‘Tis the season for gratitude and gifting. Pasadena is an ideal holiday shopping spot, between the region’s mix of major brand retailers, local artisans and independent boutiques and the hassle-free browsing and buying environment with ample, easily accessible public parking and sun-drenched, walkable shopping districts.
Here are 12 Pasadena-centric holiday gift ideas to get you started planning for everyone on your list, from hostess gifts and Hanukkah presents to Christmas stocking stuffers and Winter Solstice treats.
Classic See’s Candy
See’s Candy may be a globally recognized and beloved brand for their chocolate confections. But See’s started as a homegrown Pasadena brand in 1921. The black and white retail shops are even inspired by the See’s bungalow kitchen in Pasadena. While you can’t shop for sweets in the original See’s House, you can visit one of the Pasadena retail locations. If you want to embrace the old school flavors, buy the Peanut Brittle, Victorian Toffee and Chocolate Walnut Fudge which all stay true to their original recipes. Gift boxes start at $6 and go up to $90.
Impress cocktail connoisseurs with a bottle of Stark Spirits, hand-crafted premium spirits made right here in Pasadena. The micro-distillery makes a traditional Aquavit, three types of rum (including California Gold and Silver), Single Malt Whiskeys, Skyline Gin and Sunshine Orange Brandy. Stark Spirits are available at Mission Wine & Spirits (1785 East Washington Boulevard, Pasadena). Bottles start at $4.99 for minis and go up to $60 for the Peated Whiskey.
Grist & Toll Bread Baking Kit
Grist & Toll makes the freshest small-batch, whole grain milled local flour you can get your hands on in the Greater Los Angeles region. Buy individual bags of flours, rye and cornmeal, or go for a gift kit like the Millers’ Selections. Their Ultimate Bread Baker box is the perfect starter tool kit with three seasonal flours and recipes, plus a flour sack, a Danish dough whisk, eight-inch banneton and lame for scoring. Prices range from $7 for individual bags, $60 for the Millers’ Selection and $100 for the Ultimate kit.
The hit natural beauty brand LATHER was born in Pasadena, and you can shop their skin and haircare goods in the Old Pasadena flagship store. Individual products like candles and lavender-scented eye pillows make great stocking stuffers, and the wide array of pampering gift sets include bath bombs, travel essentials and a shaving kit for men. Prices start at $6 for balms and go up to $70 for premium gift sets.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory Swag
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is part of the California Institute of Technology, a Pasadena institution. The JPL online store is full of space-centric swag like t-shirts, hoodies and flight jackets. Aspiring astronauts and rocket scientists will appreciate the collectibles like stuffed animals, commemorative posters, mugs and hats. Prices start at $3.50 for pins and go up to $185 for jackets.
Season Tickets to the Pasadena Playhouse
If your present recipient lives in the Southern California region, give the gift of culture with a membership to the Pasadena Playhouse—the Official State Theatre of California. The Individual Membership includes tickets to each of the season’s productions, plus priority seating and access to behind-the-scenes events and other discounted tickets. You can also purchase tickets for a specific single show. Individual tickets start at $29 and memberships start at $250.
Homage to Julia Child
Internationally renowned and beloved cookbook author and chef, the late Julia Child was born and raised in Pasadena. Get passionate home cooks a copy of her most famous book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, at Vroman’s Bookstore. Purchasing at Vroman’s will infuse further meaning, given Southern California’s oldest and largest bookstore was operating during Julia Child’s Pasadena youth. The shop carries other titles by and on the icon as well, if you’d like to create a custom set. An added bonus? You will feel extra good about supporting the #shopsmall movement. Julia Child books start at $7 and cookbooks are in the $35 range.
Cooking Class at Urban Kitchen
Pair cookbooks with a gift certificate to Urban Kitchen. The recreational cooking school in South Pasadena offers a range of classes and work shops taught by classically trained instructors. Your recipient can choose to learn specialties like The Art of Pasta Making, Farm-to-Table Latin Meals, Simple Seafood Suppers and Classic Desserts. Prices start at $70.
Duff’s Cake Mix Decorating Experience
For the aspiring “Ace of Cakes” maker in your life, look to Food Network star Duff Goldman’s DIY dessert design studio, Duff’s Cake Mix, in Pasadena. Buy a gift card for a cupcake or cake decorating experience or purchase a kit to-go. Gift certificates start at $40.
Jones Coffee Roasters Brews
Jones Coffee Roasters roasts their Guatemala-sourced beans locally. Buy a bag of beans to perk up any coffee fanatics. Or, even better, get them a six-month or 12-month coffee club subscription for a gift that will keep on giving—subscriptions include two one pound bags of Jones Coffee beans delivered monthly. Bags of freshly roasted coffee beans start at $18 and subscriptions start at $35.
Museum Gift Shop Hop
Museums are known for having eclectic gift shops with wares appealing to artistic and creative types of every age. The Huntington Library & Botanical Garden’s shop carries a robust assortment of garden themed items, holiday ornaments, elaborate jewelry, home décor, books and art prints based on the collections and exhibitions. Thoughtful gifts for kids and an entire women’s rights collection round out the selection. The Norton Simon gift shop sells books and prints based on current and past exhibitions, along with other treasures including kids’ art supplies.
URB-E Wheels Upgrade
If you’re in the market for a big ticket item for someone who likes to have the latest technology, consider an URB-E. The Pasadena-based “micro-transit” company makes innovative lightweight, foldable scooter-like vehicles. Considered the world’s most compact foldable vehicles, the carbon fiber and aircraft-grade aluminum inventions are the top-rated foldable electric personal transportation devices on the market. See what URB-E is all about at their Pasadena showroom (54 Green Street, Pasadena). Prices start at $1,099 and go upwards of $2,599.
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