Whether it’s a Secret Santa with extended family, a White Elephant exchange at the office or a little something for your neighbor, sometimes finding the smaller gifts can be the most challenging. But gift giving doesn’t have to be an arduous process. It’s supposed to be fun! Mark and I enjoy hitting the local holiday markets and craft fairs to look for one-of-a kind items. Last weekend we journeyed to Crafty Bastards, for a fun but freezing field trip. We did find some great art though, so the trip was a success.
Remember, gifts don’t have to be perfect, just thoughtful. When selecting a gift, think of things you enjoy, things that provide comfort, things that make you smile. Adding that personal touch always shines through.
To help you get started, our team has curated a list of our favorite finds from regional artists, crafters, makers and small businesses. We hope our Holiday Gift Guide helps you find something special.
Baltimore artist Emily Uchytil creates gorgeous fine art prints of birds, plants, and larger-than-life insects on vintage wallpaper. In 2011, Emily came across hundreds of rolls of vintage wallpaper in a dusty dance hall in Thomas, West Virginia and the pattern rich wallpaper quickly became her new canvas. These prints are so beautiful I had to buy one as a gift for a certain special someone who may or may not be reading this!
LE VILLAGE MARCHÉ
For Parisian-inspired home décor and gifts, visit Le Village Marché in Shirlington. Our pick – though it may not sound very French – is the ToykoMilk Dead Sexy Handcreme. Made with Japanese Green Tea, Mimosa Bark, Dandelion and rich Shea Butter – what’s not to love? Plus, you’ll get extra points for the super cool name and packaging!
Arlington-based chocolatier Rob Kingsbury combines three generations of family recipes to create small batch, made-to-order confections. From peanut butter truffles to French sea salt caramels to Vermont maple popcorn, Kingsbury Chocolates makes delightfully unique sweets.
Baltimore crafter Jennifer Strunge sews one-of-a-kind, handmade monsters from thrifted clothing and fabric remnants. Jennifer makes each Cotton Monster on her Bernina sewing machine, stuffs them with brand new, super-soft polyester fiberfill and finishes them with hand-stitching - all from her tiny attic home studio. Her designs have been featured by Land of Nod, the stylish children’s décor company. But you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy one of these beautiful soft sculptures!
French American designer Eva Calonder, founder of Printed Wild, applies her lovely botanical illustrations to home items, accessories and art prints. The products are handcrafted in Washington DC and the materials sourced are Eco-friendly. She has a wonderful “behind the scenes” glimpse into her work on her site.
SHENANDOAH JOE COFFEE ROASTERS
For the coffee lover on your list, we recommend Shenandoah Joe Coffee Roasters, a small batch coffee roaster in Charlottesville, Virginia. Offering 25 varieties of gourmet coffee – which you can order online – you’re sure to find the perfect bean. We suggest the Eye Opener Blend, a breakfast favorite that combines South American beans with a touch of French Roast. Who doesn’t need a little perk-me-up for those late-night wrapping sessions or that extra early holiday morning?
DC-based Jon Wye and his small team of artists use leather as canvases for creating original designs that combine pop culture and their our own unique influences. From belts to dog collars to guitar straps, you’re sure to find a one-of-a-kind gift for that trend-setting person (or dog) on your list.
HOLIDAY MARKETS & EVENTS
Artful Weekend at Fort C.F. Smith Park
2411 24th St N
Arlington, VA 22207
Saturday, November 18, 10am - 5pm
Sunday, November 19, 12pm - 4pm
Small Business Saturday at the Torpedo Factory Art Center
105 North Union Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Saturday, November 25
BAZAART Holiday Art Market
American Visionary Art Museum
800 Key Highway
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
Friday, November 24, 12pm - 6pm
Saturday, November 25, 10am - 6pm
GRUMP: Holiday Art & Crafts Show
1750 Crystal Drive
Crystal City Underground
Arlington, VA 22202
Saturday, December 9, 12pm to 5pm
Baltimore's Holiday Heap
2640 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
Saturday, December 16, 10am - 5pm