Struggling with what to get your friends or significant other for the holidays? We’ve broken down the people in your life – the athlete, artist, chef, techie – to guide you toward the best gift at every price level. No last-minute gift cards or generic scarves needed.
Gifts for the health nut
Riley Londres | Hatchet Reporter
Here are gifts for the friend or family member who loves 8 a.m. jogs or blocks out time in his or her planner to go to Soul Cycle.
PDO Sporteer Classic Armband for iPhone 6
With the recent introduction of the iPhone 6, chances are your loved one is in need of a new armband to keep his or her tunes in place while working out. This armband is simple with a moisture barrier to keep devices dry and a pocket to hold keys, credit cards and cash, so you won’t need to shove them in your shoes or strategically stick them in your sports bra. It comes in two different sizes: small/medium and medium/large.
CitySports, 1111 19th St. NW
Women’s UA Storm Brave The Run Gloves
Men’s UA ColdGear Infrared Storm Strive Run Gloves
$34.99, Under Armour Brand House
The cold weather hit us fast and early this year, and it seems like it’s here to stay. But don’t let the chill cause you or a friend to forgo your favorite activities, like running or biking outdoors. Under Armour Brand House’s gloves for men and women are warm, repel water and have touch-screen fingertips, so the cold is no longer an excuse to skip a run. Plus, snowball fights and ice skating can remain on the winter to-do list.
$59.95 to $249.95, CitySports
Fitbit is a new product that is rapidly gaining popularity: Just clip or wear this device on your wrist to keep track of daily activity. It can calculate how many steps you’ve taken, number of calories burned and distance traveled, and even monitors how well you slept by recording your hours snoozing and movements made while asleep. All of these specs are then uploaded to your computer or iPhone, letting you know where you stand in your fitness goals. Each Fitbit comes in a different color that can be swapped out. This is an ideal gift for anyone who is looking to accomplish a fitness goal or simply wants to keep track of regular workouts.
CitySports, 1111 19th St. NW
$115 to $200, Niketown
Shoes can be the most important part of an outfit, for both men and women, and sometimes finding the perfect pair of shoes to give to someone seems impossible. NikeID shoes let you, or your loved one, customize the exact pair of shoes he or she wants, from casual to athletic, either in stores or online.
Niketown, 3040 M St. NW
Gifts for the aspiring chef
Rachael Paul | Hatchet Reporter
Got a friend obsessed with the kitchen? You know who I mean – the one who insists on spicing up ramen with fresh veggies, raves about the latest deal at Trader Joe’s and dedicates an hour to grocery shopping every week. Give them the gift of cuisine.
Spices and tea
$3 to $25, The Spice and Tea Exchange
The Spice and Tea Exchange is a goldmine when shopping for the novice chef who wants to liven up plates like a pro. Every inch of this store is filled with shelves of jars containing delectable blends of hand-mixed meat rubs, exotic loose-leaf teas and specialty salts. Spices are sold individually in one-to-four-ounce bags or two-to-three-ounce grinders, with prices varying by item. If you’re having a rough time choosing one item over another, you can purchase a combination of three one-ounce bags for about $14. If you are completely overwhelmed and don’t mind paying a little extra ($30 to $50), The Spice and Tea Exchange offers pre-assembled holiday gift arrangements.
The Spice and Tea Exchange, 1069 Wisconsin Ave. NW and 320 King St., Alexandria, Va., Suite 112
$45 to $50, Hill’s Kitchen
Kitchenware supply store Hill’s Kitchen offers cooking 101 classes like “Basic Knife Skills” ($50), which covers everything from techniques to storage. Others teach how to make dishes like Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake and Hawaiian Pineapple with Sabionne and Chocolate Drizzle ($45) or Bruschetta and Salmon Mousse hors d’oeuvres ($50). A newly added vegetarian index is featured on the store’s website to specify which classes are vegetarian, vegetarian friendly or not vegetarian.
Hill’s Kitchen, 713 D St. SE
$24, Foodie Dice
Similar to an author, a chef will experience “cook’s block” at some point in his or her career. For inspiration, Foodie Dice has cooking methods, grain selections, herb choices, vegetable components and bonus ingredients engraved on wooden cubes. Simply roll the dice and challenge yourself to whatever meal fate decides – the perfect gift for an aspiring chef who doesn’t know where to begin or who’s looking for a fun way to create new dishes.
Gifts for the visual artist
Mariya Tikhonova | Hatchet Reporter
From studio time to DIY projects, we’ve got your shopping list for artsy, paint-loving and aesthetically-oriented friends and family.
Poppies Flower Kit
$18, Paper Source
Artistic pragmatists will enjoy this small, decorative novelty. Kits come with pre-cut flower shapes, floral wire and floral tape to make 12 brightly colored poppies. Assembly is quick and simple, and the final product is adorable, making it the perfect gift for a friend who loves flowers but can’t keep them alive. They can be used as decorations to liven up a dull space or as dainty additions to art projects.
Paper Source, 3019 M St. NW
Jamming Paint + Drink Package
$33 to $42 per lesson, Artjamz D.C.
Practice makes perfect – aspiring artists will only appreciate and benefit from a chance to work on their trade. Those painters 21 or older can swap out the traditional studio session for one with drinks at ArtJamz. Each lesson is an hour and a half long and comes with your choice of a beer, a glass of wine, a cocktail or a non-alcoholic beverage. Prices begin at $33 and increase with canvas size. Sessions are centered on famous artists or type of alcohol (e.g. a Banksy session or a Pinot Noir session). They offer an array of other lessons, catering to all ages, skill levels and alcohol preferences. You can even bring a date for a “Paint and Sip Night.”
Artjamz D.C., 1742 Connecticut Ave. NW.
Let’s Travel Coloring Mural
Anthropologie has no shortage of beautiful decorative pieces for any home. One such piece is the “Let’s Travel Coloring Mural.” This 36-by-60-inch canvas is a large map of the world, with continent borders lightly sketched in black over a broad expanse of white. From there, it can be filled in, drawn or painted on and doodled all over. Let your artsy friend go crazy painting the world in a unique light, documenting travels or planning future trips.
Anthropologie, 3222 M St. NW
“Contemporary Street Arts in Europe: Aesthetics and Politics” by Susan C. Haedicke
$83.95, Barnes & Noble
For the artsy and informed, “Contemporary Street Art in Europe” is a good off-the-beaten-path gift. Artists and political junkies alike can enjoy exploring European politics through the world of street theatre and street art. Visuals in this book are accompanied by passages that describe social and political changes in Europe, and the implications of street art and street theatre in those countries. Plus, Barnes & Noble has a handy marketplace where you can buy a used copy of the book for $52.89.
Barnes & Noble, 555 12th St. NW
Gifts for the outdoorsy friend
Everly Jazi | Hatchet Staff Writer
You may have never seen the columns at the National Arboretum or gone hiking in Rock Creek Park, but your outdoorsy friends are sure to have explored the abundant natural beauties of the D.C. area. Help them find their niche amid the bustling city streets with these gifts for the nature lover.
“Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed
$9.62, Barnes & Noble
You’ve probably seen the trailer for the upcoming film, “Wild,” starring Reese Witherspoon or heard about the book from Oprah’s Book Club 2.0. “Wild” is the memoir of a boundary-pushing woman determined to make meaning of hard times by backpacking through desert and snowy mountains on the Pacific Crest Trail. Author Cheryl Strayed’s honest, funny and tough story will make your nature-hungry friends book a ticket to the Mojave as soon as they read the last word. What better way to spend a backpacking trip than laughing at Strayed’s anecdotes while in a cozy tent, listening to the critters?
Go with the paperback edition so your friend can tear the book and discard finished pages while backpacking to decrease the weight he or she carries, just like Strayed did on her trip.
Barnes & Noble, 555 12th St. NW.
$22.95, Byer Traveller Lite Hammock at REI
If you are lucky, on a spring day in University Yard you’ll see someone reading a textbook in a hammock. Your friends are always saying they wish they could do the same when it’s warm and sunny. Make that wish come true with a quality hammock. While they wait for spring, your friends can try it out in their dorms.
REI, 3509 Carlin Springs Road, Falls Church, Va.
DMV Camping Trip
It’s easy to pick your comforter over the Shenandoah woods or horseback riding in Patapsco Valley as the temperatures begin to drop. But if you have a best friend that constantly asks if you want to go hiking or sleeps in a 20-degree sleeping bag for fun, give the gift of nature. Plan your friend’s dream vacation within reach, and simplify the process by renting gear from GW TRAiLS.
Shenandoah National Park, Va.
Chesapeake Bay, D.C.
Patapsco Valley State Park, Md.
C&O Canal National Historic Park, D.C.
Prince William Forest Park, Va.
GW TRAiLS, Center for Student Engagement at the Marvin Center, Suite 505.
Gifts for the thrift shopper
Jeanine Marie | Hatchet Staff Writer
Thrift shopping is not as easy as adding presents to a virtual shopping cart, but don’t let the hours of dedicated searching or the idea of wrapping up something “old” turn you off. Knick knacks, cool gems and interesting finds are a fun way to get personal with your presents this year.
At Smash! you’ll find the perfect gift for the alt rock oddball in your life. This store is a speciality shop with an extensive selection, so be prepared to sift through a diverse punk, indie and alt rock record collection and dig around for a few reasonably priced, vintage band tees. Smash! has been a staple in Adams Morgan since 1984, but they’ve made some of their vinyls available online. Check out the records, which average between $15 and $40, before you hit the shop.
2314 18th St. NW., second Floor, open seven days a week, hours vary.
Junction is vintage-lite: shoppers will not see the loose threads, sweat stains or inconsistent sizes they may expect at the average second-hand shop. Instead, you can expect racks of mostly 80s and 90s vintage organized by color and size, carefully curated by Shannan Fales.
Fales became the sole owner of the store in 2005, and has since doubled Junction’s selection without losing its sleek aesthetic. A vintage sweater or pair of jeans will set you back $20 to $50. Be sure to check out the shop’s large collection of authentic leather cowboy boots for the Western soul, which are about $100 a pair.
1510 U St. NW, closed Monday and Tuesday, hours vary.
Mom N’ Pop Antiques
The aisles of unique antiques at Mom N’ Pop ensure you’ll find an odd or an end for everyone on your list. The $1,350 King Tenor saxophone or the pink, 19th-century velvet sofa listed on the website may not be what you’re looking for, but in store, Mom N’ Pop has almost too much to wade through, with prices starting at just 50 cents. Colorful pottery, vintage desk lamps, record players and new, quirky items make the store worth the trek to Park View.
3534 Georgia Ave. NW., open Thursday through Monday, noon to 6 p.m.
Gifts for the significant other
Tatiana Cirisano | Contributing Culture Editor
Holiday shopping for the significant other in your life can be stressful, especially when your relationship status isn’t black and white. But whether you’re high school sweethearts, just starting to get serious, long-distance lovers or just met on Tinder, we’ve got the gift for your you-know-who.
For the crush: Upgrade Dinner-And-A-Movie at Angelika
If you’re not quite in the gift-giving stage but still want to do something special for your crush, head to Angelika pop-up theatre at Union Market for a twist on the classic dinner-and-a-movie date. The indie film hub offers a selection of independent films ($11 per ticket, $8 matinee) that you can watch while noshing on shareable snacks named after films. Order up a “Tropic Thunder” (prosecco, Route 11 BBQ chips and pineapple cotton candy) or “Where the Wild Things Are” (Wild Thing Zinfandel, espresso chocolate chip cookies and a Chuau Chocolatier Firecracker bar), both $27.
For the new girlfriend or boyfriend: MIANSAI bracelet
Looking for the first piece of jewelry to gift your significant someone? Miami-based brand MIANSAI offers handmade accessories for guys and girls in a variety of customizable styles. Order one of the company’s popular wraparound bracelets, where you choose the hardware (hook or anchor closing), finish (silver plated, sterling silver, rose gold, gold plated, etc.) and strap (leather, rope or even shark skin). Prices range from $55 to $160, depending on customized options. Not only does the bracelet go with everything, but it looks great on guys and girls alike, so you can go ahead and buy a matching one for yourself, too.
For the long-term relationship: Take a mini-vacation
Instead of buying an item for your long-term love, offer a thoughtful experience instead. Sign up for a car2go ($84.99 per day maximum) or hop on a train from Union Station and take a break from Foggy Bottom with a day trip to a nearby destination. Charlottesville, Va. is just a two-and-a-half-hour drive away, and you can sip vintage wines at Barboursville Vineyards or tour the stunning house and gardens at Monticello.
For the long-distance relationship: Customized photobook
If you can’t visit your long-distance girlfriend or boyfriend this holiday season, don’t panic. With Mixbook, you can customize an entire photo album online to be delivered straight to your significant other’s doorstep. You choose the style, upload the photos and add your own captions to customize each page – you even get to choose the paper. Photobooks start at $19.99 for an 8.5-inch square book.
Bonus: The website offers a holiday discount (up to 40 percent off) with the code HLDY14.
Gifts for the book lover
Jeanine Marie | Hatchet Staff Writer
Tech gifts like hi-def headphones, fancy cameras or a premium Spotify subscription are reliable safeties. But hunting for the little literary things you won’t find at Staples is the best way to get personal with your presents this year.
Check out these local bookshops for notebooks, funny cards, stationery and books before you head back to your hometown:
Idle Time Books
Adams Morgan’s local fixture, Idle Time, advertises as a “current, used and out of print” bookshop, but the little store with a green facade holds much more.
The bookstore recently acquired copies of “The Evergreen Review.” The counterculture mag’s first edition in 1957 contained an essay by Jean-Paul Sartre and an interview with jazz legend Baby Dodds. The editions, which feature authors like Burroughs and artists like Dali, cost $15.
Gifts for the less literary folks in your life could include records, CDs or rare comic books.
Idle Time is also notorious for its greeting card selection at the front of the store. There are humorous birthday cards and inappropriate holiday greetings to scandalize your most politically correct relatives before they unwrap their gifts.
The yellowed newspaper clippings and “no cellphone” reminders hanging on the walls remind shoppers that Idle Time opened its doors in 1981, and it’s not going to change anytime soon.
On your way out, remember to snag a book from the sidewalk cart for just $1.
2467 18th St. NW, open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.
Upshur Street Books
Since its opening Nov. 1, this fledgling bookshop has already made a name for the literary selection between its bright green walls.
For the writer on your list, there are handmade journals bound by local artists, as well as colorful Moleskine notebooks. Journals are about $15 each, but prices vary considerably.
Designs by local artists are featured on greeting cards sold for $3 to $5 near checkout. And for those with a little more time to dig around, Upshur has a collection of modern zines.
For little witch or wizard fans (OK, or yourself) head to the Hogwarts Library Collection, which includes “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” “Quidditch Through the Ages” and “The Tales of Beedle the Bard.”
827 Upshur St. NW, closed Mondays, hours vary.
Second Story Books
When you walk into Second Story, the first thing you notice won’t be books. It will be a large, gold Buddha bust sitting on top of a bookshelf. On the walls, there are dozens of framed photographs and art.
The best part? It’s all for sale.
Your roommate will love Second Story’s vintage-aesthetic posters, which are stacked on top of a dozens of coffee table books just waiting to be wrapped. There’s an art and antiques gallery with gems like a Titanic poster for $100 and original black-and-white photographs of actors like Edward Everett Horton and Dorothy Gish.
For the holiday season, the store even has a small section of reasonably-priced vinyl records. It also offers book repairs and rebinding.
2000 P St. NW, open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.