Illustration by Patrick Hruby / Los Angeles Times; animation by Li Anne Liew / For The Times
This is part of the L.A. Times 2022 Gift Guide. See the full guide here. If you make a purchase using some of our links, the L.A. Times may be compensated.
There’s an old etiquette tip that when invited to someone’s home for a dinner party, you should “ring the doorbell with your elbows.” The following host gifts may not take two hands to hold, but that doesn’t make them any less special. Here, we have chosen gifts from Los Angeles stores in the hopes that you can easily grab something en route to your holiday party.
Suay Sew Shop remade flannel potholder
Suay Sew Shop’s oversize (9-by-9 inch) one-of-a-kind potholder is made with three different recycled flannel fabrics and quilted with contrasting thread. The potholders are sewn in the Frogtown shop and are machine washable. The collection of remade flannel housewares also includes coasters ($28) and an oven mitt ( $42).
$26 at Suay Sew Shop
All Roads Studio Tea Towel
This handwoven cotton kitchen towel from Joshua Tree-based All Roads Studio is great for drying your hands or adding a pop of color to your kitchen during the holidays. The hefty cotton towels are machine washable and get softer the more you wash them. We like that you can use them as a potholder if necessary. Heath Ceramics on Beverly Boulevard carries a wide variety of All Roads Studio’s distinctive tableware, including napkins, table runners and tablecloths.
P.F. Candle Spruce Candle
Kristen Pumphrey and Thomas Neuberger started P.F. Candle Co. as an Etsy shop, but you can now find their candles in a wide variety of independent gift shops throughout Los Angeles, especially during the holidays, when the company offers its spruce scent. If you’d rather not bring something with a specific Christmas aroma, we recommend year-round grapefruit or amber and moss. And if you want to come up with something truly unique, you can add succulents to one of their recycled candle jars and offer it as a host gift.
$24 at P.F. Candle Co.
Rickett Brewing Co.’s Jolie Fleur Pink
If your hosts are more interested in THC-infused beverages than wine or beer, bring them a bottle of Rickett Brewing Co.’s Jolie Fleur Pink. At a recent taste testing, the SoCal-based brewing company’s Champagne-like beverage was praised for its “lovely color,” “appropriately bubbly” carbonation and its “smooth and pleasant” and “wine-adjacent” taste that evoked everything from rosé to sour ale. One taste tester even commented, “This would make a great hostess gift.”
$14 to $22 at multiple L.A. dispensaries
If you’re looking for a creative holiday gift that you can buy right now, head to any of the independent Los Angeles shops in this guide.
The adorable Pilea peperomioides is known as “the friendship plant” because it produces so many baby plants, or pups, at its base that you can pull out, propagate and gift to friends. Simply cut one of the pups and place it in water. Place it — or another of your favorites — in a tiny bud vase from Heath ($32) or a recycled jam jar and offer it like a flower. After a week or two, when the cutting sprouts roots, it can be planted in a small pot. Note: Your host will probably say, “I kill plants.” Don’t worry. This theory has been disproved many times after similar gifting scenarios. For a visual, watch this YouTube video from the Crazy Plant Guy.
A plant suited to your host’s zodiac sign
We did some research and came up with the best houseplant for every zodiac sign. If your host is a Virgo, for example, an intricate bonsai money tree, or Pachira aquatica, which requires pruning and trimming, will satisfy their perfectionist inclinations. Or perhaps a California native plant is a better option? Do nonnative species from the Mediterranean and South Africa make your host apoplectic? Buy them a California native plant based on their star sign. Consult our handy guides for suggestions on which plants to give and where to buy them.
Greentree rope taper candles
Taper candles are always nice to have on hand to add romantic ambience (or illuminate during a blackout) and can be found in grocery stores and independent boutiques. Greentree hand-poured beeswax candles, which we spotted in a variety of local gift shops, come in several lovely shades and shapes, making them stand out from the grocery store variety.
Atelier Saucier Jungle Book cocktail napkins
Atelier Saucier’s fall collection is “all about extravagance and enchantment.” If your host is a maximalist who appreciates the concept of “more,” these 4- by 5-inch cocktail napkins on reclaimed fabric will suit their style perfectly.
$36 at Atelier Saucier
Nickey Kehoe winged hand broom
This Shaker-style flat broom is made by hand by Brooklynite Erin Rouse of Custodian Studio on an 1890s broom machine. Hand brooms work well for dusting cobwebs, but as conceived by Rose, they are a beautiful stand-alone artwork that will make a statement in your host’s kitchen. You can choose your bristles and cords preferences if ordering online through Custodian Studio.
Coffee from a local roaster
Canyon Coffee’s organic coffee, roasted in Los Angeles, can be found in most independent gift shops around town, as well as grocery stores like Gelson’s and Whole Foods. The local seller uses beans from Mexico, Ethiopia and Colombia, but owners Ally Walsh and Casey Wojtalewicz say their Beachwood beans, which are from Mexico and roasted in Los Angeles, are their most popular with L.A. coffee fans.
Twenty-Four Blackbirds artisan chocolates
You don’t have to drive to Santa Barbara to enjoy Twenty-Four Blackbirds artisanal chocolates. Potted in Atwater will be stocking the Flight of Truffles, caramels and Mexican drinking chocolate for the holidays. “I like to give and get useful and beautiful gifts,” says Potted’s Mary Gray. “Planters and food — what else is there?”
K. Studio lavender plant sachet
A bundle of sachets filled with lavender and embroidered with plant details will make your favorite plant parent smile.
Brightland vinegars, which we spotted all over Los Angeles, are made on a family-run farm in California’s Central Coast. Made with chardonnay and zinfandel grapes, navel and Valencia oranges, and ripe Triple Crown blackberries, the vinegars taste great. More important, they come in great-looking bottles with cool graphics.
Pineapple Collaborative’s the Olive Oil
Your hosts will never lose the olive oil when you gift them this delicious California-made organic variety that comes in colored tins — white, pink or yellow. For someone who appreciates substance over style, we should note that the tasting notes are described as “green tea, grass and ripe apple with a slightly peppery finish.”
CarbonShack’s 6-by-6-inch Polycittaria Star ceramic tile, which takes its inspiration from the detailed etchings of 19th-century naturalist and scientist Ernst Haeckel, are too big for coasters but would make a great hot plate for your favorite host. CarbonShack tiles are hand-glazed on clay sourced from the Sacramento region and are designed, hand-decorated and fired in all-electric kilns in Los Angeles. The Polycittaria Star ceramic tile design is available in two colorways, Sky and Yellow. Dimensions: 6 by 6 by 7/16 inches
$38 per tile at CarbonShack
Front Range Planes Planter
Eric Flanagan designs his modern handmade ceramic planter/saucer combo in unglazed blush and terra cotta earthenware clays and satin white glazed options as a way to complement the plants. Pair one with a plant from Greenwood Shop or Folia Collective, which both carry his line and offer potting services free of charge.
Ace of Cups crystals and wine pairing kit
Sommelier Fahara Zamorano and Madison Young, owner of Mid-City’s Open Eye Crystals shop, have teamed up to to create a wine-and-crystals pairing for every seasonal shift. The Winter Solstice Ritual Kit from Ace of Cups features two biodynamic wines paired with crystals and intentional rituals to help you navigate the solstice. The box comes with guidance cards and, in a nice touch, there’s even a QR code that links to a moody Spotify playlist.
$150 at Ace of Cups
More gift guides
It's a date
Get our L.A. Goes Out newsletter, with the week's best events, to help you explore and experience our city.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.