The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Shopping at Local Stores

We know it’s possible to do all of your holiday shopping in ten minutes from the palm of your hand.  You put a dozen products with good reviews in your shopping cart, and poof; the packages are on your doorstep. But, there’s nothing quite like browsing the local boutiques during the holidays. For this reason, we hit the pavement to find some pretty cool shops that offer a thoughtfully curated stock of quality items and knowledgeable employees that can help guide you to a great gift for every good girl and boy on your list.

For Treasures and Stocking Stuffers

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Photo: Baker County Tourism via Flickr

Appalachian Spring
Appalachian Spring sells gorgeous and handcrafted gifts, glassware, jewelry and home accessories. Pick up a treasure for your little one such as a brass kaleidoscope, kid’s chopsticks crafted in the likeness of various animals, fun bib, or glass Christmas ornaments. FYI: You can seriously lose track of time browsing and reading about the artists’ and crafters’ backgrounds here.

Locations in Georgetown, Union Station, Rockville and Reston

The Toy Soldier Shop
The craftsman who runs this amazing little shop offers (and repairs and restores) an encyclopedic array of toy soldiers from every major toy soldier maker from over the last century. The shop owner also creates custom commissions of toy soldiers.  Stop in and get a great history lesson too. 

502 11th St., SE

Chocolate Moose
In addition to selling an array of specialty chocolate, this shop features a quirky and fun assortment of unique gifts (think: temporary tattoos that transform your hands into dinosaurs, Haikubes that are word dice that you arrange into haikus and place mats that you color on) and kitschy knick knacks.  They also have a fun assortment of kids’ toys such as city blocks stacking blocks, a sculpture kit inspired by the artist, Miro, and old school portable pinball.

1743 L St., NW

Le Village Marche
This Parisian inspired boutique features a carefully handpicked selection of home décor, accessories, kitchenware and gifts that reflect the owner’s love of old World architecture and rustic textures juxtaposed with modern Parisian chic. The back corner of the shop is devoted to childrens’ and babies’ items. Pick up handcrafted toys, the Cat in the Hat in French, artwork for the nursery and other unique gifts.

Shirlington Village (Va) and Cathedral Commons (D.C.)

For Babies and Toddlers

Photo: Covet 

While not exclusively devoted to baby’s things, this whimsical and beautifully curated gift shop is like walking into a brick and mortar Etsy storefront. In addition to locally handcrafted jewelry, accent furniture and other unique items, browse through baby onesies, beautiful toddler clothes and original artwork.

5140 Wilson Blvd. (Arlington, Va)

Dawn Price Baby
This boutique stocks essentials such as strollers, cribs and baby carriers but what makes it special is its selection of special occasion outfits, unique toys and accessories you won’t find in a baby chain store and DC-themed gifts such as a onesie showcasing a map of D.C. neighborhoods.

Locations in Georgetown, Capitol Hill, Fairfax and Reston

For Clothes

Photo: Full of Beans

Full of Beans
This Chevy Chase shop features a handpicked selection of beautiful and functional children’s clothes made by small manufacturers in the U.S.A.  Full of Beans also sells toys, baby slings, bibs and other gift items.

3813 Livingston St., NW

Pam K. Bambini Children’s Boutique
This bright, cheerful shop features a gorgeous selection of finely made children’s clothing and features many European and Canadian brands.  You can shop with your little ones in tow who can amuse themselves with puzzles, games and hopscotch.

3301 New Mexico Ave.


Tabby Cat Kids Clothes and Gifts
In addition to carrying beloved brands like Le Top, Tea and Zutano, Tabby Cat has a good selection of unique and locally made baby gifts and products.

2946 Chain Bridge Rd. (Oakton, Va)

For Toys, Books and Games

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Photo: Ayren Jackson-Cannady

Kinderhaus Toys
In addition to a wide variety of popular toys, you’ll also find an old-fashioned Paddington Bear, Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys and wooden hobby horses.  This shop stocks quality toys that are built to last.

1220 N. Fillmore St. (Arlington, Va)

The National Building Museum Gift Shop
The shop was referred to in 1000 Places to See Before You Die as the country’s best museum gift shop.  The store carries architecture, engineering and design-inspired gifts for everyone on your list and it is easy to spend hours here browsing through building kits, children’s toys and books.

401 F St., NW

Labryinth Games and Puzzles
The shop has an incredible selection of non-electronic specialty games, puzzles and mazes. The friendly and extremely knowledge staff can help guide you to the perfect game.  There is a community area in the back of the store where you can join in game playing.

645 Pennsylvania Ave., SE


Doodlehopper 4 Kids
In addition to friendly and knowledgeable staff that go out of their way to help you find the perfect gift, this shop carefully selects its stock to present a wide selection of great toys.  You will find a variety of popular items here as well as a great selection of old fashioned and educations toys.

Locations in Falls Church City and Springfield, VA

Fair Days Play
This neighborhood shop definitely has personality.  Shop here for hula hoops, a great selection of board games, fair trade soccer balls, a bouncy Riding horse and all manner of wonderful toys for all ages.  This store has a wide selection of learning toys, developmental aids and unique toys that they don’t sell at chain stores.

7050 Carroll Ave. (Takoma Park, Md)

Tipo’s Toy Box
Tipo’s has a great variety of durable and fun educational toys and crafts and organizes its large stock of toys, games and puzzles in age appropriate sections.  They also specialize in toys and games for children with special needs.

724 Center Point Way (Gaithersburg, Md)

–Monica Nelson


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