Local and Unique Christmas Gifts Everyone Would Love

unsplash yoga

Have you seen all the advertising and social media posts asking us to shop small this holiday season? But do you actually know WHERE to shop small? If you want to join the cause and support local businesses but are overwhelmed by the plethora of options, I’ve created this comprehensive guide for local and unique Christmas gifts in San Diego.

Don’t live in San Diego? No worries! I’ve even collected  a few of my small business favorites from Amazon because who doesn’t love 2-day shipping??

Local and Unique San Diego Gifts

1. Stand Up Paddle Board or Kayak Rentals

Water sports can be played all over San Diego from La Jolla, to Mission Bay, or even Point Loma. Renting gear can get expensive so check out these Groupons that you can gift via email to your friends or family.

Exclusive $15 for 1 hour of SUP, pickup from Downtown San Diego.

Surfari Surf 24 hour SUP rental for $22 in Mission Bay

$25 90 minute kayak rental in La Jolla

OR join Liberty Station SUP club for $49 per month for unlimited rentals.

2. Salt & Straw Ice Cream Pint Packs

Who doesn’t love ice cream?? Salt & Straw Creamery curates special flavor collections for every holiday making great local and unique Christmas gifts. December flavors will be revealed soon and are guaranteed to be delicious. The November flavors of the month include Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecans, Roasted Peach and Sage Cornbread Stuffing, Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey, and Cranberry Juniper Sorbet (vegan). These small batch 4pack of unique pints are $65 (when shipped via mail). To save money, visit one of their shop locations in Little Italy or Del Mar and choose your pints on site.

3. Rooftop Yoga Class Pass at Trilogy Sanctuary

After the year that 2020 has been, I think we could ALL use some yoga classes! My personal favorite venue in San Diego is Trilogy Sanctuary in La Jolla. Rooftop ocean view yoga + vegan café + aerial classes. Need I say more?

My favorite classes are Vinyasa and Healing Yin. Get an unlimited monthly class pass for $89 / month or buy a pack of Drop-in class passes 5 for $100 (single drop in $22).

Check out their calendar for the class schedule and reserve your spot!

Sunset Yoga

4. San Diego Zoo / Sea World / Scripps Aquarium Annual Passes

SD zoo

My husband Mitchell and I LOVE the San Diego Zoo. I’ve been to so many zoos over the years and this is still my all time favorite. The enclosures are large and there’s so many diverse animals to see! We had zoo passes in 2019 and are going to switch to another park like Sea World or the Scripps Aquarium for some variety this year. These local and unique Christmas gifts will be so much more fun than a pair of new AirPods.

San Diego Zoo and Safari Park Dual Pass (2 people) = $205 OR (2 people) and Free Safari Park Parking = $277

Sea World Annual Pass $61 per person with free parking. Check their website for even better seasonal deals like BOGO 50% off!

Scripps Aquarium in La Jolla offers annual passes for 2 people for $75 or $95 for a family of 4.

5. Craft Beers, Coffee, or Spirits

pure project brewing

If you’re looking for a special gift for friends or family from out of town, San Diego’s local microbreweries are a great option for the beer lovers in your life. Some of my personal favorites are Stone Brewing, Pure Project, Thorn Brewing, and Bolt Brewery. For small batch spirits like gin and vodka, check out Cutwater Spirits or You & Yours Distillery.

San Diego is also known for it’s small batch coffee roasters. Bird Rock, James Coffee, and Moniker Coffee are especially delicious options for gift giving.

Small Business Unique Amazon Gifts

Amazon has a whole home page that features small businesses that sell on their platform, you can find it here. Obviously, buying directly from the seller gets them more profit but this is a fantastic way to still support those businesses while using services you already pay for like Prime shipping. You can even sort the shops by founder’s area, business owner (women, POC, etc.), and gifts for age groups.

For Adults:

Habit Nest Journal

Based in Los Angeles, California, Habit Nest creates a journal product like no other. They create a cross between a book and a journal with a 50 year satisfaction guarantee. Featured in Forbes, HuffPost, and Entrepreneur, this product is clearly loved by all.  The line of journals include topics like nutrition, gratitude, and meditation.

Price point: $19 -$28

Habit Nest Journal
HoneyCat jewlery

Honey Cat Minimalist Jewelry

Two best friends from Irvine, California founded this company with a goal of creating long-lasting, affordable, beautiful jewelry. From rings to necklaces to bangles, they have it all. Choose from rose gold, yellow gold, and silver in almost every piece.

Check out these pieces from the photo:

Keepsake Locket $28

Milky Way Disk Choker $24

Iron Ore Gold Ring $20

Specialty Wood Designs

After losing his corporate job in the financial crisis of 2008, Mike began a small wood working shop in North Carolina. All of the wood is purchased from a family-run lumber mill and is given second life in your home.

Large Ambrosia Maple Wood Cutting Board $49

For Kids:


Made by nerds for nerds! Wisconsin based company creating the cutest plush anatomy for kids and adults alike. Cuddle and learn at the same time! Check out their collection of Lungs – We be-lung together $27, Thyroid – Life is a Gland Adventure $27, and Heart – Aorta Tell You How Much I Love You $27.


The cutest STEM toy for kids ages 5+ encouraging their imaginations and fine motor skills. There are thousands of combinations that offer an alternative to traditional building blocks or Legos. Disks are a little bit larger than quarters and snap together with ease.

500 pieces for $18

Basics for Shopping Small Businesses

Even if you don’t live in San Diego, here are some go-to tips for finding local and unique Christmas gifts this year.

Think about what attractions are near you, are any of them locally run animal sanctuaries or aquariums?

What sports are in your area? Consider gifts for activities like snowboarding, kayaking, or even a National Parks Pass.

Lastly, make sure you visit your local restaurants and coffee shops looking for gift cards or locally created goods. Check your social media too! You’d be surprised how many people you know sell Etsy goods or run their own businesses. Happy shopping!

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