Editor’s letter: a very SoCal kind of holiday


Happy holidays, everyone!

I’m a Hanukkah celebrator from SoCal/Baja married to a Christmas person from New England, so this time of year is a jumble of traditions and activities.

We spin dreidels while listening to the Christmas radio station. We binge on both Christmas cookies and latkes. There’s usually a Patriots game on as we light Hanukkah candles. And at some point, tequila and mariachi music make appearances.

But the one universal thing we share — perhaps that all of us share, whether we celebrate anything or not — is the holiday shopping experience. So that’s why our December issue is all about shopping.

Instead of heading to a mall, though, we created the Shop Small Gift Guide that features only San Diego boutiques, products and artisans.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a mall. A mall is where you get your essential holiday gifts: your pajama sets, kitchen gadgets and celebrity makeup palettes. It’s where you pose with Santa, hear nonstop Christmas music and drink Gingerbread Lattes out of red Starbucks cups.

But shopping at small stores not only helps independent businesses, it’s also a way to explore different neighborhoods and meet people in your community.

That’s actually what happened to me when I was putting together our cover photo shoot.

I really wanted to have a succulent wreath on the cover as a representation of Southern California and its blended traditions. But getting that wreath wasn’t so easy.

I reached out to several places, but nothing came through and time was running out. Then, a friend told me to check out Green Gardens Nursery in Pacific Beach.

Turns out Green Gardens is only a few miles from my house, and when I walked in for the first time, I discovered a mini wonderland of plants and gifts. Green Gardens has been in business for over 40 years and focuses on organic gardening. Everyone there was so friendly and the employees knew customers by name.

With just a few days’ notice, in-house designer Christine Mack created a succulent wreath exclusively for PACIFIC. (Fun fact: you can bring an empty bucket or pot and, for a fee, they will fill it with succulents.)

We got our wreath cover, and I met a whole new part of my community because of it.

This spirit of discovery is what I hope you’ll feel when browsing our gift guide. Enjoy the season, and see you in 2020.

—Nina Garin, Editor-in-Chief