Shopping Santa Barbara
Gift Guide 2021
Our Annual Rundown of Where and What to Buy During This Holiday Season
By Gareth Kelly
With lingering pandemic and global supply chain issues, our 2021 holiday gift guide is an even more important tool in your festive shopping arsenal. After another challenging year on top of the previous one, shopping local remains as important as ever and provides the added bonus of not suffering from back-ordered or delayed-delivery problems.
Featuring firm favorites, as well as new offerings, that are spread all over Santa Barbara County, our handy guide aims to give you gift ideas, get you in the spirit of giving and receiving, and maybe even distract you from the constant chaos that seems to surround us.
Good luck out there, and remember to enjoy it!
Start your festive shopping on rejuvenated State Street. Visit Diani Lifestyle Boutique for custom sage bundles, candles, restorative floral bath homewares, and an abundance of modern chic clothing. Stop by Punch Vintage, which serves up a cornucopia of original and fabulous vintage wares, from mid-century modern lamps to funky outfits and outrageous heels. Step inside Anthropologie and swoon over their impressive selection of women’s fashion and homewares. Their Capri Blue candle and Fir & Firewood holiday-in-a-jar candles are must-haves for the season. Find one-of-a-kind home furnishings at Habitat Home & Garden before heading up the block to World Market for that global beer selection or festive gift wrap and stationery. Grab some of the latest board games and more at Game Seeker, a one-stop shop for all things puzzling and playful. Remember your furry companion and help a good cause at Cat Therapy, which sells whimsical tees and hoodies, or just stop into the cat café for some furry snuggles.
More than just Marvel and DC, the comic book world and Metro Entertainment are filled with heroes and villains all ages can go adventuring with. Grab a role-playing game and help Granddad become Gandalf! Now capturing our pandemic house-bound heart and mind, Idyll Mercantile is the place to seek out houseplants, plant-inspired jewelry, and festive cards, as well as lotions and oils. Lotus Boutique features small artists alongside sustainable and fair-trade goods, from crystals to shoes to jewelry, and has plenty to pique your interest.
All of Santa Barbara breathed a collective sigh of relief as the store formerly known as C’est Cheese reopened in the Presidio Neighborhood as the Cheese Shop S.B., our community’s home for brie, salumi, and all the gourmet foods we know and love. Blessed be the vino this past year and blessed be retail wine at Renegade Wines on East Haley Street, with a wine list for the most discerning palate. Exemplary customer service and huge selection requires a visit to Meritage Wine Market on Anapamu, whose knowledgeable staff can offer advice to wow your in-laws.
More than simply an Italian breakfast, lunch, and retail spot, refuel with small bites, pasta, meats, cheeses, and negronis at Olio Bottega on West Victoria Street before popping into the Santa Barbara Company to find curated local California products and an elevated gifting experience.
La Arcada Plaza
Historical figures, dolphin statues, and live turtles may all be watching you amble through La Arcada Plaza, but don’t forget your raison d’être. Hit Ace Rivington for sustainable denim, Lewis & Clark for that Bodleian Library notecard set, and Renaissance Fine Consignment for affordable Chanel, Gucci, and more. Art lovers will find much to collect at Santa Barbara Art Association and Gallery 113. Finish up with handcrafted wine and artisanal nibbles from Barbieri & Kempe Wines to round out your plaza jaunt.
El Paseo & Paseo Nuevo
Since 1965, Bryant & Sons jewelers has connected lovebirds and created lasting memories in its store. Venture across the street into Paseo Nuevo to find the Santa Barbara Outdoor Christmas Market, offering a wide selection of gifts from artisans such as soaps, dolls, and jewelry.
FUNK ZONE & WATERFRONT
Our eclectic Funk Zone’s array of stores attracts all persuasions. There are three floors of modern and vintage furniture at The Blue Door, while just around the corner, The Shopkeepers stocks a plethora of accouterments to wear as you lounge fireside this season. If you’re still struggling for ideas, simply meander into Dylan Star’s new funky location for that personal touch while shopping for chic threads. Treat yourself to a self-care Sunday with smudge bundles, loungewear, or a sacred gift box at Sirena. And no festive season is complete without a trip to Cutler’s Artisan Spirits, which offers cocktail consumables, glassware, and hand sanitizer to ward off the pesky pandemic.
Over on Stearns Wharf, grab a few bottles or perhaps a membership for a loved one — or yourself — at Deep Sea Winery before taking the Lil’ Toot Water Taxi over to Santa Barbara Fish Market, the best place to get all your Santa Barbara Channel uni, lobster, and crab. Skip down the launch ramp to Santa Barbara Sailing Center to rent a luxury motor yacht, small sailboat, or buy a ticket for a Double Dolphin sunset cruise or SUP rental. Cruise the S.B. Arts & Crafts Show along Cabrillo Boulevard, where the makers sell their own wares. It’s every Sunday, but also on Saturday, December 18. Back toward town, head into the Beach House on State Street for that surfer in the family to find the latest boards and even rentals if you have a hankering to shred the gnar.
A visit to A Crimson Holiday in La Cumbre Plaza is the perfect place to find handcrafted gifts from Santa Barbara artisans, including Hot Cherry Pillows by J’Nelle Holland, turned bowls by Chris Hansen, and hand-knit children’s items by Royanna Robertson. Beeline over to Bristol Farms for a fantastic section of cheeses from across the world, cured meats, and delicious baked goods. Down the street in Loreto Plaza, get lost in the book-lined walls of Chaucer’s Books, reading about whoever, whenever, and with whom.
The Rosewood Miramar Beach offers a decidedly upscale shopping experience with an expanded retail selection from the likes of Italian designer Brunello Cucinelli, the James Perse California-inspired concept store at The Gatehouse, and the Gwyneth Paltrow–founded Goop Sundries.
A perennial favorite, Upstairs at Pierre Lafond offers luxury bedding and home furnishings, while downstairs, one can find wine and cheese and fine art from artists Karen Bezuidenhout and Liz Brady, and plenty of everything Wendy Foster. Over at Imagine Artful Things, browse artist Robin St. Louis’s eclectic 1,000-piece Sunlit Studio watercolor puzzles, fine art prints, and more.
Find that classic vinyl LP, a quirky collectible, or maybe some Native American jewelry at Old Town Antiques. Keep rolling at Bicycle Bob’s for all your traditional road or mountain-bike needs, or check out their extensive inventory of e-bikes. Stop by Terra Sol off of Patterson Avenue and wander their incredible selection of plants, fountains, gargoyles, fairies, terra-cotta pottery, and all things garden.
Find gifts for him, like a Bradley Mountain utility roll or a Patagonia fisherman’s beanie, at Heritage Goods and Supply as well as ladies’ attire and even Moo Moo the Cow for the wee ones. Swing by Susan Willis Ltd. for an assortment of charming gifts, from food to fabrics, all gift-wrapped at no charge.
Start your sojourn to Summerland with a relaxing getaway behind the walls of the Sacred Space, where crystals, word stones, scents, teas, and exotic furnishings are all in abundance. Once nirvana is reached, head to The Porch to check out fire pits, home décor, and art for your indoor/outdoor living spaces before visiting the cornucopia of beautiful orchids on offer at Westerlay Orchids.
SANTA YNEZ VALLEY
Catch inspired artistic jewelry from Red Tail Jewelry while sipping on a glass of sauvignon blanc at Refugio Ranch tasting room in Los Olivos on December 4, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Solvang’s Danish-inspired village is a holiday mecca, with more than 150 unique shops carrying a wide array of Danish goodies. Channel your inner kid at ONEderChild with books, a DIY talking head doll kit, or perhaps a unicorn fidget pop-it clutch before stopping at Ingeborg’s Danish chocolates to pick up marzipan, jams, and jellies.
MUSEUM GIFT SHOPS
Museums have had a tough ride during the pandemic. What better way to support these vital parts of our community than paying a visit to their gift shops? Start at the newly reimagined gift store at the MOXI, home for all your STEM toys, such as Lite Brite and Magna Tiles, as well as books, makers’ kits, and more. Then step back in time at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum for gifts that shed light on Santa Barbara’s storied history. Become one with nature or the sea at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Remember art matters at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art by grabbing jewelry, books, toys, and custom products. Finally, take a drive on the backroads to Lotusland for delicate silks, opulent coffee-table books, art supplies, and more at one of the top gardens in the world.
ONLINE BUT LOCAL
Check out large-format calendars, puzzles, and offshore clothing from world-renowned yacht photographer and Santa Barbara resident Sharon Green at Ultimate Sailing or tickle your taste buds with delicious, decadent, and intricately decorated strawberries from Instagram-only Lu’s Strawberries. Grab a Cabrillo Crowd Pleaser or the new Virtual Happy Hour Santa Claws box from the folks at Santa Barbara Gift Baskets or check out Katie Lovelace’s Psychedelic Honey, biodegradable swim and activewear to inspire wellness in women from land to sea.
GIFTS FROM MARY JANE
Change up your gift-giving this year with a visit to a local dispensary. Stop by Coastal to browse their wide selection of flower, pre-rolls, and even weed wine. Hit up One Plant in Goleta for edibles or concentrates, or mosey on down Mission Street to the Farmacy for some tinctures or topicals. Seeking locally grown? Try Wellfounded Botanicals, which produces CBD-laced fragrances and THC-powered tinctures, as well as herbally enhanced body balms and face oils.