Correction: An earlier version of this guide gave the incorrect title for Melissa Ho. She is curator of 20th-century art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, not the Renwick Gallery. This version has been corrected.
Ever want to peek at a celebrity’s gift list? For the curious — and those in need of a few holiday ideas — we tracked down some of Washington’s tastemakers and trendsetters. We asked them: What do you want for the holidays? What would you like to give? Their answers might surprise you.
TO GIVE: I would give an art design kit. Pencils, pens, papers, just things an artist would need. I respect the artistry of a lot of stuff. Just give them the basics to create something simple. You don’t even need to go all-out. All an artist really needs is a pen and paper and somewhere to put their ideas. It all started, definitely, before I could afford my laptop — I started putting stuff on paper. Royal and Langnickel Sketching and Drawing Artist Set for Beginners, $16.99. amazon.com.
TO GET: I want a new longboard. Don’t tell my general manager. I have one, but I left it back home. I’ve been boarding since high school. I longboarded to school every day — down hills in Las Vegas, up hills around the town. I like trying new things and learning. I just fell in love with trying new tricks and just getting the balance right. Dusters x Grateful Dead Bertha 35-inch Pintail Longboard Complete, $219.95. zumiez.com.
TO GIVE: I would give this book to any Washingtonian who was foolish enough to miss the extraordinary Robert Irwin exhibition at the Hirshhorn this summer. The magic of Irwin’s phenomenological art is notoriously difficult to convey in either photographs or words, yet Hankins’s cogent prose makes the story of his breakthrough years both accessible and exhilarating. “Robert Irwin: All the Rules Will Change” by Evelyn C. Hankins, $35.90. amazon.com.
TO GET: I love the classic Californian design of Heath Ceramics. Their pieces are elegant and down-to-earth, and feel great in the hand. I have one of their lidded containers, and it makes me happy every time I see it on the kitchen counter. All the Heath glazes are so beautiful, and this foursome means not having to choose just one. Winter seasonal bud vase set, $104. heathceramics.com .
TO GIVE: Almost everyone I know is obsessed with all the yummy things at Meats & Foods in Shaw. And they have the best swag ever. I’d put together a package of their sausages (my faves are the salt-and-pepper chicken, the half-smoke and their bratwurst), along with a T-shirt (the hot dog putting condiments on itself!) and one of their rad new yellow koozies. Half-smokes, brats and salt-and-pepper chicken sausage links, each four for $10. T-shirt, $17. Koozie, $3. meatsandfoods.com.
TO GET: On my rare days off, I find that I feel most relaxed when I’m at home cooking food for my family. It makes me feel normal, and it reminds me of why I fell in love with food in the first place. I’m rarely able to go to the grocery store or farmers market. A CSA [community-supported agriculture] subscription would help keep our kitchen stocked with fresh, seasonal goodies — and how cool to get a CSA share from a small farm in the District! Three Part Harmony Farm CSA family share, $400 per 12-week season, $225 for single-member share; price and season length subject to change. threepartharmonyfarm.com.
TO GIVE: I’d go over to the gift recipient’s house and cook them the first meal from a Blue Apron subscription while listening to one record on repeat. And that record is Buika’s “Niña de Fuego.” She’s from Spain and has this kind of dark voice. Depending on how each course is framed, then her voice will take on a different character. By the time you get to dessert, you’ll be so relaxed that you won’t talk anymore and just listen. Blue Apron subscription, one week at $59.94 for two people, $69.92 for four. blueapron.com. “Niña de Fuego” album by Buika, new and used from $3.58. amazon.com.
TO GET: Jelly Roll Morton recorded this at the Library of Congress. It’s him just talking about music, what it was like in New Orleans at the turn of the century, and all of his crazy tales about life there, from funerals to bar fights to love affairs. He plays music in between telling all these stories. “Complete Library of Congress Recordings” box set by jazz pianist Jelly Roll Morton, new and used from $94.89. amazon.com.
TO GIVE: A children’s book gift basket with some of my faves: “Zoe in Wonderland” by Brenda Woods, anything by Mo Willems, Debbie Levy and Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s “We Shall Overcome,” and this really cool novel called “The Crossover.” “I Dissent,” $13.88. “We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song,” $15.65. “Zoe in Wonderland,” $14.21. “Nanette’s Baguette,” $11.24. “The Crossover,” $10.36. amazon.com.
TO GET: I’d love to spend one week at Salamander Resort in Middleburg, Va., to just write, go to the spa, hang with my wife while someone watches my kid. Salamander Resort guest room, from $300 a night. Well-Being Massage, $150 for 50 minutes or $220 for 80. salamanderresort.com.
TO GIVE: I am a huge fitness enthusiast, and I love encouraging my girlfriends who share my enthusiasm. One thing that keeps me motivated is great-looking workout or athleisure wear, so I enjoy gifting pieces from my favorite brands, like Michi, Alo Yoga and Spiritual Gangster. I’m a big believer in supporting local business, so my first stop is always Sarween Salih’s impeccably curated selection at S3 Active. Koral Lustrous Legging, $95. Michi Bionic Bra, $95. 1274 Fifth St. NE. s3active.co.
TO GET: I love the idea of custom clothing, but while haute couture is not in my immediate future, a CEO skirt from local designer Betsy Garcete Cohen could well be. It’s definitely an investment piece, but like a little black dress, a pencil skirt should be a staple in any woman’s wardrobe. It’s an empowering and flattering silhouette that never goes out of style. What makes this piece worth the price is that you get to select the fabric and lining, and the skirt is then made by local tailors based on your measurements. CEO skirt, $499. zophiaonline.com.
TO GIVE: I enjoy giving luxuries one might not buy for oneself. Like beautiful flowers! Everyone loves to have flowers, and there is no better time than a holiday, when they may have visitors. Barbara Hamilton of Ociana has a flower package for six dates of your choice. $175-$550 per arrangement, Washington-area delivery. facebook.com/OcianaGroup. ociana.net.
TO GET: Luxurious soaps are a practical luxury. I love Rancé soaps and always put a fresh bar in guest rooms. It’s an ancient product made for kings and queens of France. My two favorite scents are Le Roi Empereur for men and Joséphine for ladies. My maternal grandmother always used these old-fashioned soaps. Her skin smelled like that when she hugged me. The Roi is spicy, and Joséphine is a soft floral.
Box of six Rancé soaps, $68. europerfumes.com .
TO GIVE: I like things to be practical and well thought-out. I would say that is quintessentially Swiss. I would gift someone a Swiss Army knife, a useful gift in many ways: You can use it to cook (knife), to repair (screwdriver), to open (bottle opener) or to smooth (nail file). It is compact, useful and, in the spirit of Swiss design, beautiful to look at. Victorinox Swiss Army Spartan II pocketknife, $16.99. Victorinox Swiss Army EvoWood 17 Swiss Army knife, $54.97. amazon.com.
TO GET: The other day I found this very interesting book about American history. As I am an avid reader and highly interested in history and historical events, especially when it comes to the United States, this book caught my attention immediately. It’s an intriguing idea to discover and follow the history of America through visual objects. “The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects,” $50. smithsonianstore.com.
These answers have been edited for length and clarity. Prices are subject to change. Emily Codik, Maura Judkis, Jura Koncius, Kelyn Soong, Megan McDonough, Kendra Nichols and Timothy R. Smith contributed to this guide.