The pressure is on at the end of the semester, and not just because of final exams – it’s time to face the daunting task of buying gifts for friends and family. Whether you’re shopping for an iPhone enthusiast, the music lover with a penchant for obscure bands or the wild card friend, get inspiration from The Hatchet’s gift guide.
FOR THE TECHIE
Digits conductive finger pads, $11.99 for a pack of four
Frigid weather forces you to bring out your gloves, which, as we all know, can get in the way of the beloved pastime of texting on your touchscreen. But you no longer have to replace your favorite gloves with a pair specifically made for texting (let’s be real, these tend to be pretty ugly). Digits makes any pair of gloves touchscreen-friendly. These conductive finger pads are inserted into and pinned to the fingers of your gloves.
180s Tec Fleece with Headphones, $35
The winter brings a compromise for music lovers: either sacrifice sweet tunes to maintain feeling in their ears, or bear the cold with a pair of Beats. Hats further complicate already uncomfortable headphones, not to mention their destructive effects on hair. To solve this dilemma, 180s, the company known for its collapsible ear warmers, has come up with Tec Fleece with Headphones. These ear muffs double as high definition headphones and a microphone, for listening to music and chatting on the phone in icy weather.
Urban Outfitters, 3111 M St. NW
Urban Outfitters’ gift section is the perfect place to get that special techie in your life something great for his or her iPhone. For the self-obsessed, selfie-taking technology enthusiast, gift #TheSelfie, a remote shutter release gadget. Just plug it into any Apple product (iOS 5 or newer) and use the button to get perfect pictures every time. The cord is 4.5 feet long, so the selfie-lover can prop up their phone and maybe include you in a group photo.
FOR THE MUSIC FAN
Daytrotter Subscription, $32/year or $4/month
It’s undeniable that music junkies get their fix from knowing a band before everyone else does. Satisfy your friend’s highbrow thirst for new music with a gift membership to Daytrotter, a recording company that records live sessions with the best young, up-and-coming artists. For $32 dollars a year or $4 a month, members can live-stream and download any of the thousands of performances, with a hundred new recordings added every month. The site includes sessions with The Lumineers, Vampire Weekend, Mumford & Sons and Metric.
Vintage Band Christmas Ornaments, $20-$24
Crafty Sue Shop, Etsy
For those who lament the passage of vinyl and still view iPods with a measure of snobbishness and suspicion, an iTunes gift card isn’t going to cut it. These handmade ornaments made out of album covers and record jackets – found on Etsy – are perfect for the music lover on your list. These one-of-a-kind ornaments (seriously, there’s only one available of each artist) have an ornament for everyone’s favorite classic rock band, ranging from Fleetwood Mac and Elvis Presley to Hall and Oates.
Concert tickets are a guaranteed win for music lovers, especially at the legendary 9:30 Club. With a new EP, “Chasing Twisters,” Americana folk rock group Delta Rae is Time Magazine’s band to watch, a group defined by bellowing vocals and soulful lyrics. Or check out the peppy, frenzied rock of Los Campesinos! for a fun, dance-heavy show. For friends enamored with the ’90s, Broken Bells, the convergence of indie rock staples James Mercer of the Shins and Brian Burton, better known by his stage moniker Danger Mouse, will bring their dreamy synth sound to D.C., leading crowds with their best-known single “The High Road.”
FOR THE FOODIE
After Popbar, you will never look at Dunkin’ Donuts’ Peppermint Mocha the same way. When shopping for a chocolate connoisseur, ditch the festive mugs and cocoa blends in favor of Popbar’s Hot Chocolate on a Stick. These rich pops come in three flavors, including dark, milk, and vanilla white chocolate. Even the most novice of chefs can transform these chocolate chunks into delicious cups of cocoa – the only additional ingredient you need is milk. For your favorite chocoholic, order a 12-pack.
“Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo’s Most Unlikely Noodle Joint”
Metro Center Barnes and Noble
It’s no easy task to select a creative “foodie” gift for someone who is already on the pulse of food industry trends. This year you can stay one step ahead and pick up “Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo’s Most Unlikely Noodle Joint” – and no, this isn’t the same bulk ramen you picked up at Costco. Any well-versed foodie has heard of the now infamous ramen noodle hamburger buns, but how many know about the ramen shop that took Japan by storm in 2007? “Ivan Ramen” offers a behind-the-scenes look at Ivan Orkin, the Long Island native who was the first foreigner to win over Tokyo with his ramen recipes. It also provides step-by-step instructions to recreate some of his most popular dishes.
Pie pop kit
Tasty cake pops and their whimsical themed packages have saturated the market, from Starbucks to Martha Stewart. For foodies looking to get more creative, or those who inexplicably find cake “too rich,” order a Tovolo brand pie pop kit from Amazon. This easy-to-use kit prepares eight miniature pies at one time and can also be used as a serving platter. Spend a few extra dollars on the extra heart- and star-shaped pie pops molds because really, if you’re going to make a miniature pie, it’s best to go all out.
BEST D.C. GIFT VENDORS
225 7th St. SE
Teeming with vendors on the weekends, Eastern Market is a perfect place to find arts and crafts created by D.C. artists. Sculptures, paintings, jewelry, crafts and vintage items fill the tents. It’ll be easy to find a unique piece of jewelry for mom or a fun piece of art for your best friend at the dozens of vendors featured at the market. There are still a few weekends left to go scrounge up some one-of-a-kind gifts at the market, which is open Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
When simply giving cash as a holiday gift becomes boring, spice it up with a sheet of uncut, uncirculated currency. One-dollar sheets start at $16.25, with prices increasing as the size of the bills increases. The sheets come in various sizes, which also alters the price. And while these fliers of money are virtually unusable, they make a great inexpensive collectible or conversation starter.
The Gallery Shops
National Gallery of Art
While the art that hangs in at the National Gallery is priceless, the basement gift shop offers much more affordable works of art. Full of countless prints of famous artwork, art-inspired apparel, and fun toys and gadgets, the Gallery Shops is the go-to place for gifts. Be sure to check out the East Building and West Building shops, as each carries a unique inventory relating to the different collections. The East Building shop features a District-themed section as well as holiday ornaments, including a red, white and blue star that says “Washington, D.C.” without looking like a tacky monument-shaped knick-knack.
MISCELLANEOUS GIFTS FOR THE WILD CARD
737 7th Street NW
3111 M Street NW
Marled Cable-Knit Eternity Scarf, $34
If vintage records, oversized sweaters and ironic t-shirts are the marks of hipster culture, then Urban Outfitters is the mecca. Thankfully, your pilgrimage won’t be more than 1.2 miles. Urban has everything you need to please your hipster buddies, from stocking stuffers like moustache straws and Lisa Frank stickers to gifts that keep on giving, like a vintage, polaroid-style camera and film. This year, pick the Marled Cable-Knit Eternity Scarf, a unisex present here just in time for the chilly winter weather. Get it in either navy or black and white (or both) for $34 and cozy up with this Urban Outfitters exclusive.
Mason Jar Mug, $14.95
3019 M Street NW
Georgetown’s Paper Source may seem like an ordinary stationery store, but inside you’ll find the shop is filled with table upon table of quirky gadgets, mugs, books and accessories – a true crafty-hipster haven. Along with bacon-flavored candy canes and a Nutella cookbook, the store also offers Mason jar mugs, a take on the rising trend of drinking out of Ball canning jars (it just tastes better that way). Gift this travel mug to your favorite and let your friend enjoy that tea – up to 20 ounces of it – in style. Don’t get the whole Mason jar fad? You’ll find something here for even the pickiest friend, so head on over and don’t sweat it. Moustache beer mugs, anyone?
Chatsworth Sunglasses, $45
3025 M St. NW and 1090 F St. NW
Don’t forget the last stop on the hipster list: American Apparel. Here you’ll find everything you need to put together the perfect gift, from chiffon head scarves to old-school backpacks, plaid bowties, and more. Check out the Chatsworth Sunglasses, a wayfarer-style, chic pair perfect for any season or attire. The store’s entire collection of “deadstock vintage” eyewear was manufactured between the 1960s and ’90s has never before been shelved (meaning you’ve probably never heard of them). Don’t miss the company’s online Holiday Bargain Sale, with items ranging from $5 to $15. Receive free shipping on all online orders over $50, or head on over to one of the store’s two D.C. locations, both roughly a mile away from Foggy Bottom.