporting a charity close to your heart. There are a wealth of worthy causes in the world, but here are a few local nonprofit options.
Supports the fight against cancer through the sale of high-quality, gently used, donated merchandise.
Helps the poor, working poor and homeless meet short-term needs for food and basic services to live with dignity and become as self-sufficient as possible.
Fights hunger and prevents food waste by rescuing fresh surplus produce and donating it to hunger relief agencies across Southern California.
Helps people transition out of homelessness and poverty through a continuum of housing enriched with supportive services.
Mobilizes community resources to alleviate hunger in L.A. County.
Offers shelter, life necessities and a bridge to self-sufficiency for people experiencing homelessness.
Keeps music alive in our schools by providing vital support services and new instruments to underfunded programs nationwide.
A coalition of diverse religious institutions and individuals working together to address food insecurity in the community.
A nonprofit, no-kill organization dedicated to eliminating animal suffering, shelter intervention and euthanasia through hands-on rescue.
Don’t Forget the Gift Cards!
In addition to patronizing retail stores this season, shop outside the box by purchasing gift cards for favorite restaurants, health and beauty services, fitness classes and other activities. They don’t take up space, are easy to ship, offer enough flexibility to please even the toughest customers on your list, and are a great way to support different kinds of local businesses while giving loved ones the chance to enjoy a memorable experience — something that’s more precious than ever this year.