The key to finding the most memorable and thoughtful gifts for the holidays may be shopping local. Whether you want to give something that shows off your D.C. pride, hunt for handmade goods from a variety of vendors, get a gift that also does some good in the world or present someone with an experience they’ll never forget, the District area has plenty of options. In the spirit of giving, here’s our shopping guide to help you find gifts that will not only impress your friends and family, but also support some of D.C.’s small businesses and the community.
Washington, wrapped up
The Anthem onesie
The Anthem is still relatively new in town; so is that future rocker who’s going to look so hip sporting the music venue’s recently released onesie (which cleverly says, “New in town” on the back). This kid, clearly, will grow up to the sweet lullabies of past Anthem performers Dave Grohl and Bob Dylan. The $15 outfit, available at The Anthem or online, will help bide the time until a few holidays from now, when you can deliver the young one’s first concert tickets. 901 Wharf St. SW; theanthemdc.com.
Metro’s D.C. Metro map puzzle
You’ve puzzled over the Metro; in this season of sharing, extend that experience to your friends and family. Maybe together, you can finally solve the riddle that is the Metro … at least in 500-piece-jigsaw-puzzle form. Get it from the National Building Museum’s gift shop ($18) or Metro’s online store ($17), and maybe in return, Metro itself will gift us with a peaceful 2019. 401 F St. NW; dcmetrostore.com.
Shop Made in DC’s gift boxes
Indecisive sorts, here’s your surefire hit: At Dupont-based Shop Made in DC, choose from among 11 signature boxes, each stuffed with made-in-D.C. products and delicacies (prices start at $40). Or ask a staffer to curate a crate based on theme and budget. Co-founder Stacey Price recommends the Three Stars Two Bars box ($90), which includes goodies like D.C. coasters, a tumbler, a tea towel and chocolate-covered Oreos from The Capital Candy Jar. 1330 19th St. NW; shopmadeindc.com.
Alexander Ovechkin 2018 Stanley Cup Champions player bobblehead
Short of taking the man himself home for the holidays, you can’t do much better than gifting this miniature, slightly ridiculous version to your favorite Capitals fan from the NHL’s online shop ($39.99). Little Ovi is fun, sturdy and the ideal size for office shrines, er, desks. And just as memories of the 2018 championship won’t soon fade, bobbleheads remain in style, never failing to amuse and delight. shop.nhl.com.
Black Books Matter tee or tote from Mahogany Books
The Anacostia bookstore’s Black Books Matter T-shirts and totes are flying off the shelves, co-owner Ramunda Lark Young says. Treat your favorite reader to one of each (the shirt goes for $22, and a tote costs $14). Young theorizes that the merch — available online and in the store — is so popular because D.C. readers understand the “crucial significance of outward declaration” to help preserve black writers, stories, culture and history. 1231 Good Hope Road SE; mahoganybooks.com.
Presents with benefits
2019 calendar from Animal Welfare League of Alexandria
The perfect addition to any desk or office: photos of adorable animals to make a workspace look less drab. Puppies, cats, pigs, rabbits and more cute little critters from the D.C. area are all featured in the Animal Welfare League’s 2019 calendar, with proceeds benefiting the organization. Stop by the shelter to purchase a calendar for $15, or two for $20 if you want to give a gift to yourself. 4101 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria.
Candles from Freres Branchiaux Candle Co.
When the Gill brothers — Collin, 13, Ryan, 10, and Austin, 8 — started their candle business Freres Branchiaux last year, they had a burning desire. “We wanted to give back to the community because they give back to us,” Ryan says. The brothers donate 10 percent of each sale to various homeless shelters in the area, most recently Pathways to Housing DC. Their soy-based candles ($18-$25 each) come in a wide range of scents such as “Cherry Coco,” “Lavender Crush” and “Chunky Sweater” (scented with citrus, ginger, clove and more). You can find Freres Branchiaux products at select local shops and their online store. freresbranchiaux.com.
Treats from Together We Bake
For the friend with a sweet tooth, Together We Bake’s chocolate chip cookies, trail mixes, apple chips and granolas will satisfy any cravings. The treats ($2-$39.75) are made by students and employees of the nonprofit program, which provides cooking education and workforce training to women who’ve experienced homelessness or have been released from incarceration without any formal job experience. Proceeds from all sales directly benefit Together We Bake. Make sure to place your Christmas orders online by Dec. 19, or you can buy select snacks at shops around the D.C. area. togetherwebake.org.
Friends of the National Zoo membership
An annual membership to the National Zoo not only offers plenty of exclusive perks to your animal-loving friend, but it also aids the Smithsonian’s conservation efforts. Choose from three membership tiers ($84-$250) that come with benefits such as free parking, discounts on concessions and gift shop merchandise, invitations to members-only events and unlimited free rides at the park. (Memberships activate immediately — the recipient is sent a temporary card via email — and expire after one year.) 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW; nationalzoo.si.edu.
Silver Plume Tassel earrings from Kicheko Goods
Since Kicheko Goods launched in 2014, sales of the D.C. boutique’s stylish jewelry pieces have helped to fund education for children in Africa. Notably, the shop contributed to constructing a new school building in eastern Congo for students in need. Among the most eye-catching items in the store’s collection are the Silver Plume Tassels ($50), which come in three different colors and are versatile enough to be worn for any occasion. Purchase them online or stop by the Brookland-based store. 716 Monroe St. NE, Studio 3; kichekogoods.com.
Trapeze lessons at Trapeze School New York - Washington DC
“If someone has always wanted to run away and join the circus, this is a way to experience that,” says Laura Wooster, one of the trapeze instructors at Trapeze School New York’s D.C. location, next to Nationals Stadium. Classes range from $40 to $65, and there are courses in other skills, such as trampoline and acrobatics. All of the trapeze lessons begin with 15 minutes of ground work before you hop onto the bar. The courses are open to all levels, but newbies shouldn’t worry. “There is no competition in terms of what students are trying to do. You can progress at your own pace,” Wooster says. 1299 New Jersey Ave. SE; washingtondc.trapezeschool.com.
A custom D.C. tour from Private Tours of Washington
Got in-laws coming to town? Give yourself the gift of getting them out of the house for a while. Private Tours of Washington creates custom tours of D.C. and the surrounding areas — and custom means custom. The tours, which start at $480 for a three-hour tour for two people, aren’t just your usual “to the left, you see the White House” jaunts. “People come here with an obsession,” says Bill Thomas, the company’s founder and president. “It can be a historical figure, it can be the Civil War, the homes of the rich and famous. We’ve taken people to Senate hearings. There are a lot of ‘anythings’ in Washington to be interested in.” privatetoursofwashington.com.
Introductory flight lesson from the Navy Annapolis Flight Center
Know someone whose feet are never quite on the ground? Give him or her a trip into the air. While getting an actual license can take a while, an introductory trip with Navy Annapolis Flight Center gives the wannabe pilot a taste of flying. An hourlong intro flight with Frank Kennedy or one of his instructors runs $195 and is not just a tour — it’s a hands-on experience. “They’ll land the airplane,” Kennedy says of his riders. “Well, they think they do. It’s really 35 percent them and 65 percent the flight instructor." 3090 Solomons Island Road, Edgewater, Md.; nafcflying.org.
A boozy experience with The Whiskey Library
Sitting at home and drinking is always an option, but where’s the fun in that? The Whiskey Library will create a whiskey-based experience for nearly any group of people interested in every level of the liquor. It’ll cost $500 or more, depending on how many people attend and what you want to do — and you can do almost anything, including gathering at a local restaurant or even in your house. The cost also depends on the whiskeys you want to taste — though what you like might surprise you. “We do blind tastings where you can taste a $200 bottle of whiskey and a $40 of whiskey,” says Brian Thompson, the company’s co-founder. “And maybe you come to find out you’re really a cheap person and you should just stick with the $40 bottle if you like that.” whiskeylibrarydc.com.
A new car (kind of) from Drive Society
Drive Society is like Zipcar, only much flashier. Members get to drive a rotating roster of luxury cars — current autos on offer include a Ferrari 458 Italia, a 1969 Camaro and a Tesla Roadster 2.5 — so you can try before you don’t buy. Membership levels come with a certain number of points that drivers cash in to experience different types of cars (packages range from $2,000 to $12,000). You can drive the cars anywhere but a track — though there are daily mileage caps, so no speeding off to see the country. Best of all, if you don’t like one car, you can choose a different one the next week. “It’s unreasonable to buy 10 cars,” says Danielle Schefer, the company’s co-founder. “If you’re really a car enthusiast, this is the only way to really indulge your hobby." drivesocietydc.com.