Ventura County's Support-Local Program

Give the Gift of Local

By shopping locally for your holiday gifts, you’ll show some love to both that special someone and our community. Here are 34 great gift ideas for you.


Local holiday shopping – we all win

The 2017 holiday season is now underway. What a perfect time to show both that special someone and our community some love by shopping locally for your holiday gifts. You are guaranteed to find some wonderful and unique items while helping our local economy in the process. So to get you going, we’ve got some suggestions for making it a local holiday season.

34 great local gift-giving ideas

  1. Support local music. Even better, why not purchase a CD from one of our many talented local musicians. Places like Salzer’s or Buffalo Records are a great way to start. Another great music-lovers gift: how about tickets to see a concert at the Ventura Theater or Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center.
  2. For folks with a little country in their soul. Check out The Wharf on Front St in Ventura. for great boots, cowboy hats, suede jackets, bandanas, belt buckles and more.
  3. give-gift-local-wineDrink Local. For all you wine lovers, how about a gift basket filled with hard-to-find cheeses and wines from Paradise Pantry or Hops and Grapes. You can also find some great deals at The Cave on Telephone Rd in Ventura. Want to really experience some local wines? Visit Cantara Cellars in Camarillo, Four Brix in Ventura, Old Creek Ranch or Ojai Vineyards.
  4. For the budding musician. Instrumental Music on E Main St in Ventura has a nice selection of instruments for pros and beginners alike. Consider lessons to accompany that instrument.
  5. For the collector or the eccentric. Times Remembered always has a surprise around every corner.
  6. Eat local when going out. How about one of our many wonderful local restaurants! Need a suggestion? Try Winchester’s Grill. It’s the perfect place to try out our very own local beers. Or perhaps a specialty drink is calling you at Twenty 88 in Camarillo or Harvest Bar in Ojai.serves up one some of the best around. Ask to try the local spirits by Channel Islands Distillery or Ventura Spirits. Or how about a great meal with a local bottle wine at La Dolce Vita in Oxnard.
  7. Support local Art. For the art lover, Ventura is blessed with so many talented artists. How about a wonderful original piece from one of the galleries in town like Harbor Village Gallery or an amazing photograph from David Pu’u, West Cook, Denise Dewire or Jim Martin. These are purchases that last a lifetime.
    Surf Brewery

    Surf Brewery

  8. For the beer lover.  Head on over to one of the many local breweries throughout the county and pick up a growler or some of their newly bottled beers or maybe a gift card. You can also get equipment to make your own suds.
  9. Fill ‘er up. Get sustainable gifts that keep on giving. Why not stop into the Refill shop in downtown Ventura.
  10. Play Local. We are blessed with some of the best surf around. Why not check out our fantastic surf shops like Ventura Surf Shop or Homegrown Surf Shop, both on Thompson in Ventura. Did you know Ventura Surf Shop is the oldest surf shop in town?
  11. give-gift-local-santa-fbCool Apparel. Want to find just the right outfit or pair of shoes? Check out Parts Unknown on Main St in Ventura.  Always a great selection and always the best quality.
  12. For someone who has everything. Stop into B’s on Main in Ventura. Make sure to take the time to really look around and you will be pleasantly surprised.
  13. Go sustainable. There is no better way to do it then by planting, potting and just getting your hands dirty. How about a gift from Green Thumb Nursery in Ventura or on Brokaw Nursery in Camarillo. They have amazing selections of native and drought-resistant plants, vegetables and herbs.
    Fox Fine Jewelry

    Fox Fine Jewelry

  14. Something shiny.  Stop into Fox Fine Jewelry on Main St in downtown Ventura. They not only have a great selection but you will be so impressed by their knowledge.
  15. Holistic and local. How about some wonderful herbs blended just for you from Emma’s Herbs on Main in Ventura.
  16. For the movie lover. Salzer’s Video in Ventura not only has the best selection in town but their knowledge is outstanding and I am sure they can help you find just the right DVD for that special someone. Throw in some popcorn, chocolates from ExVoto Chocolates, Marie Shannon Confections or Sticky Fingers Baking Company and a bottle of local wine and you’re sure to get a big smile.
    Totally Local VC Dinner At The... series

    Totally Local VC Dinner At The… dinner series

  17. For the foodie. For a unique treat, why not purchase tickets to the 2018 Totally Local VC Dinner Series? Local chefs  prepare amazing meals using local, in-season ingredients paired with local wines, all set at historic locations and served family style as you dine with local farmers and wine makers. These will be evenings you will never forget. To find out more, go to the latest Dinner at the… Dinner Series page on or send us an email at
  18. Holiday party planning. Want to have the whole family over and not worry about cooking? Get a hold of Cowboy Johns Smoken BBQ  and arrange for a great meal from a company with over 30 years of making some of the best BBQ in Ventura County. Or, contact Main Course, Plated Events by Jason Collis or Seasons Catering. Another great option is Scratch Food Truck. Just imagine the party you could throw using one of these great caterers! They will not only create meals to be remembered that are sure to please, they all specialize in using local, in-season items in their recipes.
  19. Get it fixed locally. That’s easy to do with the folks at Avenue Hardware on Ventura Ave in Ventura. They have everything you need and great prices as well.
  20. For the runner. Check out Inside Track in Ventura. They not only have a fantastic selection but their knowledgeable staff will make sure you pick out the right pair to fit your runner’s needs.
  21. For the cook in your life.  Why not sign up for one of the cooking classes offered at La Dolca Vita in Oxnard or stop in to Spicetopia and let them create an amazing basket for your special someone.
  22. Lose it local.  If you have been struggling with your weight, make an appointment with Dr Billy. He offers lots of options to help. And then some.
  23. Give the gift of laughter. The Ventura Harbor Comedy Club or the Ventura Improv Company.
  24. Give the gift of giving back. Why not get tickets to the upcoming Cheers for Charity Event on January 19th. Taste, savor and give back to four local charities all in one wonderful evening. Tickets and info at
  25. Local original art. Check out Bell Arts Studios, a building full of amazing original works. Or the WAV (Working Artists Ventura). You are sure to find a one-of-a-kind gift.
  26. Local Pizza. Yeah, that’s right. This one’s ones easy: grab a few pies from the best in Ventura, Jimmy’s Slice on Main, throw in a salad and you will have an easy meal.
  27. Learn something new. Another great local gift idea: purchase a set of classes in something that you may find fun. Even better, purchase two sets and attend the class along with your special someone. All kinds of classes can be found including cooking, knitting, dance, wine, yoga and pottery and many more. Check our classes offered at Red Brick Gallery and Bell Art Studio.
  28. For that outdoors lover. How about a membership to the Museum of Ventura County or a Park Pass for that hiker or surfer in your life. These are the gifts that give all year long.
  29. How about a makeover? We have so many amazing local hair salons. Get a gift certificate from Tangerines, Celtic Karma, Studio Sea or perhaps for a facial by Cecily Burleson at Tre Jolie MediSpa. Yes, we all love to be pampered now and then. Right?!
  30. Is there a reader on your list? Oh, then you must check out the wonderful selection of unusual books at Bank of Books on Main St in Ventura. This store is amazing and the staff is not only helpful but also so very knowledgeable.give-gift-local-bag
  31. Eat local. Well that’s really easy with so much bounty in our county! Just hit one of the many Farmers’ Markets in Ventura County. You can fill a basket with locally grown produce and don’t forget a few steaks from our very own local beef company Watkins Ranch. Another great idea: give your special someone a year’s worth of fresh and local by ordering them a CSA basket. Farmers like Rio Gozo and McGrath Family Farms offer wonderful in-season all year long.
  32. Need to get away? You can do that local too! Just use a local travel agent like Let Tropical Travels on Main St in Ventura to help you plan an amazing get away that is sure to fit any budget.
  33. Throw a party. Large or small, Ventura Rentals Party Center can help you create an event that will be remembered.
  34. Give some great tea.  Check out Rosie Lee Imports on Main St in Ventura. Not only does she have a fantastic selection of teas and other British items, she can tell you how to make the perfect pot.
Impressive facts about shopping local: 70% of our nation’s economy is derived from consumer spending For every $100 spent in a local retail business, an average of $68 returns to the local economy versus a paltry $43 if that money is spent with a big box or chain A 10% shift in spending to independent business can result in an average of 1,600 new jobs, $53 million in wages and 137 million economic impacts to our community.

Information sources: CBS News,

Image credits: Robert LeMaire, Denise Dewire and James Scolari; with Alex Akopyan and masroor saleem via Compfight cc.

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Learn more about author Kat Merrick

Kat Merrick

About the author

Kat Merrick made her mark in the apparel world as an innovative leader and founder of Surf Chick Inc. With over 25 years of extensive experience managing worldwide capacity apparel facilities, companies and product, her superior leadership skills, practiced in directing cross-functional global teams to design, brand, source develop and marketing, won her world-wide recognition and awards. She is considered an expert in the areas of trend studies, brand building and marketing. At 23 years old she opened her first successful retail business in Ventura County, Since then, Kat has owned and operated several very successful retail and wholesale operations and assisted numerous multi-category small businesses to achieve success. Highly respected by many local small business owners, growers, artists and locals, she has been tagged as "the Shop Local girl". Kat's extensive travels, strong business knowledge and desire to make a positive impact locally helped inspire her to create Totally Local VC. A Ventura County resident since 1978, single mother of two and long-standing advocate for support of local small business and all that is Ventura, founder and developer of Totally Local VC, Kat brings her passion for our community to all she does. Her writings, posts and blog reflect her love of family, friends and community and desire to help.


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