Yep. It's that time of the year again. The time for baking cookies, trimming trees, and pulling your hair out trying to shop for all the people on your holiday list. There is nothing more miserable than walking up and down the mall without any gift-giving direction. Fear not! We are here to help guide you to some of our favorite shops in Irvine, in hopes of putting your frazzled holiday-dominated minds at ease.

AnthropologieBest place to shop for women:


      99 Fortune Drive

      Irvine, CA 92618

      (949) 341-0104


It is virtually impossible for me to walk by Anthropologie's big picture windows filled with fabulous fashion without heading inside. Once inside, nearly every woman I know lets out an involuntary sigh of despair. You see, we want everything in the store, from the bright red holiday dress to the sequined walrus ornament (which we didn't know we needed until we saw it) yet we know we can't have it all. But you can help us have something special.  The cashmere scarf is enchanting. The avocado mint candle smells divine. The iced dew bracelet set would be the perfect stocking stuffer. Just saying....

Best place to shop for men:

Irvine Marketplace

13702 Jamboree Road

 Irvine, CA 92602

Inside the Irvine Marketplace you will find what I refer to as the trifecta of men's holiday shopping: Sport's Authority, Howard's Appliance and Flat Screen Superstore, and Lazyboy Furniture Galleries.  You can park the car in one spot and shop for all the things men love the most: sports gear, massive televisions, and recliners with coolers attached. If you still haven't found everything that special man in your life desires, just head up one block to Lowe's. There enough power tools in there to unleash any man's Tim the Toolman Taylor grunts of joy.

Best place to shop for the epicurean:Irvine Shopping Guide epicurean

Sur la Table

97 Fortune Drive

Irvine, CA 92618

(949) 585-0031

I will be honest.  I used to pass Sur la Table without even considering walking in the door because I figured with all that fabulousness in the window, it was most definitely out of my league. I was so wrong. Sur la Table is an epicurean's dream with all the gadgets and gizmos a baker, griller, or chef could ever desire. Cookware is available at a variety of price points, from high end Mauviel cookware to the more reasonably priced Sur la Table house brand. Whether you are looking for a paella pan, collapsible cupcake carrier, gourmet grilling sauces, or novelty mustache drink markers, Sur la Table is the place to find it!


Best place to shop for your pampered pooch:


6755 Quail Hill Pkwy

Irvine, CA 92603

(949) 737-5950

If you're the type of pet parent who feels your pooch deserves but the best, then Dogma is the perfect place for you to do all your holiday shopping for Fido. They carry everything from holiday sweaters (for your puppy, of course) to leashes, carriers, and toys. My puppy is particularly fond of the dog bakery case which is filled with treats that look so good, human tummies are known to rumble while picking out their pet's goodies.


Irvine Shopping Guide Best place to shop for the nostalgic urban hipster:

      Urban Outfitters

      99 Fortune Drive

      Irvine, CA 92618

      (949) 341-0104


I have simply one question to ask- who doesn't need a Clark W. Griswold Moose Mug a la National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation? Or a crazy haired good luck troll? Or a box of Nerds as big as a toddler?  These gifts, plus dozens of other quirky items are the perfect answer to the question "what do I get my 28-year-old single brother who lives in an urban loft and invites fabulously dressed friends over past 10PM on a weeknight to hang out and listen to music that is too cool to be found on the radio?"  These gifts also work great with 35-year-old moms who would love a bit of nostalgia to shake them from their exhausting scheduled life revolving around work, home, and kids.

Best place to shop with kids:Spectrum carousel

 Irvine Spectrum Center

Fortune Drive

Irvine, CA 92618

(949) 753-5180

Dragging kids around while we try to finish up our holiday shopping can be, well, a drag! Luckily, Irvine Spectrum Center is filled with kid-friendly fun so you can bribe your children (yep, I am not above bribery) to behave with rides on the carousel, train, and Ferris wheel; games at Dave and Buster's and wintry fun on the outdoor ice rink as you finish your holiday shopping. Lollipops at See's Candy and candy apples from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory are great rewards for a couple hours of retail induced torture as well.  Best of all, Santa is at the Spectrum, eager to hear all of your children's Christmas wishes.

Best place to find inexpensive stocking stuffers:


14280 Culver Dr, Suite A

Irvine, CA 92604

New to Irvine this year is Daiso, the Japanese version of America's dollar store. Almost everything in this store is $1.50, and you will be amazed what a difference 50 cents can make. This is where you can buy Santa hats for the whole family, fun holiday decorations, wrapping paper, and plenty of affordable stocking stuffers. My kids will be finding scented pens, travel goodies, hair clips, toothbrushes, and Japanese candy in their stockings this year. All $1.50. All from Daiso.


Sharlene Earnshaw is the Editor in Chief of Trekaroo, a site dedicated to helping families travel better with kids.