December 20, 2010

Last Minute Shopping: DC

I hope you have all your shopping done for the season, but I bet you don't.  Well, if you're looking in DC here are 5 must-see shops.  At these places you can find something for anyone:

1) Proper Topper: 1350 Connecticut Avenue NW, near Dupont Circle Metro. This store has something for nearly anyone. Originally a hat shop--a very cool hat shop--it now sells toys and baby clothes, a small but very well curated selection of home goods and jewelry, retro gifts like "A Box of Magic Tricks", and some paper goods and books too. I always find something I must have there--most recently a beautiful wood carved shark bottle opener we like to call Mr. Sharky. The photo doesn't do him justice. His grin is a siren's call.

2) La Cuisine: 323 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA. This is a humdinger of a kitchen shop. It has really stunning selection of pots, pans, cookbooks, professional quality baking items, and even a ton of fun food-themed Christmas ornaments. (The photo above--already featured here on the blog--is of their Christmas window.) And anything they don't have they can order. My favorite purchase of 2010: their suede, washable pot holders in brilliant blue.

3) Politics and Prose: 5015 Connecticut Ave NW, one mile from Van Ness metro. This is, without a doubt, the best bookstore in Washington. Art, literature, music, cookbooks, travel, and a very very fine children's section, all in one roof. Plus yummy sandwiches downstairs, if you get peckish. I got probably 60% of all my Christmas gifts here. It is the best.

4) The Waygoose: 33 Maryland Ave, Rockville, MD. The Waygoose is an old Perry/Schmiedeler standby at Christmas.  For years my Aunt would send us little brown paper packages with little curls of deep purple paper ribbon and the words "Waygoose" stamped on it.  Inside were the most delightful things: glass ornaments and hand crafted wood toys and sumptuous leather goods.  (My first address book was from there.) Now The Waygoose has a spiffy location in the new Rockville Town Center, and it is well worth the trip up there for a handcrafted and unique gift.  (While you're there, be sure to grab some crab-cakes. And wander around the center, which has lots of fun shops.)

5) Kinderhaus Toys: 1220 N Filmore, Arlington VA. Kinderhaus has been voted best toy store in Arlington for several years now, but when the competition is Toys'r'us, I don't suppose I'd be surprised.  I'd vote it the best toy store I have been in in the entire city.  And I've been to them all.  The staff is helpful--it seems to be family run--and attentive.  And they are sufficiently charmed by all the little kids that come in.  They have books and clothes as well as beautiful fun and educational toys (and some toys that are all three).

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