17 Dec 2014


Holiday Gift Guide: Kids!

She's making notes of your behavior... (photo by author)

She’s making notes of your behavior… (photo by author)

There’s little better during the holidays than watching children open brightly wrapped packages, excited and wondering what might be inside.  Acquiring those gifts, though, can be daunting as Christmas nears, as that means trips to the mall or big box retailers for the “hot” toy of the year or the rushed and perhaps less-personal gift card.  Why not stick around the neighborhood and fill the stockings with Capitol Hill treats?  Our neighborhood is also full of some experiential gift ideas which make great memories.  Here are some gift ideas for the young – or young at heart.

For the littlest ones among us there’s no better local outfitter than Dawn Price Baby at Eastern Market.  Sure your toddler might need a cute outfit for Christmas Day, but Dawn Price also has a varied selection of toys, puzzles, stuffed animals, backpacks, and accessories.  If you’re at the Market on the weekends, find the Red Persimmon Imports stall in the flea market.  They have a range of gifts for infants and toddlers all made by women in developing countries using traditional craft techniques and in ethical work environments.  For the little princess in your life check out the many Eastern Market weekend vendors offering headbands, scarves, and other fun (and usually affordable) fashion accessories.

Perhaps the go-to gift shop for children of all ages is Labyrinth on Pennsylvania Avenue SE.  This game store is filled with creative toys, games, and activities that can be great stocking stuffers, presents under the tree, or items to have on hand when entertaining visiting families with children.  For the pre-school set, I would heartily recommend the simple “board” games available such as Chick-a-Boom and Pengoloo.  Both teach kids how to play games with others and simple strategic thinking.

Got a  budding foodie?  Why not wrap up an ice cream scoop and some sprinkles from Hill’s Kitchen and include a note scheduling a tour of the Dolcezza Gelato Factory near Union Market?  The factory is open for tours on the weekend afternoons.  Tours last about 20 minutes and end in the tasting room.  You can also opt to partake in a sundae or coffee while you’re there.

For the active tyke or perhaps one that needs to burn off steam there are a few great options.  For the budding figure skater, sign up for a set of ice skating lessons at Canal Park.  The winter classes start in mid-January, and are offered on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings.  If your little one already knows how to skate, take him or her for the public skating open all week and include some hot cocoa at one of the shops nearby.  If your son or daughter is at least 7 years old and has no fear of heights, get them lessons at the Trapeze School of New York in the Capital Riverfront neighborhood.  Classes are offered all week and in such disciplines as flying trapeze, trampoline, and aerial silks.  Juggling and acrobatic balancing are also available for those who prefer to keep their feet closer to the ground.  For an even more memorable experience, take the class with your child!

For last-minute stocking stuffers you can always hit CVS or perhaps a supermarket for candy and novelty items, but consider stopping at the Frager’s hardware store on E Street SE for flashlights, batteries, key chains, and other small items.

This Christmas think outside the gift-wrapped box and inside our neighborhood for some fun, creative, and unique gifts to put under the tree.  Make it Merry!

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