Los Angeles birthday exchange
August 2, 2012 10:12 AM   Subscribe

Help me cheat to think of a themed birthday present. The theme is Los Angeles.

For a friend's birthday party, we're asked to bring a wrapped gift that is representative of Los Angeles. (It's not necessarily quite a birthday present: I believe people will be exchanging "presents," so you'll leave with something different than you started with. More of an exchange than a gift.)

It should cost less than $15.

This is rather open-ended. I'm at a loss. My only brainstorm I could come up with was some Route 66 trinket from the Santa Monica Pier (when I moved out to LA, I drove along the old Route 66 from the Midwest to Socal), or some other trinket from the gift shop at the La Brea Tar Pits, which is near where the party will be held (though I've never actually been to the La Brea Tar Pits, have no connection to it, and am just assuming here that there is a gift shop).

Any thoughts?

[Previously: a few ideas, but was hoping for more thoughts...]
posted by lewedswiver to Grab Bag (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Spending time on the 405, I'd say anything related to the CHiPs would be appropriate.
posted by xingcat at 10:40 AM on August 2, 2012

You could hit up some ethnic markets and get some spices or little treats from a few different cultures. I lived in LA for five years and that's what I miss most, the huge variety of cheap ethnic food available all over the city.
posted by something something at 10:43 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

a poster of angelyne.
posted by koroshiya at 10:45 AM on August 2, 2012

You could get a fancy looking little glass bottle, put a bit of dry ice in there, and call it a bottle of LA Smog.

For $15 plus food and booze at the party, I'm pretty sure you could get an unemployed actor to show up as your 'gift' (I have a few friends who would likely be willing).
posted by Garm at 10:47 AM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Well, I've been waiting a long time for this question. Here ya go, best. band. ever.
posted by thinkpiece at 11:04 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Avocados in a cute bowl (get one at Target), plus a recipe for guacamole.

I'm sure you could get some tacky/hilarious Hollywood souvenir at Hollywood and Highland, or even at Aahs or a party store. You could to buy a little faux Academy Award and give it w. a bottle of cheap Prosecco?

A little gift bag with sunscreen, cheap-o sunglasses, and surf wax?
posted by Countess Sandwich at 11:07 AM on August 2, 2012

How about a t-shirt or some mustard from Philippes. mmmmm, french dip.
posted by vespabelle at 11:11 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

It doesn't say LA to me so much as Beverly Hills, but a Map To The Stars' Homes is a good souvenir. If you're unable to get up to Sunset to buy one from somebody roadside, you can find scans online -- try printing this one out.
posted by Rash at 11:12 AM on August 2, 2012


Golden Road Brewery (brewed in Atwater) has just released a limited edition IPA called Wolf Among Weeds. All of their beers are awesome, the packaging is Los Angeles themed, and a 6 pack comes in well under $15. I believe they're available at most Whole Foods in LA if you're not on the east side.
posted by justjess at 11:23 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

A dvd of Chinatown. Or LA Story.

If you could find a trinket from the LA Olympics on Ebay, that might be fun given the time-frame.

A framed picture of current gas prices, and/or cars sitting in gridlock.

Or, to go another route, a framed picture of a craftsman-style house, all the better if it is landscaped with local native plants. I don't know but I'm under the impression that the majority of the craftsman-style homes & buildings were in So Cal.

I think most people outside of So Cal associate Disneyland with "going to LA", not really Orange County. So maybe something Mickey-themed.

Do check back after the party and let us know what some of the highlights were.
posted by vignettist at 11:24 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Mix cd



and so on ...

posted by tilde at 11:28 AM on August 2, 2012

I'd bring a book - perhaps The Big Sleep
posted by nightwood at 11:37 AM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'd wrap up a 6 pack of golden road beer since it comes in a box anwyway.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 11:37 AM on August 2, 2012

(oh ha, preview)
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 11:38 AM on August 2, 2012

I also like the idea of foraged things, if you're up for it. Sage. Lemons. Figs. There's always rosemary. Whatever else is in season and easily reachable from the sidewalk.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 11:40 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

A copy of Two Gentlemen of Lebowski: A Most Excellent Comedie and Tragical Romance.
posted by The World Famous at 11:44 AM on August 2, 2012

Nothing will do but a THOMAS GUIDE!

Old school in the best possible way.

Sure GPS is techy, but nothing says LA to me like a Thomas Guide.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:04 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

What about a bag of those oranges people sell on the corners of busy intersections?

Or a bunch of pre-paid tickets to ride on LA attractions like The Angel's Flight, the Ferris Wheel on SM Pier, etc
posted by MrHalfwit at 12:07 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

This poster is $20, but so awesome.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 12:12 PM on August 2, 2012

Book: The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West.
posted by bjgeiger at 1:01 PM on August 2, 2012

Earthquake survival kit or car escape tool... or Rachel Zoe's book Style A to Zoe: The Art of Fashion, Beauty, & Everything Glamour

posted by argonauta at 1:30 PM on August 2, 2012

In-and-Out burgers T Shirt
posted by InfidelZombie at 2:59 PM on August 2, 2012

Something featuring an angel, since Los Angeles is The City of Angels? (A nicely ratty Christmas tree topper is the first thing that comes to my warped little mind....)
posted by easily confused at 3:26 PM on August 2, 2012

Something from the LA Coroner's office, if you like morbid humour. I'm really fond of the Glitter Body Magnet and the Body Cutting Mat.
posted by sawdustbear at 3:45 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

DVD of "LA Story?"

I second the X DVD and Ray Chandler.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:42 PM on August 2, 2012

Nothing says LA like a Thomas Guide. A used one would be under $15. Could probably find one in a thrift store, too.
posted by equalpants at 10:07 PM on August 2, 2012

Langer's no. 19
PASTRAMI, SWISS CHEESE and COLE SLAW Russian Style Dressing $15.20 - done.
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:42 PM on August 2, 2012

Lots of great suggestions.

I went with the X album. Thanks, all :-)
posted by lewedswiver at 12:10 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

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