No man or child wants to get a set of shirts, ties or socks for Christmas. And no woman wants kitchen appliances. Thankfully, there’s plenty of unique alternatives for those looking to make gift-giving fun on that special morning, with lots of cool area stores ready to help you make fun memories.
Here’s a guide to some of the most quirky gifts we could find and how you can track them down.
Every kid loves dinosaurs, a fact that has helped Dinosaur Farm (1510 Mission St., South Pasadena) attract thriving business since it opened in 1994. A specialty toy and book store that was named on Buzzfeed’s international list of “17 Toy Stores That Will Change Your Kids’ Lives,” the Farm specializes exclusively in dinosaur products on its website (dinosaurfarm.com). But the store itself extends beyond a Dinosaur Room to include a Pink & Purple Room, a book area, an infant area, a science section and a game section — all of which encourage hands-on play so kids can make sure they get exactly what they want. Call (626) 441-2767.
For kids who are into rock and roll more than prehistoric creatures, head over to Vroom Vroom Bitsy Boo (5031B York Blvd., Highland Park). The rock n roll inspired children’s boutique carries clothes and accessories for sizes newborn to 10 years old from hipster lines including Rock Your Baby, Huxbaby and Tiny Whales. They also carry handmade clocks, mobiles, unique toys, swaddles, punk rock and other band shirts and onesies. Beyond that, they carry books and puzzles — some of which are bilingual — and the staff gift wraps for free as well. Call (323) 739-0617 or visit vroomvroombitsyboo.com.
Did you know that the oldest children’s bookstore in the country is just a short drive away, in Montrose? Once Upon a Time Books (2207 Honolulu Ave., Montrose) 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. Call (818) 248-9668 or visit shoponceuponatime.com.
Kids can’t have all the fun, so head over to Brookstone at the Westfield Santa Anita Mall (400 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia) to find such fun gifts for men as the Gronkball Light-Up Bluetooth Speaker Football for $49.99. Or really win over your man’s heart by gifting him with a personalized glass Viking beer horn complete with rustic stand for a mere $42 or a Virtual Reality headset with built-in headphones for $23.98. While you’re there, be sure to take a break from life by lounging in the store’s endless array of massage chairs before picking one up for home. You know you want one! Call (626) 446-6598 or visit brookstone.com.
If you love craft-brewed beers, you’re in luck since Pasadena is home to just one of six locations in the Stone Brewing (220 S. Raymond Ave. #103, Pasadena) chain of company stores, extending from San Diego to Shanghai. Sidle up to the bar and try their broad array of year-round and seasonal flavors before taking home an assortment of brews such as Tropic Thunder Lager, Scorpion Bowl and Tangerine Express. They also have plenty of stylish branded clothing and unique knickknacks. Call (626) 440-7243 or visit stonebrewing.com/visit/outposts/pasadena.
Who doesn’t love fun pajamas and onesies? Los Angeles is home to one of the most unique PJ stores in the world, thanks to the wildly popular Bedhead Pajamas (8336 W. Third St., Los Angeles). They make more than 50,000 pairs of pajamas in an unbelievable array of styles and all locally cut and sewn each year before they hit the shelves. It’s well-worth the drive if you want comfortable fun for all your naps and nightly trips to Dreamland. Call (323) 653-8336 or visit bedheadpjs.com.
Looking for some retro fun? Head over to ‘80s specialty shop Meow Meowz (2423 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena), where you can shop for vintage records, clothes, shoes and accessories while enjoying live performances by punk bands including the Radioactive Chicken Heads. What could put you more in the Christmas spirit after being inundated with round-the-clock carols on KOST-FM? Call (626) 798-6969.
Finally, if you’re looking to make a literal statement with your clothing, there’s no better place on the planet than the site for redbubble.com. The online purveyor of hilarious T-shirts for every imaginable pop culture fad and ironic catchphrase is now particularly amusing with an inventive array of holiday-themed wear, mostly made by independent artists.