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Arts & Culture

Culture Lust Holiday Shopping Guide

Little Italy's Mixture is having an anniversary sale this Saturday - 15% off everything.
Little Italy's Mixture is having an anniversary sale this Saturday - 15% off everything.

Before you know it, you'll be up to your nose in wrapping paper and gift tags. To help you get a jump on the season's shopping, take a gander at our suggestions. We've kept your pocketbook in mind, while hopefully leading you to the just-right, inspired gift.

These first few shopping options are this weekend only, so make sure to take note!

Is there a movie lover on your list? Head over to Landmark's La Jolla Village Cinemas for their annual movie poster sale this Saturday from 10am to 4pm. They have over 500 posters for $1 each.

Little Italy's Mixture is a cool, uber-contemporary fantasyland with great jewelry and home accessories as well as pricey furniture (thus the fantasy). However, everything in the store is 15% off this Saturday due to their 6th anniversary (they'll be serving food all day). They have a nice selection of cards, too.

This weekend, every hipster in San Diego will visit the WonderHaus building to find the latest accessory that screams "fashion forward." The quarterly Thread trunk show features lots of indie vendors selling their wares. Original designs for t-shirts, jewelry, bags, clothes, and scarves can be found.

The third Turistre Libre excursion to Tijuana is Saturday and it's a shopping spree. Guided by cross-border culture guru Derrik Chin, this group excursion boasts a enviable shopping itinerary: "We'll roam the blocks of second-hand loot that make up the Francisco Villa swap meet (which makes Kobey's look like a 7-Eleven)... by afternoon, we'll boutique hop: the HAHA Store, Data, Retro, etc. Then we'll haul out to the Naco Store at Macroplaza mall, home of the famous "I Heart TJ" T-shirts, among other colloquial pop apparel." To sign up, go here. It costs $5 to cover the group shuttle.

On Saturday eve, there's a group exhibition called Creative Commons, with work by local artists and jewelers for sale. It's from 7-10pm at the new Suture Gallery on 10th and Market. It's always dicey to buy artwork for someone, but if it's a close friend, chances are you know what they'll like. I cherish the artwork I've been given as gifts.

Of course, etsy is great for handmade goods (I heart this necklace!), but move cautiously and, for kicks, read Regretsy. Super fun site highlighting what happens when "handmade" gets a little too ambitious.

The gift shop at the Mingei International Museum is full of lots of cool, quirky finds from all over the world at surprisingly reasonable prices. Think on-trend local jewelry mixed with globe-trotting accoutrements. This weekend, there's a members-only shopping event - maybe become a member and find a gift for the friend who has everything.

For music lovers, there's Lou's Records in Encinitas and M-Theory in Mission Hills. Here are some good lists to inspire you: Jazz lovers, go here. Indie-rock, go here. Hip-hop, try this. World music, try here and classical ("new music"), head this way. Lots of music "best of" lists will be coming out soon for more ideas.

Paper Antiquities in University Heights is easy to gloss over while perusing the main drag of antique shops on Adams Avenue. This haven for all things print boasts everything from 1950s travel brochures and postcards to bygone back issues of Life and Time Magazine. If you're lucky, you could unearth a hand-signed headshot from the many they have on file.

If you have a Juxtapoz lover on your list, you can't go wrong with local book designer Mark Murphy's quality stock of artist books. Beautifully made and packaged, Mark works with the hottest young artists - Jeff Soto, Ray Caesar, Joel Nakamura and Cathie Bleck among them. He also has a documentary about artists of this ilk called "Scribble '08."

For those craving a hit of kitsch, go to Babette Schwartz, especially if you need the perfect gift-swap item or stocking stuffer. This Hillcrest staple is brimming with off-the-cuff tchotchkes like bendable mustaches, snarky greeting cards, and Bettie Page magnet sets.

If there's a foodie on your list, you MUST head over to Vennisimo. In-the-know foodies flock here for its unrivaled selection of international fromage - an ideal gift for gourmands. Pick up a tray or two for house party perfection. There are three locations - and don't forget to sample.

The new kid on the shopping block is Hunt and Gather in University Heights. The husband-and-wife proprietors hand pick this boutique's carefully-curated collection of vintage and new clothing and accessories, most of it locally sourced. They also have a stellar collection of old-school L.P.'s.

In our opinion, you can't beat Kobey's Swap Meet - but only on Sundays. That's when you score some real finds. Vintage cameras, board games, knicky-knacks, Kobey's has it all.

For the reader on your list, check out The New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year, then head to an independent book store to do your shopping.

That should get you started. Feel free to share more ideas in the comments section. Now get your holiday shop on!

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