Lots of cool area stores are ready to help make fond memories for you and your family this Christmas, offering a slew of unique alternatives that will make gift-giving fun.

10K Villages (567 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena; (626) 229-9892; tenthousandvillages.com)

At Ten Thousand Villages, every handcrafted object has a life of meaning behind it. This Christmas, give ethically sourced gifts crafted by hand. As pioneers of fair trade, they put people and the planet first in a global maker-to-market movement — connecting customers with ten thousand villages around the world.

The Bee Cottage (496 S Lake Ave, Pasadena; (626) 396-9007;


Bee Cottage, a small family-run business, offers a wide range of services to fulfill your home decoration needs, providing a variety of products in store. In fact, they specialize in custom orders, creating products to meet your needs all year round, especuially when it comes to fine silk botanicals, home accessories, gifts and holiday decor.

Brookstone (340 E. Colorado Blvd., Suite 109, Pasadena; (626) 568-1410;


Win over your mate’s heart with a cordless heated neck and back massager, on sale now for $179.99. Or impress the kids with a radio controlled car-trailer/dump truck for the low, low price of $35.99, or how about a Virtual Reality headset with built-in headphones for just $23.98. Brookstone has those and dozens more innovative and imaginative gifts for the holiday season.

Canterbury Records (805 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena; (626) 792-7184;


Every day is Record Store Day at Canterbury Records in Pasadena, but none more so than Black Friday on Nov. 29. There will be around 190 mostly limited editions, mostly vinyl, releases on that day, and almost all titles will be in stock.

Dinosaur Farm (1510 Mission St., South Pasadena; (626) 441-2767; dinosaurfarm.com)

What kid (or kid at heart) doesn’t love dinosaurs? Open since 1994, Dinosaur Farm specializes in all manner of dinosaur toys, books and other products on its website. But it also offers a Pink & Purple Room, a book area, an infant area, a science section and a game section.

Gold Bug (34 Union St., Old Pasadena; (626) 744-9963; goldbugpasadena.com)

Gold Bug is about quirky and vintage-inspired jewelry, as well as a selection of offbeat artworks inspired by natural history and science, drawing on ancient techniques in a modern world. The name of this one-of-a-kind store was inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Gold Bug,” a mystery in which a magic scarab beetle leads the way to the incredible discovery of buried pirate’s treasure.

Hoopla! An Emporium of Good Things (2591 Fair Oaks Ave.,
Altadena; (626) 797-1135; shopathoopla.weebly.com)

Calling itself Altadena’s “Lifestyle Boutique,” Hoopla! offers merchandise that is produced locally or regionally, or is certified fair trade. Visitors will find just about anything they can imagine: gourmet food, gifts, greeting cards, art, accessories, jewelry, home decor items, candles, books, you name it! They also offer private mailboxes, faxing, gift wrapping and UPS shipping and receiving.

Meow Meowz (2423 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Call (626) 798-6969;


Calling itself the one stop rock shop, retro ’80s specialty store Meow Meowz features vintage records, clothes, shoes and accessories while hosting live performances by punk bands including the Radioactive Chicken Heads.

Once Upon a Time Books (2207 Honolulu Ave., Montrose; (818) 248-9668;


Once Upon a Time Books was founded in 1966 by pioneering children’s bookseller Jane Humphrey but owned since 2003 by the Palacios family, who have kept the unique, community-building and inspiring look for present and future generations to enjoy.

PooBah Record Shop (2636 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; (626) 449-3359;


PooBah is an old-fashion, old-school music store carrying vinyl, cassette tapes and CDs from big names to below-the-radar artists. If you are looking for something rare, they probably have it. Don’t forget to visit on Nov. 29, Record Store Day, aka Black Friday.

Redbubble.com was created to help people make statements with clothing. This purveyor of T-shirts for every pop culture fad offers an inventive array of holiday-themed wear, mostly made by independent artists A global online marketplace for print-on-demand products based on user-submitted artwork, the company was founded in 2006 in Melbourne, Australia and maintains offices in San Francisco and Berlin.

Whitmore Rare Books (121 E. Union St., Pasadena; (626) 714-7720;


Whitmore Rare Books was founded in 2010 with the aim of drawing together exceptional first editions of important literary works. Over the past several years, the shop has become a destination for both seasoned collectors as well as those people newly discovering the field. If you have just one special book or a collection of first editions, they may want to buy it.