Holiday Gift Guide 2022
Skip the big-box stores and shop local for everyone on your list. Check out these area makers and retailers.
For the perfect girlfriend gift, look no further than Falls Church artist Sabrina Cabada, whose bright, colorful portfolio includes vibrant paintings, prints ($150), notecards ($20) and hand-painted ornaments with names like April, Coco and Eloise ($50) celebrating the essence of the female spirit. Shop the artist’s latest creations online or stop by her studio (111 Park Place, Studio 2H, Falls Church) for a holiday open house and art market Dec. 2, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Dec. 3, noon – 3 p.m.
Mug It Up
Everyone needs a special mug, whether their beverage of choice is coffee, tea, cocoa or a hot toddy. These botanical beauties by Falls Church ceramicist Lindsey Augustine of Ware Clay ($44) take that cozy feeling to the next level. Find them at The Urban Farmhouse, along with plenty of other kitchen and entertaining essentials, home goods, seasonal ornaments and pretty things that make everyday life feel special.
Looking for a cool gift for your college student or sports fan—something they can’t find in the campus bookstore or stadium shop? Look no further than Bishop O’Connell alumna Grace Cook, now a graduate student at Villanova and seasonal employee at Two the Moon in Arlington’s Williamsburg Shopping Center. You specify the shoe style (Chucks or Vans) and the school/team and she’ll turn out a custom pair of kicks ($250) that literally have school or team spirit written all over them. Contact the store to place an order.
Arlington artisan Heather O’Hara makes fragrant soaps and candles that are sure to delight your olfactory senses. Lemon & Whim soaps ($10 each) are composed of vegan and cruelty-free ingredients, including naturally moisturizing avocado and almond oils, and include new holiday scents such as the outdoorsy “Fir Sure” and invigorating “Peppermintini.” Soy-wax candles ($28) come in such delectable aromas as “Seas the Day” and “Stay Golden.” Find Lemon & Whim online, as well as at local festivals and pop-up markets, and at Shop Made in Virginia in Alexandria and Shop Made in DC retail stores.
Your favorite office plant deserves a nice new home, whether it’s a scaly dragon planter ($34-$154) for your spiky dragon tree or an iridescent mermaid planter ($32-$64) for your mermaid tail succulent. Working out of his Arlington home, John Azinheira dreams up 3-D printed pots in a range of textures and colors for his Etsy shop PrettyPrintedPots. Find a petite planter for your smallest cactus ($6-$15) or a big base for a towering fiddle leaf fig ($48-$154). PrettyPrintedPots are also available at PLNTR in D.C. and Atlas Brewing, with Arlington locations to be announced. Online orders can be arranged for local pickups, too.
Celebrate the beach-lover in your life with ocean-inspired pieces by Irene Weinz Jewelry. The Colombia-born artist lived in various coastal areas before she moved to the DMV. Those seascapes are reflected in her designs, from wideband rings that recall the tidemarks in sand ($200-$3,500) to spiky sea urchin earrings ($130-$950). Committed to ethical and sustainable practices, Weinz uses recycled silver and gold from responsible artisanal and certified small-scale mining organizations. Find her handcrafted creations at JewelersWerk Galerie in Georgetown and Shop Made in VA.
Stuff those stockings with creative condiments by Falls Church-based Disturbingly Delicious Foods. Creator Dave Forbes makes his artisanal sauces using only healthy, natural ingredients without additional salts, sugars, or fats. Enjoy a sweet and savory Watermelon Sriracha Hot Sauce ($12) or take it up a few hundred notches with the Lightly Fermented Ghost and Scorpion Pepper Sauce ($12). Find these and other faves—from Classic Kalechup (made with kale, of course) ($8) to Fig Cognac Truffle Hot Sauce ($12)—at area retailers such as Arrowine & Cheese, Harvey’s, the Falls Church Farmers Market and Shop Made in VA.
Bag it Up
Local cyclist, outdoorsman and entrepreneur Isaac Richardson designs and hand-sews rugged, durable bags in his Arlington studio. Voyager Bag Works wares come in a variety of sizes and price points—including backpacks (starting at $265), totes ($95-$150), hip packs ($60) and Dopp kits ($65). Created with either waterproof waxed canvas or Ecopack fabric (upcycled water bottles), these bags are designed to get you through your journey, whether you’re hiking through the mountains or commuting into the concrete jungle.
No More Ugly Holiday Sweaters
Family-owned boutique Lemoncello is an Arlington go-to for its classic women’s wear, darling children’s clothes and fashionable accessories. For a put-together take on athleisure wear, co-owner Nicole Kahle recommends pairing the Spanx AirEssentials pullover ($118) and taper pants ($110), both of which are currently listed among Oprah’s favorite things. For Netflix-binging in style, throw on the pink “Champagne Please” sweater from Wooden Ships ($138), cuddle under a super soft Barefoot Dream throw blanket ($168) and serve up a snackable spread on the locally-made Crazy Raven Woodworking cheese board ($78).
Highlighted in Vogue, Elle and The Strategist, Arlington-based Antik Lakay expertly blends soy and coconut wax with essential oils for subtle, mood-enhancing aromatherapy. Named after virtues and moods, including Lust, Victory, Growth, and Serenity, the candles ($42) come in frosted white glass holders and burn up to 60 hours. The best-selling Love candle has romantic notes of jasmine, amber oud and lily of the valley (muguet). The holiday-scented Noël is a medley of raspberry, fir needle and cinnamon.
Inspired by conversations with friends and family, inside jokes, pop culture and those little “if you know, you know” moments in life, Arlington designer Beth Roszkowski creates irreverent stationery, greeting cards ($4.50), “dumpster fire” stickers ($3) and “Mercury in retrograde” enamel pins ($12) under the name Tiny Hooray. Her current bestseller is the Horrible Meeting Bingo Notepad ($8), “fortunately for Tiny Hooray, unfortunately for everyone who has a need for it,” deadpans the artist. For the holidays, there are Hanukkah and Christmas cards ($4.50), the “holiday-weary” pen set for writing out endless lists and cards ($12), and cute sticker tags perfect for gifts ($5). Find the goods at Covet, Shop Made in VA, Penny Post and Bards Alley.
With 15 DMV locations, Compass Coffee has just the beverage for cozy mornings by the fire. This year’s Holiday Blend, a dark roast with spicy notes ($16.99 for 12 oz.), is your ticket to a mug full of energy. For a holiday gift set, pick up a 3-tin combo of locally roasted beans, or pair a tin of the Holiday Blend with a coffee grinder (each valued at $50).
Get It Together
If you or a loved one has a New Year’s resolution to become more organized, Dotori Designs offers an array of stylish goods to help you do just that, including undated planners ($34) in earthy colors such as terracotta, sage and charcoal, and wellness stickers ($4 per pack) from “Adulting” (reminders to pay the rent or do laundry) to tracking how much water you’ve consumed or reflections on your emotional state. The McLean-based sticker and stationery purveyor (whose name means “acorn” in Korean) also designs cute anime and Animal Crossing vinyl stickers ($3-$5), Bentobox enamel pins ($10-$15), and French tote bags ($22). Très organisé!
Nothing to Truffle With
Arlington chocolatier Artisan Confections specializes in edible works of art with bonbons in holiday flavors like cannoli, tiramisu, Tahitian vanilla bean, Chile sea salt, and fan-favorite salted-butter caramel. Giftable boxes range from four pieces ($10) to family-sized sets of 30 ($59). For lovers of treats both salty and sweet, the Fleur de Sel Caramels (sea salt caramel dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with French sea salt) are $16 per dozen. The 15-piece Christmas Collection ($31) features gingerbread, candy cane, Mexican hot chocolate, cranberry-orange, and Black Forest truffles. Other wintery treats include chocolate-dipped orange slices, peppermint bark, peanut-butter-crunch truffles, and cashew brittle.
For the Little Ones
Every holiday season, there are “it” toys. (Think back to the Cabbage Patch dolls and Tickle Me Elmos of yore.) Which items are the hottest toys and games for 2022? The staff at Child’s Play! in Arlington have a few recs. Magna-Titles – Metropolis Set ($129.99) was designed by a Japanese math teacher to make teaching geometry a fun, hands-on experience. DJ Mix and Spin Studio ($40.99) creates an at-home DJ studio for your future Grammy winner. The Shashibo magnetic fidget cube ($25) can be manipulated into 70 different shapes, and the Arts and Craft Library ($45.99) has everything you need for a snow day activity—from friendship bracelet materials to pipe cleaners and pom poms—and a carrying case to tuck everything away. The Lollipop Lab ($20.99) engages young learners with math and science while making tasty treats, and M&M’s Package Plush ($34.99) looks like a big bag of candy, but contains plush pillows in all the M&M colors. Mind the Gap ($29.99) is a pop-culture trivia game designed for intergenerational teams. (Fun for everyone, from Boomers to Gen Zers.)
Certified tea master Elise Scot, who operates the microbusiness Pearl Fine Teas, shares some of her most popular seasonal steeps ($15.95 each for 2 oz.). Inspired by the medieval Dresden Christmas market, Marche de Noel Christmas Market Blend has notes of apple and cinnamon. German Gingerbread has sugar, spice and everything nice, while the New England Blend is a “weirdo” combination of peppercorn and maple with black blended teas. Tea-lovers will also find traditional and not-so-traditional takes on black, green, rooibos and flavored teas, including a line of herbal wellness teas. Shop Pearl Fine Teas at the Falls Church Farmers Market, holiday pop-up events, and retailers such as the Old Town Shop on Kings Street, Trace Waste in Vienna and Dent Place Market in Georgetown.
Gifts and Purpose
At ArlingtonWeaves Etc., a program of ServiceSource and the Arlington County Department of Human Services, adults with developmental disabilities become master craftspeople of woven products. The art of weaving is therapeutic, develops coordination and motor skills, and allows artists to become more confident as they express themselves through their handiwork. Visit the Etsy shop to purchase tote bags ($22–$60), as well as cosmetic pouches, lunch bags and small purses ($10–$15). Arlington Weaves also sells at various area markets and holiday pop-ups, where you’ll find winter scarves woven from Tencel, bamboo and/or cotton in a variety of vivid colors. Shoppers can also visit the program’s Arlington studio (2110 Washington Boulevard, Suite 301). Artisans receive 100% of the profits.
Master potter Scott Kaye has been crafting pretty ceramics for everyday use for more than 40 years, including dipping bowls ($22), large oval baking dishes with ribbon handles ($110), sturdy stoneware mugs ($30) and more. Scott Kaye Pottery is available locally at Fire On Studio at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria and at Trade Roots in Arlington’s Westover Village. Kaye also teaches beginning through advanced pottery at the Workhouse Art Center in Lorton.
If you’re shopping for your favorite bookworm, look no further than One More Page Books in East Falls Church. Check out the indie bookstore’s annual holiday gift guide, or better yet, head over to the shop to browse the shelves and ask for recommendations. Jane Austen fans will appreciate Matchmaking: The Jane Austen Memory Game ($16.99) and a 1,000-piece Pride and Puzzlement puzzle ($19.99), in addition to the author’s beloved classic novels. The retailer also stocks signed books, coffee mugs and wine. Want to keep the gifts going beyond the holidays? Subscribe to a quarterly book-and-chocolate box set for mystery or romance fans ($78).