Holiday gift guide: Bringing California to you

I have been meaning to write a gift guide for a few months now but couldn’t nail down what I wanted it to focus on. I wanted it to be relevant and accessible to people who read this blog.

I had several ideas that I didn’t get to this year, but might some other time. Gifts for moms? Small children’s shops? Shops in my town of Claremont, CA? Well, I am finishing up an Instagram guide to some of my current favorite shops in Claremont and I’ll give some a shoutout here too.

I was inspired to put together this quick guide to places you can shop online after coming across this holiday gift guide to shops in Paris on David Lebovitz’s blog.

This blog post is all about Southern California shops, but specifically places that ship outside California. It’s not just Claremont, as Claremont is fairly small and not all shops have the capacity to ship, but a few in nearby cities and some others further across the state as well. Most on this list to ship nationwide or further.

Put on your favorite California music. (Beach Boys, any one? Or how about No Doubt?) Open your laptop and get to shopping!

(Note: This information was correct at the time of posting but is subject to change.)

La Monarca Bakery

Food & Drink

Cookie Good: These wonderful cookies in creative flavors ship from Santa Monica, CA (my former home) to anywhere in the continental United States.

La Monarca Bakery & Cafe: This is a Southern California chain of Mexican bakery and cafe shops. On their online store, you can find Mexican coffee and cookies as well as store merch.

Casa De Fruta: Offers gifts baskets, nuts, sweets, wine and other gourmet items. Located in Hollister, CA.

Santa Maria seasoning: This has become my go-to seasoning for beef, chicken and fish. It’s pretty versatile, but the best on roast beef and made famous by folks in Santa Maria, CA.

Sweet Rose Creamery: I hope this small-batch ice cream shop lasts for many, many more years to come. I used to work here and it is wonderful. They used to ship their ice cream, but it looks like they don’t any more. Still, there are gift cards and it’s in Los Angeles so surely someone you know will visit sometime.

Saarloos and Sons: Of course, there are many wineries in California that I could mention but I haven’t been to many personally. This one holds a special place in my heart as I went to the tasting room in Los Olivos on my honeymoon and met the farmer. It’s not in my budget this year, but maybe you can swing it?

I’m not sure on the specifics of the laws or logistics but from what I see, beer can only be shipped within California. Some breweries choose to only do store pickup. Merch can be shipped across state lines though. Some breweries with great online shops: Beachwood Brewing, El Segundo Brewing Company, and Firestone Walker Brewing Company.

Home Decor & Clothing

Heirloom: In store, you can find lots of interesting items made by people both locally and around the world. The website has Claremont souvenir gifts, such as mugs, T-shirts, and luggage tags.

Nectar: This women’s clothing boutique has expanded over recent years and now has 7 brick and mortar locations, including one in Claremont, CA. It’s a give back brand too! Nectar ships to Canada and Europe, as well as domestically.

my boy


Rhino Records and Video Paradiso: These two stores, a record store and video store as the names imply, are located next to each other in the Claremont Village. I have fond memories of going here with my dad, and have since visited many times with my husband.

Amoeba: It’s a Los Angeles institution! The new record and movie store isn’t open yet, but you can order online for delivery.

Vroman’s Bookstore: This bookstore is Southern California’s oldest and largest independent bookstore. Despite it’s size, it still feels cozy and welcoming.

Bookshop Santa Cruz: Such a cute book store in Northern California. I included it in my Santa Cruz guide a few years ago. They have great online holiday offerings, including a “holiday in a box” for Christmas or Hannukah.

I’m sure I missed some of your favorites. These are mine. Feel free to comment here, on Facebook, or Instagram to share more California shops that ship either nationwide or internationally.

I feel I must say that it’s important to shop small so that the places we care about so dearly don’t disappear. But a the same time, many families are struggling right now. People are on tighter budgets, including my own. I have personally bought from some of these stores in the past few months, or recommended them to others for gifts, but I can’t only shop small and I don’t expect you to either.

One last thing! Support the local artisans and makers in your own life if you can. For example, my sister-in-law makes and sells items for family, such as face masks and wreaths. She doesn’t currently have a public shop, otherwise I would recommend her. You probably know someone who sells goods or services too, but just need to think about it a minute.

I would love to hear what you have to say. Leave me a comment and I'll try to write back soon.

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