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Struggling to find gift ideas for your friends and family? Want to support L.A.’s small businesses? Look no further — we’ve got both covered.
Listen, it’s been a rough year. Knowing what to gift your friends and family this holiday season would probably be an easier task if we had been able to, you know, see them over the last nine months. But like most things in 2020, nothing is spared from the pandemic’s grasp, and that includes holiday shopping.
So I propose a spin-the-wheel gift guide with an underlying noble cause. Give me the zodiac sign of your best friend, aunt or co-worker, and I’ll provide a handful of L.A. businesses where you can procure a sweet and simple gift that’s attuned to their astrological tendencies. Your loved one will receive a lovingly-made token crafted by a local small business, and you’ll get to measure your friends up against their zodiac stereotypes.
Is it a perfect system? Doubtful. But is it good enough for us weary-minded Co-Star addicts desperate to save beloved neighborhood haunts as we crawl our way toward 2020’s finish line? Absolutely.
Aries (March 21-April 19)
Bold, adventurous and high-energy, an Aries would enjoy a gift that lends itself to a larger, fulfilling experience. A board game from The Guild House in Bellflower would let them tap into their competitive side, while a gift card to a cafe, like Mingles Tea Bar in Inglewood or Café de Leche in Altadena, would give them an excuse to stroll around a new neighborhood, basking in the warm sunlight. If you really know your Aries, take the risk of getting them hooked on a new hobby — how about roller-skating gear from SK8 Fanatics?
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
They’re steadfast and they take their time, content with routines and — lucky for you — notorious for being a tad materialistic. The best gift for a Taurus is one that fits seamlessly into their current lifestyle. If they’re a nature-loving homebody, get them plants from Tansy. If they’re an art-loving homebody, try a piece from the Craft Contemporary museum. And if you’re just afraid to upset their flow, a gift card for Bookshop will let them retain total control while buying from local, independent book stores.
Gemini (May 21-June 20)
The curious communicator in your life will appreciate any gift that pulls them out of their pandemic boredom, so grab them a gift card for a local bookshop, such as Stories Books & Cafe in Echo Park or READ Books in Eagle Rock. Or, if you’d like to save the notoriously indecisive Gemini from themselves, you could hand-pick a title for them. Geminis of a more creative tilt may also enjoy a gift from Shorthand in Highland Park, which offers an array of multicolored notebooks, art supplies and greeting cards.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Cozy comfort is what makes a Cancer happiest, so any gift that contributes to their domestic paradise will likely make them cheerful. Get them handmade candles from PF Candle Co. in Echo Park or lavender bath salts from yourDestiny Essentials, or even splurge on a unique quilt from XOXSEW. The Plant Provocateur will even deliver a fresh and vibrant house plant to their doorstep. And the Los Angeles Public Library’s store, which is chock-full of books, jewelry, face masks, soap and other trinkets, also offers shoppers a variety of coffee table options to spruce up a home desk or living room.
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
Warm, bold and big-hearted, your favorite Leo is probably craving quality time with friends right now. You couldn’t go wrong with a gift card to a favorite local restaurant where they can gather with friends post-pandemic (Night + Market Song was always buzzing, as was CaCao Mexicatessen). Or if your Leo was a party animal, get them some bottles from their beloved bar or brewery that’s still offering to-go packages. Bright, golden jewelry from Lola Ade or streetwear from STUZO CLOTHING could also bring out their Leo vibe perfectly.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Known for being analytical and sometimes picky, the ideal gift for a Virgo will delight them with well-designed details. Can you recall a time they mentioned a favorite snack shop in passing, like treats from Donut Friend or Atticus Creamery & Pies? If so, you’ll win them over with your sharp memory. The detailed linework on Rare Bird ceramics or the carefully-cultivated art at Dustmuffin might very well appeal to them, too.
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Credit their eye for balance for Libras’ appreciation for art and beauty. For the visually-inclined, try a delicate set of earrings from Wren Jewelry. If they’re a music lover, a favorite album from The Record Parlour can double as a Sunday morning soundtrack and vintage wall decor. In the urban expanse of Los Angeles, they might also appreciate something that brings the calmness of nature indoors. As such, look to Plant Grow Eat, which sells miniature garden kits that you can eventually harvest tasty food from.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
If you can find a gift that matches your Scorpio’s intensity, you’re a good friend indeed. A bold shirt, pin or sticker made by a local artist at Shop Profanity might do the trick. On the other hand, if your Scorpio had that signature goth phase, the Mystic Museum probably has them covered. For their rare moments of downtime and rest, surprise them with a face mask or cleanser from Brujita Skincare.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Though traveling is still a distant daydream for your nearby Sagittarius, they may appreciate a gift that reminds them of time abroad. Surprise them with a gift card to a restaurant they’ve never tried before: Carousel Restaurant‘s Lebanese dishes, Rahel Vegan Cuisine‘s Ethiopian fare and Eagle Rock Kitchen‘s Filipino meals might push them delightfully out of their comfort zone. For the non-foodies, reach for handmade art from La Plaza de Cultura y Artes.
Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 19)
A Capricorn’s unwavering responsibility and work ethic makes them pleasantly easy to shop for. Methodical pastimes, like jigsaw puzzles from Inner Piece or weaving and embroidery kits from Makers Mess, will appeal to their practicality and focus. If you’d rather enable their workaholic tendencies, Hightide Store DTLA has plenty of options for planners and work-from-home desk tools that are simultaneously aesthetically pleasing and efficient.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
As the free-spirited humanitarians of the zodiac realm, the Aquarius in your life will be delighted at any gift that taps into their offbeat interests and hobbies. Try an unconventional pick from Party Art Community or Leanna Lin’s Wonderland, two hubs for upbeat gifts, greeting cards, toys and more. If your Aquarian pal is more the sit-at-the-park-and-contemplate-life type, get them a gift card for a delicious picnic box from Milkfarm in Eagle Rock. And if your Aquarius is especially passionate about social justice, a donation to an L.A.-based community organization or mutual aid fund may be the most generous gift you can give.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Some say emotional, others say empathetic — whichever way you spin it, any Pisces you know is probably good at listening to your problems and unpacking theirs in turn. If your Pisces’ empathy is broad-reaching, they might find a zero-waste, sustainable goodie from No Tox Life to be quite thoughtful. The cool-toned, sustainably-made clothing and home goods at The House of Woo mirror that Pisces vibes well, too. Honestly? Maybe they just need to eat their feelings, and delicious cookies from Fleurs et Sel and drinks from Psychic Wines will let them do just that.