Take a break from the busy mall scene and instead get a handle on your holiday shopping list by visiting the shops of Solana Beach. Here are some great gifts found in your own backyard.
For pet lovers
Muttropolis will keep cats and dogs looking and living sharp. There are treats and toys of all kinds, from chickens and doughnuts that squeak to an artichoke chew toy. For the holidays they have gingerbread men, Santas and snowmen for animals to play with and adorable sweaters and rain slickers to keep them warm and dry on walks.
Leashes and collars come in a multitude of designs from funky animal print to playful polka dots.
Anyone with a dog would appreciate a Bon Ton, a bone-shaped contraption that clicks on to a leash and dispenses bags for Fido's droppings, making pick-up a snap.
For the home
Step into Birdcage and the homey good scent will hit you right away. The store is a great place for people looking to give the gift of a happy home.
Try the orange vanilla candle by the Nouvelle Candle Co., which comes in a decorative ceramic pot or the Thymes Frasier Fir candle which smells like you've stuck your nose into a Christmas tree.
More than just having things that smell good, Birdcage also has a selection of French and Italian dinnerware, hand-painted pieces that would compliment any kitchen. Pair a serving dish with a cookbook or one of their unique Italian pewter serving spoons and knives with beautiful colored handles. Birdcage, at 143 S. Cedros Ave, is currently running a 30 percent off sale on all their dinnerware.
For ones with green thumbs
Got someone on your list who loves to garden? Cedros Gardens has just about everything an organic gardener would need, said owner Mia McCarville.
In addition to seasonal favorites such as poinsettias, Cedros Gardens has great gifts like plants, bare-root fruit trees, gardening tools, books and outdoor accessories like hummingbird feeders made of recycled glass. One of McCarville's favorite gifts is a succulent pot —they don't need a lot of sun and Cedros has a good selection, including a fun one in a martini glass.
"A combination of seeds in a basket also makes a really cute gift too," McCarville said.
Another garden gift idea is a herb pot, said McCarville, as it allows people to work with freshly plucked herbs in the kitchen. McCarville uses perennial herbs like thyme, oregano, parsley, cilantro and African blue basil. Cedros Gardens is hosting a class on how to make and care for herb pots at 10 a.m. Dec. 12.
For the ladies
Cedros Soles has lots of things that will make a woman very happy. For nights in: Flannel pajamas and funky thermals, for nights out: enviable patent leather clutches from Hobo. Cedros Soles also has some very special jewelry offerings from designers Me&Ro and Jeanine Payer. A highlight are the sweet sterling silver and 24 karat gold necklaces with charms and pendants engraved with messages or symbols.
For the sweet tooth
Cupcake Love in the Beach Walk Shopping Center off Highway 101 is a great spot to find a unique and yummy present for someone who's extra sweet.
"We have a lot of flavors that can be ordered for Christmas," said owner Ilene Lamb. "Cupcakes make great hostess gifts or client gifts. We do a lot of corporate gifts during the holiday."
The cupcakes can be decorated with Santa faces, candy canes or snowmen or made to look like a frosty snowball. There are 12 flavors every day in two sizes, regular and the "love bite" miniature cupcakes.
The flavor of the month in December is gingerbread and flavors change every Tuesday. Starting Dec. 15 the flavors will be hot cocoa delight and holiday eggnog. The week of Dec. 22, flavors will be candy cane bliss and chocolate cherry.
To find out about ordering, visit cupcake-love.com.
For just about anyone
You could probably spend hours in Leaping Lotus and still not see everything. The Cedros Design District store features more than 100 merchants for everything from beachy, shell-encrusted decor to colorful imports from India. Wine lovers may get a kick out of their giant jeweled wine stoppers, green-thinking folks might enjoy reusable produce bags or sandwich bags and lunch boxes. Other unique finds are cozy Solmate Socks, made with recycled cotton and Pacifica soaps, body butter and candles in exotic scents such as Bali Lime Papaya.