It’s hard to believe that the holidays are almost here and that we’re about to enter into a new decade in a little over a month. Maybe it’s just me, but 2020 sounds so futuristic, and it’s a little hard to comprehend that it’s right around the corner. That being said I’m trying to stay present and savor the last holiday season of the decade here in Southern California. In the spirit of the holidays and in honor of my home state, I put together a California themed gift guide that includes everything from candles that will make your house smell like the redwoods to a retro t-shirt that shows off your love for the Golden State.
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When I lived across the country in Boston, this candle was a good reminder of home. It does an excellent job at capturing that clean pine smell you get the moment you step off the plane in SFO. There are also hints of cloves, apple, pear, vanilla, musk, amber, and cinnamon. If you’re more inclined, there’s a Southern California version, as well as individual California cities.
I’ve always had a bit of an obsession with Lonely Planet and love reading the guidebooks before major trips. This book is no exception with road trips around California from Death Valley to the Pacific Coast Highway. This book covers all budgets and itineraries for any trip length, as well as maps for visualizing your trip off screen.
I’ve been a fan of this Los Angeles-based chocolate company ever since I discovered they had flavors like Matcha Green Tea White Chocolate Bar and Campfire S’more Dark Chocolate Bar. There are California themed chocolate bars like the crowd favorite California Love Pretzel Dark Chocolate Bar and Old Hollywood Smoked Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Bar. The artwork on the bars make them easily gift-worthy, and you can buy gift sets as well.
Sunset Magazine – 1 Year Subscription
Based in Oakland, California, this magazine is an excellent guide for traveling through California and beyond throughout the West, as well as getting inspiration from Western U.S. gardening/landscaping, architecture and cooking. I always look forward to their main features, city highlights, and guides to inspire my next local trip. Fun fact: the first issue was published in 1898!
California Cutting Board
I often give this as a house-warming gift to friends who move outside of California, so that they can have a little piece of home in their kitchen. It works well as a wall decoration or leaning up against a counter, as well as a fun-shaped charcuterie board for when friends and family come over. The board itself is made out of bamboo, which is quite durable and also eco-friendly.
Tartine Bread Artisan Bread Cookbook
Growing up with Tartine in San Francisco, 5 pm was always the magic hour when the freshly baked bread would emerge from the ovens and be sold out in an hour. I’ve always loved this in-depth guide on how to make artisan loaves with similar to the ones in the bakery. A bonus is that it makes a great coffee table book with its mouth-watering photos when not in use.
California Dreamin’ T-Shirt
This retro-inspired t-Shirt is a colorful tribute to the famous Mamas and Papas song that was part of the counterculture movement in California in the late 1960s. The maize gold color is my favorite, but there are other color options like mint and sky blue that you can chose from (or buy one of each).
I’ve always been a huge fan of Roy Choi, ever since he opened up his fleet of Kogi BBQ food trucks serving Korean taco mash-ups. Part memoir, part cookbook, this book is a great way to learn more about the diverse LA food scene and parts of the city that most tourists never see and that influenced Choi as a cook. There are over 85 recipes that range from homemade kimche stew to Kimchi and Pork Belly Stuffed Pupusas, that draws from a blend of cultural influences.
I have been a big fan of vintage travel posters (they are literally on every wall of my apartment) and this Yosemite poster is one of my favorites. There are also different posters from California like Joshua Tree, and non-California based National Parks like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. You can also get this print on other surfaces like mugs, puzzles, and coasters that make great gifts for National Park enthusiasts.
Surfboards of California Poster
I love this minimalist poster that represents California’s surf culture up and down the coast. This print is handmade by an Etsy artist and has come back in its third edition as a limited edition print in Marine Gray.