Gift Guide: Neighborhood Finds

We've selected the best shops to find gifts in Maryland, Virginia and the District -- places where you can find something for that person on your list who doesn't just want cold hard cash or an iTunes gift card.
By Holly E. Thomas
Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide

The buzzword for 2010 might just be "local" -- buy local products, eat local foods, support local artists. But especially around the holidays, there's more to shopping locally than just saving on shipping costs or reducing your carbon footprint. There are less tangible benefits -- connecting with a friendly shopkeeper, reveling in the aroma from a wall of scented candles. With that, we've selected some of the best area shops to find gifts -- places where you can find something for that person on your list who doesn't just want cold hard cash or an iTunes gift card.

Gift Guide: Neighborhood Finds

Shop Talk

Here, a handful of shopkeepers share their best holiday gift ideas and top spots for seasonal surprises.

"I love to get a gift from Teaism. I usually get a few ounces of tea to take to a housewarming, and it's an easy gift to give when traveling. Not only is the selection of tea great, but they have a nice selection of tea accessories, too."

-- David Dennis, RCKNDY

"I like to send complete dinners from Omaha Steaks or beautiful fruit arrangements from Edible Arrangements. These are always a hit with friends and family."

-- Nancy Strauss, Imagine

I like to explore local consignment and antique shops for something special and unique. I also enjoy the art of gift wrap and making my own homemade cards for the holidays. I truly believe it's all in the details, from the outside to the gift within."

-- Daren Miller, And Beige

"My favorite gifts are those created by my kids. I often roll up pictures or have them framed and send them to family members, particularly grandparents."

-- Kimberly Putens, Bellacara

"Every year I make batches of homemade chocolate walnut fudge and spiced nuts -- both of which are my mother's recipes -- and give them to friends and neighbors."

-- Christine Finnie, Whimsical Galerie

"One of my favorite places to buy gifts for my 20-something kids and my staff is, which has a wonderful selection of specialty products produced in the Pacific Northwest by artists including Nikki McClure, who does amazing paper silhouettes."

-- Judy Philactos, Periwinkle

"For a special piece of clothing, jewelry or a trinket for your house, we love Twigs in Purcellville. It's important to give something that someone would love to have but would never purchase for themselves. When I want to do that for my sister or girlfriends, I go to L'Occitane in Tysons for yummy creams and soaps."

-- Suzanne Eblen, Old Lucketts Store

"I like to patronize the boutiques and mom-and-pops that surround my stores. Some of my favorites in Bethesda are Bella Italia and Bundles of Cookies. In Rockville, I like the Cottage Monet and Toy Kingdom. For books, I like Politics and Prose, especially for kids' books; they havesuch a knowledgeable staff."

-- Deborah Simon, The Waygoose Redux

"If I had to pick a favorite shop, it would be Red Barn Mercantile in Old Town Alexandria. I'm always inspired by Amy [Rutherford's] selection of vintage pieces and the way she displays her merchandise."

-- Angela Phelps, Le Village Marché

© 2010 The Washington Post Company