05 Dec 2012

Hill Gift Guide: For the Kid at Heart

Basketballman McDuck

Photo by María Helena Carey

Youth is a wonderful thing.  What a crime to waste it on children.  ~George Bernard Shaw

Perhaps one of the best advertisements for having children (and not that I am getting on that particular soapbox, mind you), and one which gets very little publicity, is that you have a perfect alibi for buying toys and doing possibly ridiculous things you would normally be too embarrassed to be associated with. In our very anally-retentive word, it’s not uncommon to use humor and hipsterlike “irony” to justify the party mustaches, the growing collection of giant teddy bears, attendance to places like Disney World, the nostalgia lunchboxes or the nostalgia anything. Enter a child and voilà! You can even peg your otherwise-embarrassing collection of Hello Kitty memorabilia on your two boys with a straight face. (Not that I’d know a thing about that…)

Anyway, embarrassment or no, I am sure there is someone on your holiday shopping list who is busy having a happy childhood at 25, or 37, or at 46. So here I am to give you some ideas as to what you what you can get that big baby in your life. Don’t you make that face at me, now! And sit up straight!

Skating! Some kids-at-heart long to recreate their childhood. If you grew up in the Northern latitudes, this is done by SKATING IT UP, and thankfully we now have a beautiful skating rink within walking or short-driving or -biking distance: Canal Park! Not only is it jaw-dropping to see how far this stretch of the city has come in terms of urban renewal and revitalization and… that word that can get a blogger beaten up in some parts of the Internet and which rhymes with dentrification; but watching skaters, good and nascent, glowing and smiling from ear to ear gives you that feeling of love for your fellow man that is hard to fake, and which brings the neighborhood together. It’s only $8 to lace up ($11 if you don’t have your own skates). A season pass (which you can put inside a jewel box and put that inside a whole bunch of other boxes and be all like TA DA!) is $125. Skating lessons for the sad pandas among us who never learned are also available (hint, hint). Afterward you can go grab a burger the size of a kid’s head at Five Guys. Now if only Park Tavern hurried up and opened….

Snuggling! Your kid probably also needs a lovey of some sort. But where can you find cool plushies made of recycled sweaters and which look like Capitol Hill Rowhouses that you can hug and pet and gaze upon lovingly? Look no further than Tigerflight, a.k.a. Beth Baldwin and her amazing plush toys! You can find her at  Eastern Market on the weekends, or on Etsy at 3 am. Just make sure that if you’re heading out to the Market, you like her on Facebook: that way you’ll know she’s there for sure.

Theme-partying! Or perhaps your kid at heart person is actually a Pretty Princess Sparklepants! YES! What that kid needs is a tea party, professionally catered (PETIT FOURS!) and in a beautiful, clean space that you can decorate however you want. Enter the chicest kid on the block, The Tabula Rasa, where you can throw a lovely tea party or do any kind of fun event, like maybe some crazy masquerade crafting extravaganza! Just fill out the planning form and you’re off and running.

Trapeze-ing! Does your inner child feel like it missed the window for applying to circus school? Yeah, mine too, sometimes. You know where I am going with this: TSNY. From trapeze to flying to silks to JUGGLING COMING SOON (JUGGLING!), if you get this for your kid-at-heart, you’re sure to hit it out of the park. Seriously.

ARRRRing! Maybe your kid at heart likes pirates. I mean, who doesn’t like pirates? And I don’t mean the awful, real-life pirates who actually kill people off the coast of Somalia: I mean the relatively non-threatening kind who are just gender-bender-y enough to tickle everyone’s fancy and who say ARR all the time. Did you know that American River Taxi has Storybook Tours in September and October? Did you know that it’s only $24.99 per person and it’s a lot of fun and you get to do chanteys? I smell both a scurvy dog AND a stocking stuffer!

Taking a ride! A kid-at-heart might just want to see the city differently, and that can be accomplished by being driven around. Perhaps that was not nearly as fun when you were a kid (“MooOOoom! Can I have a ride to Jenny’s?”), but your inner child can appreciate it now. So go on a carriage ride around the Capitol! Hop on at Union Station and watch your head! Or best and greenest of all: PEDICAB IT! Maybe you can pretend the DC Pedicab is a magical pumpkin and you can have them drop you off at Tabula Rasa, for your pretty princess party, too!

Whatever you choose for that annoying magical little  sprite in your life, hope you have fun picking it!


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