We hate to be the ones to say this but enough is enough with those silly beach signs—we see you, “Life’s a beach!”—those trite shot glasses—“What happens at the beach stays at the beach!”—those awful tote bags—“Beach hair, don’t care!”—and lastly, the miniature glass bottles half-filled with sand and a single, teeny shell. What do you do with that? Sculpt the smallest sand castle ever? No. You’d have to break the thing to make it and then WHAT IS EVEN THE POINT.
Besides being unoriginal, impractical and examples of unbridled tourism at its best, these gifts are also boring. They’re expected. They’re cheesy. This year for Christmas, give a gift that’s not only original but also totally Newport Beach-y. Ideas …
A Trucker Hat from Cassidy’s Bar & Grill
Where to Get It: From any bartender at Cassidy’s, located on Balboa Peninsula at 2603 Newport Blvd. According to Yelp, the bar is open 24 hours a day but that is wrong and really, you can frequent this Newport Beach establishment of dive-bar wonder from about 10 a.m. until around 1:30 a.m. That, my friends, is ample time to walk in, order Cassidy’s famous cheeseburger and buy a hat.
Why It’s Great: Don’t settle for a simple Newport Beach chapeau when you can have a cap from one of the city’s most beloved institutions. As an example of its undying local love, Cassidy’s was infamously shut down for a month during the 2016 summer season when a Prius mysteriously found itself rammed into the side of the bar. We think the town of Newport Beach collectively cried for 30 days straight until the place opened up again.
Art from a Lido Marina Village Gallery
Where to Get It: Cross over to the bayfront side of Newport Blvd. and the streets become surprisingly artsy. Galleries and studios housed in sleek, modern lofts line narrow roadways and offer the best of water colors, oil paintings and sculptures created by gifted, local artists.
Why It’s Great: Bold, one-of-a-kind artistic pieces are always crowd-pleasers when it comes to gifts. Plus, if the giftee doesn’t like it, just shrug your shoulders and say, “that’s art.”
Surf Gear from Jack’s Surfboards
Where to Get It: Pick up funky and fun surf gear at Jack’s Surfboards, (2727 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663).
Why It’s Great: Surf wax, travel bags, skimboards … Jack’s has it all and what better way to celebrate the pervasive surf culture of Newport Beach than with some truly authentic ocean-riding stuff? No wiping out required.
A Bike Accessory
Where to Get It: Newport Cruisers, located at 2233 W Balboa Blvd #105, Newport Beach.
Why It’s Great: Newport Cruisers has every accoutrement you would possibly want for your bike, including baskets, bike seats and those little bells that are so freaking annoying but sometimes necessary when the boardwalk gets impossibly crowded. And because the beach cruiser is a common mode of transportation around these parts, you can be sure you’re getting the latest and greatest in bicycle style to gift your two-wheel-loving friends.
Handcrafted Jewelry from Local Artisans
Where to Get It: The Newport Beach farmer’s market—happening 9 a.m until 1 p.m. every Sunday by Newport Pier—features several tents with crafters selling their wares. From braided bracelets made from tire rubber to a hand-woven bread baskets, there’s much to choose from and no lack of creativity in any selection you make.
Why It’s Great: There’s a definite time and place for expensive jewelry but there’s also plenty of time for jewelry you won’t find anywhere else. At the Newport Beach farmer’s market, vendors sell what they make, meaning your gift will be something completely original not found anywhere else in the entire world.
A Potted Succulent
Where to Get It: Pavilions on 3100 W. Balboa Blvd. (Yup, you read that right. This easy-to-find gift can be purchased right at the supermarket.)
Why It’s Great: Succulents have been the reigning “it” plant for a while now, which is absurd when you think about it because succulents have literally been around since before dinosaurs roamed the Earth. (Trivia night fact: They predate the dinos and first made an appearance during the early Carboniferous Period around 350 million years ago.) Nonetheless, Pavilion’s happens to sell a small but stylish selection of potted succulents. And honestly, giving a trendy succulent to your pals will keep their interior decor looking cooler than a cooler filled with ice cubes made from ice-cube trays belonging to the entire cast of the movie Frozen.