Every year it's the same tired b.s. about Black Friday, and every year it seems that thousands of shoppers fall for it. They wait in line in front of big box stores, rampage like wild buffaloes and run over security guards, fight over cheap imported goods. This is not for The Toad.
Honestly, if you have to shop on Black Friday, why not have it benefit the little guys? You know: the local stores with interesting stuff. It might cost you a little more (although that's debatable), but the quality of the gifts is just so much higher. And the shopping experience (not to mention lunch opportunities) is so much better.
Here's just a few Los Angeles based stores to satisfy the Black Friday itch. Many have web sites, so you don't even have to leave the house and try to park.
|Animal keychains at Tortoise.|
This store has a wonderful, dark victorian vibe with modernist touches. You'll find vintage jewelry, one of a kind animal ceramics, wooden boxes, John Derian decoupage pieces and much more.
7382 Beverly Blvd.
Noni's owners, Noni girls Megan and Elaine, are extraordinary stylists who handpick their merchandise. You'll find tons of truly wearable tops, dresses, pants and more, many by local designers. Plus, the store features affordable jewelry and stylish accessories.
225 North Larchmont Blvd.
|The New English Anatomica plate, Inheritance|
Both locations of this super hip L.A. store feature owner Larry Shaffer's excellent modern curation skills. From fantastic art and architecture books to pricey (but stunning) jewelry and glassware, OK has something for everyone. And around the holidays, they really stock up on the good stuff; they even pre wrap it!
8303 West Third St. and 1716 Silverlake Blvd.
The store itself, located on prime shopping street Abbot Kinney, is a minimalist museum of useful modernist goods. It's a great place to scout for toys for your favorite techie. Plus, they carry a huge assortment of Pantone items, always a welcome gift for anyone who's ever been near publishing. Its web site is perfect, too.
1121-1 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Lost and Found
|John's Phone at A+R|
This entire row of shops is devoted to the interesting, the slightly ethnic, the casually luxurious, and the majorly expensive. From absolutely perfect scarves to real Missoni towels and blankets, everything in the store is filtered first through owner Jamie Rosenthal's discriminating tastes. You literally can't go wrong here, although your wallet's going to take a beating. Just try to leave here without coveting something for yourself. Just try.
6314 Yucca St.
This new addition to Abbot Kinney features all things Scandinavian. That translates as minimalist, yet earthy and colorful (but never gaudy or tasteless). Huset hosts everything from textiles to toys to lighting and rugs. A great source for unusual gifts.
1316 1/2 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
This store is like an emporium for green and biodegradable products, but without the annoying crunchiness of political correctness. Kelly Green offers green products you want to buy because they're great, not just because they're green. And you can find tons of water bottles, which make perfect stocking stuffers. Plus, they have an east side AND a west side location.
2149 West Sunset Blvd. and 2525 Main St., Santa Monica
This is one of those wonderfully idiosyncratic little stores. It has a fascinating mix of offbeat, funky, yet sophisticated household items, plus a carefully chosen collection of vintage pieces (the old glass book ends are pricey, but lovely.
8055 Beverly Blvd.
Designer Gary Gibson collects fabulous stuff. At any given time, you might find antique pencil sharpeners, old mallets, a cow bell, original art, old globes, and new pieces which mix and match seamlessly.
7350 Beverly Blvd.
Tortoise offers all things Japanese, but not in a Kid Robot kind of way. This is the quieter, more contemplative brand of Japanese products, perfect for home use and impeccably designed. And the aesthetic melds well with styles old and new.
|Tree swing at Reform School|
1342 1/2 Abbot Kinney
Oh, such fun! Reform School has a funky mix of home products and arty prints and pillows, plus some wonderfully old fashioned kid toys. Browse and amuse yourself.
3902 Sunset Blvd.
Slap down your plastic at Plastica, because this is one awesome stop for kid's toys, office accessories, and anything else that involves plastic. Don't feel bad, though, since much of it is recycled and reused.
8405 W. Third St.