Forget fighting the sea of shoppers on Black Friday or buying into the anti-social bah-humbugginess of Cyber Monday. In Laguna Beach it’s all about shopping local. Instead of getting lost in a mall or online, you can celebrate the chance to stroll through town to pick out your gifts. Perhaps you’ll decide to tuck inside a cozy bakery for a bite before continuing to the Sawdust Art Festival Winter Fantasy where carolers, cocoa, and an endless array of gifts abound.
In the end, you’ll get the gifts but you’ll also get a day worth savoring—one that adds to the joy of the holidays rather than detracting from it.
In the Heart of Town
Tuvalu Home Environment: Christmas meets beach-cottage-chic in these antique-looking metal holiday signs. They’re simple, playful and conjure a slice of classic Laguna Beach culture. $65-$95. www.TuvaluHome.com
Thalia Street Surf Shop: You might never see the tees you find inside Thalia Street Surf Shop anywhere else. The brand has connected with local artists to create a constantly evolving line of shirts that are only sold at the store. This collaboration with the Laguna College of Art + Design has quickly become a bestseller. $30 www.ThaliaSurf.com
Hobie Surf Shop: Laguna Beach is where skim boards evolved from a way for lifeguards to cruise their beat, to an acrobatic, wave-attacking sport. What better gift for the ocean-lover in your life than a board made by the company that started it all sold at one of the planet’s most storied surf shops? $65 www.hobiesurfshop.com, www.ocean.VictoriaSkimBoards.com
Mystic Arts: The historic Mystic Arts—once the hub of Laguna’s hippy culture—is back and features hand crafted gifts made by local artisans. These pieces of jewelry by Vince Cabanilla conjure an island vibe and reveal the artist’s incredible attention to detail. $60-$200 www.MysticArtsLaguna.com
Laguna Buy Hand: This PCH storefront (next door to Mystic Arts) sells only jewelry, toys, and gifts handmade in the United States. Treasures like this drop turquoise necklace feel like special discoveries for both the giver and the receiver. $60 www.LagunaBuyHand.com
Stephen Frank Garden & Home: This ceramic ware created by Rae Dunn for Magenta is a great example of the simple, rustic aesthetic highlighted through the store. Ceramic Bread Board $55, other items similarly priced. www.StephenFrank.com
Pearl Street General: People are raving (rightfully so) about the locally blended salts made by Laguna Salt and sold at Pearl Street General. These salts are the perfect slow-food product for the food aficionado on your list. $40 www.LagunaSalt.com, www.PearlStGeneral.com
At Sawdust Winter Fantasy
Michael Phillips Art, Booth 311: Michael Phillips paints playful, pop-culture infused pieces in bold, bright colors. While the artist’s illustrative style carries a youthful vibe, each piece is tucked full of hidden references and sly winks at the viewer. Puzzles and prints from $20. www.MichaelPhillipsArt.com
Antares Artworks, Booth 403: Craftswoman Lylah Jarvis was raised on a Navajo Reservation, then in New Zealand—and her style reflects her wide-ranging influences. Her handmade capes and clothes are perfect for the bold adventure of childhood. www.AntaresArtworks.com
Backward Prints, Booth 120: Brynne Cogorno has a passion for the craft of printmaking and silk-screening that shows in every piece she creates. Her cards are tree free (made from organic cotton and plant fibers) and reveal a happy, world-loving sensibility. www.BackwardPrints.com
Hermann Lunn Glass, Booth 402: These tumblers by Michael Hermann and Gina Lunn swirl with color and make an ideal gift for friends who like to entertain. Each glass is a unique piece of art, sure to start conversations at any dinner party. www.HermannLunnGlass.com
Pageant of the Masters: Tickets for the much-anticipated 2015 Pageant of the Masters are on sale now and make the perfect holiday gift for the art lover on your list. This year’s theme, "The Pursuit of Happiness" will explore the many sources of happiness, both ancient and modern, through the theatrical performance of “living pictures.” The 2015 Pageant of the Masters will be a sentimental journey through depictions of pastimes and activities that gave people joy long before the instant gratification of the computer age. The Pageant of the Masters, recently featured in The New York Times Magazine, is one of the most unique productions in the entire world. Audiences are amazed and enchanted by ninety minutes of tableaux vivants ("living pictures"), incredibly faithful re-creations of classical and contemporary works of art, with real people posing to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces. ?
The Pageant of the Masters will be performed nightly from July 8 through August 31, 2015. A Pageant ticket also entitles one to free unlimited admission to the Festival of Arts grounds all summer long. Advance tickets: $15 - $230.www.PageantTickets.com
Spa: The gift of relaxation is a surefire choice that anyone can appreciate. Spas in Laguna Beach are even more enjoyable thanks to the idyllic setting. As the holidays wind down and the new year kicks off, there’s nothing more soothing than a signature massage—away from crowds, tucked into a cocoon of peace and comfort. Packages from $60. www.SurfandSandResort.com/aquaterra-spa-2, www.MontageHotels.com/spamontage/lagunabeach, www.AthenaDaySpa.net
Stand Up Paddle: Laguna Beach has quickly become a hub of Stand Up Paddle-culture and visitors from across the globe arrive eager to try the sport for themselves. Give someone you love the gift of a brand new experience—paddling across the glassy-calm Pacific on the lookout for garibaldi darting below and dolphins feeding in the kelp beds. Lessons starting at $50. www.LaVidaLaguna.com, www.SUPCompany.com, www.Sup-to-You.com
Surfboard: Owning a handcrafted surfboard—seeing it made before your very eyes to the specifications of your size and ability—is a highlight for any surfer. Laguna Beach plays a big part in the sport’s history and the opportunity to buy a handcrafted board, made in town, is one not to be missed. Local surf artists can add original designs beneath the glassing for a board that will shred waves and turn heads. Roughly $400-$600. www.RWorldSurfing.com, www.CASurfShop.com
---Cover Image, Web Designer Pot