13 Superlative Gifts From Independent Shops and Makers Around DC
Quick! Abandon that Amazon shopping cart and listen up!
The holidays are all about giving, and this year it’s more important than ever to put those hard-earned dollars to work, hitting two birds with one stone by shopping local.
We’ve all been feeling the effects of the pandemic, but local business owners are indisputably among those hit the hardest. So this year, opt for something made with TLC right in the heart of your own city, knowing that each purchase you make helps to support DC’s local economy and its many struggling independent businesses.
Luckily, we’ve made it easier than ever to gift intentionally this holiday season: all you have to do is use this handy dandy guide, full of various and sundry outposts where you can find anything from candles and booze sets to cookbooks and clothing. Happy holidays.
For the thirsty…
Don Ciccio & Figli Amaro Collection Gift Pack
Fourth-generation distiller Francesco Amodeo’s family hails from the charming land of the Amalfi Coast in western Italy. We therefore understand why his amaro is so delicious, added to the fact that he ages it all for 12 months in 250-liter French oak barrels. The bottles also include a resurrected recipe for Amaro Don Fernet that dates back to 1915. Gift any friend with a well-curated bar cart this three-part set of amari and watch them be impressed.
Shrub District Cocktails Vinegars
Online and in select shops
Don’t get intimidated when we tell you this local drink mixer is made with vinegar. A modern take on a colonial classic, shrub is actually what is considered a “drinking vinegar” made with fruits and herbs. Mix them in to make classic cocktails like a margarita or mojito, or create your own concoction with their flavors, like Blueberry Basil, Strawberry Dill and Don’s Old Fashioned.
La Famosa Bottle Cocktails
This stylish, newly opened Puerto Rican restaurant in Navy Yard has island-themed holiday gifts that’ll make you forget for a minute that you had to cancel that Hawaii trip back in June. They’ve partnered with local rum distiller Cotton & Reed to bottle Puerto Rico’s famous holiday cocktail, coquito. Coquito, meaning “little coconut,” is made with coconut, spices, milk and of course, rum. Bottles of the boozy concoction can be purchased at La Famosa and Cotton & Reed alone or paired with an assortment of traditional Puerto Rican cookies.
For the dapper…
Stitch & Rivet
Know someone who needs a new wallet? Stitch & Rivet is a small leather studio in Brookland with a tight team of five people. Besides handling corporate orders for hundreds of custom-branded leather goods, they also sell handcrafted bags, wallets and other leather accessories on their website.
U Street Corridor
This local, female and BIPOC-owned shop is the perfect pit stop for any of the ladies in your life, chock full of an eclectic mix of emerging designers and a hand-picked collection of unique pieces. The shop has everything from fashionable loungewear, which — let’s be honest — is all anyone is wearing right now, to jewelry, home accents and face masks.
Bailiwick Clothing Company
District pride runs deep with this locally owned clothing company from brothers JC and Jeff Smith. Their name comes from an Old English word meaning “a person’s particular area of interest or authority,” and theirs seems to be repping the city. From 202 hoodies to a limited-edition Madam Vice President shirt (an ode to Kamala Harris), Bailiwick is the spot to go for grabbing your friends or loved ones some DC gear.
For the bookworm…
Capitol Hill Books
Get the surprise and delight element of your gift down with “grab bags” of books from this local used-books shop. When Capitol Hill Books was forced to close its doors earlier this year, its owners thought of the clever idea to curate the grab bags for its quarantined customers, using their expert literary knowledge to put together what has now turned out to be thousands of packages of page-turners.
For the home chef…
Each Peach Market
This little culinary market was founded by two women who met in DC while working together on USAID projects in Africa. It’s a curated experience that makes finding the best local good easy and, dare we say, enjoyable? Check out their online shop for gift ideas, food-filled baskets and even a private holiday cheese class.
Lindera Farms Reserve Applejack Vinegar
For the cook that has every sauce in the book, we’ve got something new and different for them. Local vinegar maker Daniel Liberson grows, sources, forages and ferments everything involved in the culinary process of creating applejack vinegar on his farm in Delaplane, Virginia. With unique flavors from green peanut vinaigrette to butternut squash vinegar, you can find a bottle that’ll taste good on anything, from roasted vegetables to a scoop of ice cream.
For the music lover…
As we’ve witnessed the shuttering of beloved local music venues like U Street Music Hall, we’re reminded of the importance of supporting those that are still hanging on, and that will hopefully live long enough to see another act grace its stage. One of those venues is the iconic 9:30 Club, which has welcomed in some of the biggest names of music. The club and its sister locations such as the Anthem also have possibly the best holiday gift in the city right now: a framed concert print that can be customized with reproductions of a poster, ticket stub or photo from almost any show from 2005 to now.
If you’ve ever downed a coffee or watched a musical performance at Songbyrd, you’re already familiar with their brand. From the same team has come Byrdland Records, right down the street from Union Market. Their shop carries over 5,000 new and used vinyl records curated to the tastes of DC music lovers — including many from the local scene. Besides records, you can also find turntables, speakers and other music equipment there.
For all the good stuff in one place…
The Downtown Holiday Market
For those who have a long list this year and a much shorter span of time, stop by the Downtown Holiday Market, where you can browse the wares of more than 70 local exhibitors in one fell swoop.
The Hoptimist Market
Local brewery DC Brau has teamed up with the Heurich House Museum, which usually hosts a German-style Christmas market this time of year, to put together this convenient and hoppy online shop. Grab gifts for the whole family from this curated market of local goodies, from barware to ceramics and t-shirts.
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