We Love DC’s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide

Photo courtesy of George Eastman House
AMERICAN CYANAMID
courtesy of George Eastman House

In sharing our holiday spirit, the WeLoveDC crew has pulled together our recommendations for locally produced and themed gifts. Some of these recommendations our authors are swooning and lusting over, some they highly recommend for those looking to buy locally sourced or locally themed gifts.  We hope you find our gift guide useful and feel free to add your own recommendations (make sure they’re DC related, produced, themed, etc., cuz that’s the whole point!) within the comments section below.  Enjoy and Happy Holidays!


Wild Flag

Expect to see this record on most critics’ best-of-2011 lists. Fronted by iconic Washington, DC musician Mary Timony, the record is an accessible, garagey crowd-pleaser about the power of music and the catharsis of just leaving everything on stage each night. Teenagers and jaded, aging indie rockers will all find something to like. Recommended by Brittany.


Handmade Storybooks & Bags

These handcrafted storybooks by local author/artist Sushmita Mazumdar pay homage to the storytelling traditions she learned from her father and brought to DC from India. Proceeds benefit Empowered Women International (EWI) – a non-profit organization working with immigrant and refugee women in the DC area. Recommended by Joanna.


Amethyst Geode Ring

This brass, sterling, and amethyst ring from local jewelry designer Rachel Pfeffer is just everything. The big, jagged geode and oxidized brass triangles at the bezel add up to a delightfully modern take on the classic cocktail ring. Recommended by Brittany.

Dream City

I’ve been told that understanding Marion Barry is the gateway to understanding the District. There’s no better place to start than Tom Sherwood and Harry Jaffe’s important Dream City. This 1994 book tackled issues of race, class, and power in our city. A reminder of how much has changed – and how much has not. Recommended by Brittany and Tom.


Metro T-Shirt

No matter how it’s displayed, the Metro map of DC is something we all recognize, like a shibboleth that identifies you as someone who understands the whole system that we love to hate and hate to love. Now you can wear it, too! Makes a great gift for that friend who’s way too excited for when the snowstorms shut down the above-ground stations. Recommended by Addison.


Customizable Washington DC Pillow

What better way to comfort yourself after a long day than with this cute throw pillow version of the District. As an alternate use, you can chuck it at the television when the Council fails to act on another major issue without doing damage to your TV or your pillow. Recommended by Addison.


Presidential Seal Cufflinks

Nothing says impressive gifts for your out-of-town relatives quite like a set of Presidential Seal cufflinks. The folks at home will think you know somebody, and you come off looking like a genius. Of course, this won’t work if they’re from near here. For the locals, I recommend these lovely Metro token cufflinks, vintage 1982. Recommended by Moses.


Historic Photos in Washington DC

From Mount Vernon to Georgetown, The White House to the monuments, Historic Photos of Washington D.C. is a photographic history collected from the area’s top archives. With about 200 photographs, many of which have never been published, this beautiful coffee table book shows the historical growth of our nation’s capital in stunning black and white photography. The book shows life, government, events and people important to Washington D.C. and the building of this unique city. Recommended by Michael Ruhl.


Grand Avenues: The Story of Pierre Charles L’Enfant, the French Visionary Who Designed Washington, D.C. by Scott W. Berg

Give this book to any newcomer to town or friend thinking of moving to Washington. Pierre L’Enfant’s passion and vision in crafting a plan for the great capital of a new-born nation is inspiring – and should nip in the bud any complaints about not understanding traffic circles. Recommended by Brittany.

Wooden Handlebar Mustache for Bicycle

Local creative powercouple Carolyn and Richard Sewell take the handlebar mustache quite literally. Give your bike some love for the holidays. Recommended by Joanna.

“Positive Force: More Than a Witness” by Robin Bell

Have a friend who grew up here loving music and this community? They would probably think it super rad for you to help fund this Kickstarter project in their name to make a documentary about the amazing work of punk rock activists Positive Force. Different funding levels include stickers, DVDs, and other physical items they can receive. Recommended by Brittany.

Penn Camera, 840 E Street NW, Washington DC

With it being Christmas, a new camera tends to be on everyone’s list.  But with new cameras coming out every day, it’s always hard to know what’s a good camera and what’s a waste of money.  This is where Penn Camera comes in; it is one of the best camera stores in the country and it is DC based.  There are stores all over the area (Downtown; Laurel; Tysons; etc).  They are only slightly more expensive than an online retailer, but with it you get excellent advice and the chance to actually play around with the cameras you’re considering.  I always recommend people go to Penn when they are looking for a new camera gear. Recommended by Brian.


Teddy Roosevelt vs. Bigfoot.

There are few more awesome ways to say, “I am a great American that loves other great Americans,” than a giant replica print of our 26th President mowing down Bigfoot with a machine gun. Those few more awesome ways? They include Andrew Jackson, Alien Slayer, Abe Lincoln riding a Grizzly and George Washington, Zombie Hunter. You’re welcome. Recommended by Michael Ruhl.

Photo courtesy of tbridge
Biscuits of Columbia
courtesy of tbridge

Every DC home should have a cookie cutter shaped like the District. Pick one up, along with some awesome cookware, at Eastern Market’s Hill’s Kitchen. The townhouse-slash-repository-of-awesome is perfect for your Christmas cookie needs. Recommended by Addison.

Do you have a boyfriend, brother, bestie, or other man on your gift list? Does he wear shirts? Great. Get him one from local menswear banner-carriers Hugh & Crye. Try a gift certificate which lets him order online or pay a visit to the Georgetown showroom to get the perfect fit in person.

Should I get every girl I know nail lacquer from Truxton Circle boutique Studio85‘s new District of Columbia Collection? At these crazy-affordable prices, the answer is yes. Particularly in “Go Go,” “U Street,” and “Tight.” Recommended by Brittany.


Washington DC Landmark Print

Grey, white and blue layers of pattern and color makes this print of iconic Washington, D.C. landmark, the Capitol Building, a beauty. Recommended by Rebecca.


Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One by Joe Yonan

From The Washington Post’s food and travel editor, this beautifully photographed and engagingly written cookbook actually celebrates making real food just for oneself wholesome and without compromise. DC is a city of young, single people and this is perfect for anybody who has been wanting to cook at home more, particularly in an apartment-sized kitchen. Recommended by Brittany.


Cloak and Dagger Cook: A CIA Cookbook by Kay Nelson

A former CIA officer recalls her days of intrigue, espionage, and epicurean adventure. Upon graduating from college in 1948, Kay Shaw Nelson, a bright young woman yearning to travel, joined the Central Intelligence Agency. There, she met her future husband, discovered her passion for food, and began her life of excitement. Nelson accompanied her husband as they traveled the world on assignment. Dozens of unusual recipes with memorable histories pepper this irresistible memoir of fascinating events, exotic locales, and clandestine culinary pursuits. Recommended by Michael Ruhl.

Rebecca Johnson

A born and bred New Yorker, Rebecca made the big trip “down south” to DC in 2006 and hasn’t looked back. She spends her days strategizing/planning/ideating how interactive products can help her clients and change the world. In her free time, she explores DC’s ever expanding bar, restaurant and small business scene, plays a crap ton of soccer, attends concerts that contribute to her sleep deprivation and embarks on local adventures. Read why Rebecca loves DC or follow her on twitter.

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4 thoughts on “We Love DC’s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide

  1. Did you know the 2 DC IHOPs are DC-family owned and operated??? Support the home team!

    Buy a $25 IHOP gift card and get $5 OFF your next visit!

    Now that’s a tasty deal!!!

  2. These are great suggestions!

    I’m getting me the cookie cutter this weekend! Too bad they don’t have the Virginia portion to complement it (could ice one side blue and one side red!)

  3. @Moses: They do not have the Virginia one at Hill’s Kitchen? I think they did when I got the one used for the Bridge-biscuits above. If not, though, you can get them easily online for any state.