Ultimate guide to shopping local in the Coachella Valley — and surrounding areas — for the holidays

Freddie Rymond, manager of Long Beach Ice Co., sprays snow on the driveway of a home in the Old Las Palmas neighborhood in Palm Springs, Calif., on Wednesday, October 6, 2021. The real ice and some flocking on trees were being used for a commercial shoot.
Freddie Rymond, manager of Long Beach Ice Co., sprays snow on the driveway of a home in the Old Las Palmas neighborhood in Palm Springs, Calif., on Wednesday, October 6, 2021. The real ice and some flocking on trees were being used for a commercial shoot.

Friends and families soon will be getting together for the winter holidays after two years apart due to the coronavirus pandemic, raising the stakes for finding a meaningful gift as a token of your love.

While challenging in the best of times, retail experts are warning of a rough holiday season for national retailers who are experiencing worldwide supply-chain disruptions.

What better time to shop close to home as an expression of support for your community and the small, independent shops that have struggled during the pandemic?

The Coachella Valley and the surrounding high desert offers a treasure trove of creatives, makers, artisans and small-business owners. At The Desert Sun, we've been covering these amazing people and businesses through good times and bad, and are pleased to offer what we think is a list of gift ideas for anyone and everyone on your list.

Distinctly desert gifts

Joshua Tree Candle Co. candle, $20: Give someone the gift of a desert scent memory — favorites include Golden Hour and JT Campfire — whether they're a local or a long-distance desert lover. These small-batch, hand-poured candles have become treasured souvenirs from a small, high-desert company that believes in giving back: For every candle you purchase, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Joshua Tree National Park. Find the candles at jtcandle.com, the park's visitor centers or other local businesses, including but not limited to:

Wildsam's field guide to Joshua Tree National Park
Wildsam's field guide to Joshua Tree National Park

Wildsam's Field Guide to Joshua Tree National Park, from $20. Is there someone in your life who you really want to visit you in the desert in the upcoming year? Drop a subtle hint with this pocket-sized book that's chock full of local intel on the high desert, including profiles of several basecamp towns, a naturalists guide, stories from local experts and a three-day itinerary for exploring the area. While you can order the field guide at wildsam.com, it is available locally at several high-desert locations where you just might find more gifts for people on your list!


Tour guide Kurt Cyr describes the Del Marcos Hotel to guests in the double decker bus tour of mid-century modern architecture during Modernism Week on Friday, February 21, 2014 in Palm Springs, Calif. Modernism Week 2015 tickets go on sale Nov. 1
Tour guide Kurt Cyr describes the Del Marcos Hotel to guests in the double decker bus tour of mid-century modern architecture during Modernism Week on Friday, February 21, 2014 in Palm Springs, Calif. Modernism Week 2015 tickets go on sale Nov. 1

Mad for mod, prices vary: Palm Springs is rich with gifting options for the modern architecture lover in your life. Modernism Week, a nonprofit with programming annually in February and October, offers a mind-boggling menu of home tours, cocktail parties, lectures, and fun and informative programs. Our pick is the classic "Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour" ($110), which ferries mod-lovers around town for an overview of many significant mid-century sites in Palm Springs. For an intimate experience available year-round, meet Kurt Cyr, designer and mid-century modern expert who will serve as your guide on tours including an "Essential Palm Springs Tour" or a tour focused on interiors. Our pick is his "Martini & Mid Century Architecture Tour" ($90) takes your right back to the Rat Pack era while viewing houses of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Peter Lawford. The tour wraps up with a martini, natch.

Gifts for a foodie

Las Palmas Brewing offers a wide range of beers to-go, all brewed at its downtown Palm Springs location.
Las Palmas Brewing offers a wide range of beers to-go, all brewed at its downtown Palm Springs location.

Holiday spirits: Las Palmas, the only production brewery in Palm Springs, specializes in farmhouse ales, fresh unfiltered IPAs, and traditional European-style lagers. La Quinta Brewing Company brews a variety of locally inspired beers (with equally locally inspired names), including one in partnership with Koffi roasters in Rancho Mirage. At Dead or Alive Bar and bottle shop, find a highly curated selection of natural wines sure to bring some holiday cheer to the California oenophile in your life. Owner Christine Soto also stocks beer, cider and booch. All three shops also have merch.

  • Dead or Alive Bar + Shop: 150 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; deadoralivebarandshop.com

  • Las Palmas Brewing: 61 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; laspalmasbrewing.com

  • La Quinta Brewing Company: 78-100 Main St. #101, La Quinta; 74-714 Technology Drive, Palm Desert; 301 N. Palm Canyon Drive #100, Palm Springs; laquintabrewing.com

CV Harvest Box, $23 and up: Some people have a desire to shop local; others put a priority on eating local. Satisfy both local cravings (and support local farmers in the process) with a gift certificate to CV Harvest Box, which offers seasonal produce sourced from Coachella Valley farmers in the form of bi-weekly subscription boxes. It's a great way to end the holidays on a healthy note as you head into the new year.

Locally roasted coffee, prices vary: With blends to satisfy every taste, Joshua Tree Coffee Company and Koffi have cultivated loyal fans across the high and low desert among locals and visitors alike. Bring happiness to someone's morning with a bag of a favorite bean, or try something new with a fun sample pack.

  • Joshua Tree Coffee Company: 61-738 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree; jtcoffee.com

  • Koffi: 650 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs; 1700 S. Camino Real, Palm Springs; 515 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 71-380 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage; kofficoffee.com

An "eat plants" trucker hat for the vegetarians and vegans on your gift list. At Chef Tanya's Kitchen, $20.
An "eat plants" trucker hat for the vegetarians and vegans on your gift list. At Chef Tanya's Kitchen, $20.

Vegan treats $6.95-$20: Everything at Chef Tanya's Kitchen is vegan, so it’s safe for anyone on Santa’s list. Plus, you can pick up a delicious lunch while you shop. The little market at her Palm Springs store has items like sauces from HLTHPUNK (based in L.A.'s Chinatown), which are organic, vegan and gluten-free. The UFO Sauce is impossibly awesome for $8. Massachusetts-based American Vinegar Works items are fermented in small batches, and come in several varieties including Cranberry apple cider vinegar, for $12.50. Non-food items that are giftable include “Eat Plants” trucker hats for $20, cool wooden hot chocolate whisks for $15, and a Desert Life of the southwest activity book for kids (or adults!) for $6.95.

  • Chef Tanya's Kitchen: 72-695 Highway 111, Suite A6, Palm Desert; and 706 S. Eugene Road, Palm Springs; cheftanyaskitchen.com

The Transilvania European Food Store in Palm Springs has a large variety of European foods in stock, June 10, 2021.
The Transilvania European Food Store in Palm Springs has a large variety of European foods in stock, June 10, 2021.

Treats from the Old World, prices vary: For your friends or family who suffered from severe wanderlust during COVID-19 lockdowns, try shopping the globe right in your own backyard. Choose from a vast spread of spices, dairy products and salami from the Balkans at Transilvania Market in Palm Springs; premium Italian imports (pasta, olive oil, other treats) at Real Italian Deli in Palm Springs and Palm Desert; or a gourmet cheese and charcuterie board from On The Mark in Palm Springs.

Stocking stuffers

Sweets for your taste buds, from $8: Talk about a sweet success story ... Brandini Toffee started when two La Quinta High School friends wanted to take a class trip to Europe. Their parents challenged them to raise half of the funds needed. They made enough money off their toffee for the trip and a whole lot more. Today, Brandini Toffee is still made in small batches. Lots of very sweet, small batches of almond toffee, toffee-coated popcorn, and toffee popcorn with almonds, chocolate and cashews. The assortment box ($95) offers something for everyone in the family.

  • Brandini Toffee: 42-250 Bob Hope Drive Rancho Mirage; 32 S. Palm Canyon Drive Palm Springs; 48-400 Seminole Drive Suite C1, Cabazon; brandinitoffee.com

The Oasis Date Gardens in Thermal, Calif., September 27, 2021.
The Oasis Date Gardens in Thermal, Calif., September 27, 2021.

A date with history, prices vary: Dried fruit is a mainstay in holiday feasts across cultures. And in the Coachella Valley, the date is the king of dried fruit, with a long and storied history that has contributed to the booming local industry that produces some of the highest quantities of the sweet treat in the world. Medjools, Delget Noors, Blondes, Brunettes — with or without nuts or coconut — look like jewels packed in assortment gift boxes at Shields Date Garden in Indio and Oasis Date Garden in Thermal. And they ship.

Body Deli products provided to guests of the Louis Vuitton Cruise 16 show held at the Bob Hope estate on May 6.
Body Deli products provided to guests of the Louis Vuitton Cruise 16 show held at the Bob Hope estate on May 6.

Sweets for your body, from $5: Hand-crafted in their "cosmetic kitchen" in Palm Desert, The Body Deli's "cosmetic chefs" whip up fresh, raw and organic products for face, body and hair. Crafted in small batches, the products are used in spas across California and the nation, including the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs. The Palm Springs Spa Collection ($145 for a set of four products) — scented with notes of Medjool date, grapefruit, blood orange, vanilla, ginger and jasmine — is a classic that evokes a warm desert night under the stars.

  • Body Deli: 73-910 Highway 111, Suite B, Palm Desert; 73-560 El Paseo Suite B,
    Palm Desert; thebodydeli.com/

Windmill City Super #1 opened in October 2020 in downtown Palm Springs, one of a crop of new local businesses forging a way through during the pandemic-induced recession.
Windmill City Super #1 opened in October 2020 in downtown Palm Springs, one of a crop of new local businesses forging a way through during the pandemic-induced recession.

(Made in the) desert swag: The couple behind Windmill City Screen Printing have a retail shop in downtown Palm Springs stocked with some of their iconic swag, including the popular "dirt don't hurt" line (get it on a pin, sticker, stocks, t-shirt ... and more, from $2) and the shop's signature Super #1 Shop Logo Tee ($25).

  • Windmill City Super #1: 463 N. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs; super-number-one.com

Gifts for the music lover

Records on display at Dale's Records in Palm Desert, Calif. on June 23, 2020
Records on display at Dale's Records in Palm Desert, Calif. on June 23, 2020

Vintage vinyl, prices vary: For those who grew up on vinyl, or the budding music lover who is just getting introduced to the magic of the pop and scratch, two local shops specialize in turntable tasties. At Dale's (look for the generic "RECORDS" sign on the shop) you can dig for the classic album to round out your collection, or peruse a great selection of books, skateboards, music accessories from Ernie Ball, and thrift clothing. At Finders Keeper's in La Quinta, it's all about vinyl, boasting an inventory aimed to please discriminating music lovers across all musical genres.

Experiential gifts

Hit the trail on horseback, from $80: Sure, hiking the trails above Palm Springs is a great way to pass the day. But insiders know that checking out the mountain vistas and lush palm groves by horseback is where it's at. Smoke Tree Stables is a family-owned business (for more than 75 years) in Palm Springs that takes riders of all abilities on adventures on more than 150 miles of trails — for as short as an hour or as long as a full day. This is an excellent gift for a hiker looking for a change in perspective, or for a group of friends looking to make some memories together.

All the national parks for one price, from $80: This golden ticket will get an individual or family access to 2,000 federal recreation sites across the U.S., including our country's spectacular national parks. It's the perfect gift for those who have vowed to hit the road in 2022.

  • America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Passes can be purchased at usparkpass.com or at federally operated recreation sites across the country (including Joshua Tree National Park)

There are several vendors that offer hot air balloon rides in the Coachella Valley.
There are several vendors that offer hot air balloon rides in the Coachella Valley.

Hot air balloon ride, prices vary: Another great gift option for a group or a family, a peaceful flight in a hot hair balloon over the Coachella Valley is a memory-making experience. Several companies fly in the desert from October to April, when the temperatures are mild and the vistas in full bloom.

A charcoal work by American artist Robert Longo shows the White House on display as a part of the "Storm of Hope: Law & Disorder," exhibit at the Palm Springs Art Museum, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in Palm Springs.
A charcoal work by American artist Robert Longo shows the White House on display as a part of the "Storm of Hope: Law & Disorder," exhibit at the Palm Springs Art Museum, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in Palm Springs.

Museum memberships, from $35: This is a gift for someone looking to go deep on Coachella Valley history, art, mid-century design or military history. Consider an annual membership to one of the valley's first-class museums with access to the permanent collections, traveling exhibits, members-only programming and more. Individual and family options are available.

Brady Williamson watches the 3D printers inside CREATE Center for the Arts, which recently relocated to the former Venus de Fido building on Alessandro Drive in Palm Desert, Calif., on December 30, 2020.
Brady Williamson watches the 3D printers inside CREATE Center for the Arts, which recently relocated to the former Venus de Fido building on Alessandro Drive in Palm Desert, Calif., on December 30, 2020.

A chance to make art (from $10): Both CREATE Center for the Arts in Palm Desert and Old Town Artisan Studios in La Quinta offer a lucky gift-getter the chance to create their own art in workshops that range from print making, painting, sculpture, ceramics and glass work.

Jennifer Lopez receives the Spotlight Award during the Film Awards Gala of the 31st annual Palm Springs International Film Festival in Palm Springs, Calif., on January 2, 2020.
Jennifer Lopez receives the Spotlight Award during the Film Awards Gala of the 31st annual Palm Springs International Film Festival in Palm Springs, Calif., on January 2, 2020.

For the movie-lover in your life, prices vary: The wide world of cinema quite literally comes to the Coachella Valley every year in the form of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which offers a plethora of gift options for the cinephile on your list. Treat that person to a star-studded experience at the awards gala on Jan. 6 (from $350) or buy individual or a six-pack of tickets for films screening (prices vary) through Jan. 17.

  • Palm Springs International Film Festival: 1700 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 3
    Palm Springs; psfilmfest.org

Gifts that do good

Peninsular bighorn ram.
Peninsular bighorn ram.

Support survival of species in danger, starting at $50: The Bighorn Institute in Palm Desert's primary goal is to study the ecology of wild sheep populations, with particular emphasis on Peninsular desert bighorn, which can be seen throughout the Coachella Valley. Among other ways to support the Bighorn Institute, one of the most fun is to adopt a lamb for $100, or a ewe or ram for $150. You'll get an adoption certificate and photo of your sheep, among other perks. Also in Palm Desert and featuring Peninsular bighorn sheep (among many, many other creatures) is The Living Desert, which is committed to saving species of both the animal and plant variety worldwide. The Living Desert offers the opportunity to adopt any animal at the park, from $50 up to $2,500 level. Perks start at photo and adoption certificate, and include behind-the-scenes experiences at the highest level.

The Desert Sun building is seen, Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, in Palm Springs.
The Desert Sun building is seen, Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, in Palm Springs.

Support local journalism, starting at $29: Being informed about, and active in, the Coachella Valley community is enriching. Help someone feel more connected to our community with a gift subscription to The Desert Sun. A digital subscription is just $29 for 6 months and $49 for a year.

Gifts for the young and young at heart

Comical gifts: Make the comic collector in your life jolly with a rare find — or consider a gift certificate so they can head out to one of two comic book stores in Palm Desert to peruse the selection at their leisure.

Gifts for the sporty

Members of the Desert Blaze youth hockey team help reveal the name and logo of the desert's American Hockey League team: The Coachella Valley Firebirds
Members of the Desert Blaze youth hockey team help reveal the name and logo of the desert's American Hockey League team: The Coachella Valley Firebirds

Jump on the bandwagon: The desert is getting a professional hockey team — Coachella Valley Firebirds, the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. And while the first games will be in 2022, you can buy team merch at a newly opened store on El Paseo in Palm Desert.

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus plays Paula Badosa of Spain during the women's final at the BNP Paribas in Indian Wells, Calif., on October 17, 2021.
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus plays Paula Badosa of Spain during the women's final at the BNP Paribas in Indian Wells, Calif., on October 17, 2021.

The score is love: Tennis fans will be thrilled for one or two tickets to paradise ... tennis paradise. The BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells is back March 7-20, 2022, with some of the top talent in the sport. Individual tickets and mini or series packages are available now.

  • BNP Paribas Open: Indian Wells Tennis Garden, 78-200 Miles Ave., Indian Wells; bnpparibasopen.com

Gifts for the host of hostess

Concrete flower pots are seen built by shop owner Dirk Sure at European Flower Power, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Palm Desert, Calif.
Concrete flower pots are seen built by shop owner Dirk Sure at European Flower Power, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Palm Desert, Calif.

And finally, let's not forget the kind souls who nourish us with good food and good cheer during the holiday season; a quick round of gift ideas:

Pick up a vintage mid-century ice bucket, Italian military Parmesan cheese serving dish, or a silk scarf at ...

Order (and have delivered at least a few hours ahead of time) a beautiful centerpiece styled in the Old World tradition from ...

Or opt for a more "new age" table adornment in the form of a succulent or cactus from ...

  • Cactus Mart: 49-889 Twentynine Palms Highway, Morongo Valley; cactusmart.com

Consider a tissue box cover shaped as a mid-century modern home or a butterfly home cloisonne ornament ...

Check out this cactus ring toss pool float ($25) or a set of Jonathan Adler x Higher Standards smolder coasters ($80)

Desert Sun Executive Editor Julie Makinen contributed to this guide.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Where to shop local in the Palm Springs area for Christmas, holidays