Shirodhara treatment is a pitch-perfect continuation of the centuries-old practice that is as luxurious as it is pleasantly exotic.
Shirodhara treatment is a pitch-perfect continuation of the centuries-old practice that is as luxurious as it is pleasantly exotic.
Zack Benson

L.A. Experiences to Treat Yourself This Holiday Season

The holiday season is a great time to be around your family and obsess about the best gifts to buy for them. But maybe it’s time to depart from the urge to be the perfect spreader of holiday joy. Don’t worry, you don't need to be a total Scrooge, but perhaps this year, you can allocate some time and dough toward taking care of you. After all, didn’t somebody wise say that you can’t properly love others if you can’t love yourself? In that spirit, here are some holiday gifts that you can use to be your own secret Santa or recalibrate your own soul meter.

Experience ancient Ayurvedic medicine.

For 5,000 years, Ayurvedic medicine has been all about the ancient yet ageless practice of achieving a lasting and dynamic state of balance between mind, body and environment. Burke Williams of Hollywood’s Shirodhara treatment is a perfect continuation of the centuries-old practice that is as luxurious as it is pleasantly exotic. More than just your average massage, the treatment begins with the customized selection of one of three fragrant herbal massage oils specific to your mind-body constitution, aka dosha. After a divine massage, everything ends with the Shirodyara itself, defined by a constant yet gentle stream of oil poured over the "third eye" to create what Burke Williams likes to call “a profound state of happiness and mental clarity”; having experienced it, we would like to concur. Burke Williams’ Hollywood location also is eco-friendly. What a great way to replenish oneself and then get back to that battle otherwise known as last-minute winter holiday shopping. In additon, if Shirodhara oil dripping on your head is not your idea of feeling refreshed in a time-honored sort of way, Burke Williams Hollywood also has Ananda and Balancing Bowl Enhancement treatments locked and loaded for your Ayurvedic pleasure.

Burke Williams Hollywood, 925 N. La Brea Ave., West Hollywood. (323) 822-9007, burkewilliamsspa.com.

Treat your feet right at Burke WilliamsEXPAND
Treat your feet right at Burke Williams
Zack Benson

Dazzle your digits with a spa manicure and steam pedicure.

While Burke Williams’ Ayurvedic treatments are definitely to die for, they're a bit pricey. As a less financially taxing option that still carries the panache of that exclusive experience, one would do well to gift herself with the Burke Williams spa manicure and/or steam pedicure. You'll have the option to add on sumptuous extras such as the Wellness Pedicure, Seasonal Scrub, Seasonal Masque or Callus Enhancement. Or just keep it simple, as Burke Williams puts a premium on customer service when it comes to putting the special in spa foot care. Starting at a base price for nonmembers of $40 for a manicure and $50 for a pedicure, Hollywood’s steam pedicure feels as good as it is for the environment and drought-plagued Los Angeles — not to mention that the steam treatment actually locks in hydration better than more traditional, less green methodology.

Burke Williams Hollywood, 925 N. La Brea Ave., West Hollywood. (323) 822-9007, burkewilliamsspa.com.

Skylight Books is a sanctuary for book lovers.
Skylight Books is a sanctuary for book lovers.
Kelly Brown

Get bookish.

With the fear of a shopping planet personified by significantly increased human volume in just about all public places this final week before Christmas, sometimes you just want to disappear into a private world. The online assault of Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat adds even more noise to our daily lives. How do you unplug while still avoiding boredom? A book, of course. Yes, actual physical books might be the answer, and if you want to feel extra special about yourself for engaging with them, you might travel to one of Los Angeles’ actual brick-and-mortar independent bookstores. There are ample options, such as the Last Bookstore, featuring an impressive trove of used material (95 percent of the inventory is used books), and the Samuel French Bookshop specializing in books on theater and film. Other smart choices include Skylight Books in Los Feliz and the iconic Book Soup on Sunset. Often, the best gift you can give yourself is some quiet time with a tome.

The Last Bookstore, 453 S. Spring St., downtown. (213) 488-0599, lastbookstorela.com.

Samuel French Film and Theatre Bookshop 7623 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles. (866) 598-8449, samuelfrench.com/bookstore.

Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz. (323) 600-1175, skylightbooks.com.

Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com.

Compartes Chocolatier has been making sweet treats since the 1950s.EXPAND
Compartes Chocolatier has been making sweet treats since the 1950s.
N. Galuten

Soothe your sweet tooth.

Too often when people take the time to visit a chocolatier, it’s to satisfy someone else’s sweet tooth or to curry romantic favor. It's time to treat yourself. If you're looking for a chocolatier that has its artisanal history firmly rooted in L.A. history, Compartes Chocolatier has a dazzling holiday array of beautiful chocolate, which it has been serving since 1950. With all of its chocolate made in its Los Angeles chocolate factory, it’s a special treat for one or many. If chocolate isn’t your one and only sugar fix, Lolli and Pops is a nice, modern yet approachable option for candy that is exuberantly global in scope. So don’t be scared to give yourself a little sugar. If your tastes run a bit less saccharine, a good selfie gift that keeps on giving is a seasonal wine club. Williams-Sonoma has a $90 per six-bottle shipment that is thorough, including extras such as specially crafted tasting notes, perfectly paired recipes, at least 10 percent off of all Williams-Sonoma Wine Store purchases and the ability to cancel anytime.

Compartes Chocolatier, 912 S. Barrington Ave., West Los Angeles. (310) 826-3380; also 8428 Melrose Place, Los Angeles. (310) 826-3380.

Tantris' yoga classes often donate proceeds to charities.EXPAND
Tantris' yoga classes often donate proceeds to charities.
Courtesy Tantris

Live Yoga Aid

Many swear by the good that yoga can do for the mind, body and spirit to alleviate stressful environmental stimuli. But what if one could extend that goodwill on a global level to wartorn areas of the world in addition to increasing one’s personal well-being? Mogul Russell Simmons' new hot yoga studio/community wellness center, Tantris, has the answer. As a herald of other communally great things to come, Tantris will be doing donation-based benefit yoga classes taught by Steve Ross and hosted by NTA models, featuring Jesse Golden. All the donated proceeds from these classes will go toward aiding the White Helmets in war-ravaged Aleppo, and Simmons himself pledges to match all donations. It's a yoga gift for yourself that becomes a gift for the greater good.

Tantris Center for Yogic Science, 9200 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. (213) 894-9200.

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