A local’s guide to holiday shopping in Los Angeles

Joscelyn Stocks | Daily Trojan

“It’s that time of year again,” says every other store advertisement in America. It truly is. If you didn’t get your holiday shopping in on Black Friday (or Black Thursday, at this point), have no fear. Want to stop shopping off of Amazon and find some thoughtful presents? Luckily, there are many local stores and brands, that can make lovely gifts for even the pickiest of people.


A new streetwear label is up-and-coming in L.A., and its owner has her roots in USC’s campus. Alumna and founder Michelle Hannabusa says Uprising plans to reinvent streetwear with three core values: performance, style and versatility. The brand keeps community and charity in mind, running social media campaigns like #AmericanMade, which celebrated diversity and unification within the U.S.; “Girls Supporting Girls,“ which aimed to empower female creative and leaders; and #RepresentAsian, which promoted Asian American representation in media.

Next week, Uprising will open its first month-long pop-up shop in December right in the center of Little Tokyo. Setting up shop on Dec. 4, the store will serve holiday gift bags with gift cards, Uprising goodies and merchandise to help shoppers cope with the stress of the last-minute gift search.

If you’re trying to find an ideal present for a fellow college student, Uprising and Little Tokyo are collaborating on an exclusive unisex tee for the holidays. With a percentage going to the Little Tokyo Community Council, you’ll be giving back while simultaneously satisfying your friend.

Additionally, if you buy from the Uprising store, you’ll get a sweet treat from Café Dulce.


If you’re looking for a more traditional gift set with a fun twist, look no further than Poketo. With four brick-and-mortar locations in the greater Los Angeles area, Poketo is a hub for lifestyle items with a casual sense of art and design. Co-founder Ted Vadakan calls Poketo “a one-stop shop,” especially during the holiday season. You can get anything from their branded stationary (a store favorite), accessories and apparel from brands based here and around the world.

Whether you’re shopping for your hyper-organized roommate or your stylish, hip best friend, Poketo has the perfect gift. If your friend digs wall decorations with a purpose, get Poketo’s Perennial Wall Planner.  

For avid coffee drinkers, try Poketo’s Freeway Mug. Featuring an iconic Angeleno quote, this mug is one of the store’s bestsellers for a reason. If you know an artist who needs a cap that proclaims it, buy them the “Art Everyday” cap. This traditional baseball hat with a non-traditional baseball hat quote is a must-have for all artists and art-lovers.

If you don’t have time to go to one of the Poketo stores, the shop has a website with a gift guide of its own. Still, it has select in-store items on sale this Christmas and will host a market at its newest location at Row DTLA on Dec. 15.

Hennessey + Ingalls

For bookworms or those hungry for knowledge,  Hennessey + Ingalls has the perfect gift this holiday season. Hennessey + Ingalls is best known for its arts and architecture books. Founded in 1963, the Arts District shop perfect for novelty gifts, such as fashion and photography books.

Hennessey + Ingalls’ repertoire doesn’t stop with arts and architecture. It also sells books on movies, music and even philosophy. With specialty books, an eclectic atmosphere and a Van Leeuwen Ice Cream shop nearby, you don’t need the excuse of holiday shopping to stop by.

Los Angeles offers countless opportunities, with a plethora of novelty shops and brands. So shop local this holiday season — it will be worth your time.