Looking for a unique gift for the home and garden enthusiast in your life, something out of the ordinary that you won't find at the mall or assorted big box stores? Look no further than the shops on Mount Vernon Avenue on Small Business Saturday.
I browsed through a number of the businesses on Del Ray's main drag this past week and I can tell you that your "I just couldn't find the right gift" excuse isn't going to work this year. There are trinkets and keepsakes for young and old; handcrafted and vintage pieces; luxury items with a touch of whimsy; gifts that might break the bank and ones that will keep you on budget.
Here are 10 of my favorites:
1) Advent Box with a comedic twist — Artist Paul Moran created a playful Advent box that features a silly joke behind every door. On Dec. 17, for instance, you'll open the door to find a card that reads: "Elves like gossip because they have a keen sense of rumor." And on Dec. 21, this: "On Santa's birthday, everyone sings "Freeze A Jolly Good Fellow." The box is sold at A Show of Hands. Cost: $74.
2) Also at A Show of Hands, there is a large selection of handcrafted Christmas tree ornaments. One of my favorite Christmas traditions is pulling old ornaments from their storage boxes and reminiscing about the stories behind each of them as we decorate the tree. A canoe reminds my husband and me of our honeymoon in Alaska, a plane from the year I studied abroad in college, a glass blown egg bought the year we lost a pregnancy. The shop has ornaments made of wood, glass, textiles and such.
3) Know someone who loves to throw fanciful dinner parties? They might appreciate a box of 12 rainbow colored Berlingot Steak Knives by Claude Dozorme. You can find the knives on the second floor of Kiskadee among the gifts and accessories. Cost: $316.
4) Kiskadee also carries holiday-themed linen dish towels that could make great hostess gifts. Santa on a sleigh, an octopus juggling gifts and a seahorse dressed as a reindeer are among the themes featured. Cost: $12.50 each.
5) Who doesn't love a pair of beautiful bookends? Contessa's carries a pair of green ceramic Foo Dog Bookends that look especially stunning on a fire engine red hall table that the store owner recently bought at auction. The bookends cost $55. The hall table: $275. While you're at it, there are a pair of white ceramic garden stools that can be placed under the hall table or used to decorate an outdoor garden. Cost: $130 each. Note — Contessa's is holding a holiday open house from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday where customers will receive 20 percent off their total purchase.
6) For the cooks among you, how about a retro nut chopper? Eclectic Nature Gift and Garden Center carries the classic piece of Americana. Cost: $20.
7) I also like the set of four vintage glass bottles Eclectic Nature carries. They vary in size and were used to hold lotion, Listerine and alcohol. I imagine the set on display on a bathroom shelf or counter. Cost: $65 for the set.
8) No garden is complete without a garden statue and bench. You'll find both at Eclectic Nature. While there are a number of statues to choose from, my favorite is a large St. Francis of Assisi. Cost: $52.50. The store also carries a charming iron bench with distressed wood. Cost: $200.
9) As for funky? I thought this acrylic mid-century magazine rack at Potomac West Interiors and Antique Gallery would make a fun gift. Cost: $99.
10) To foster a love of cooking in your little ones, how about Parent/Child aprons by Knotty Daughters at A Show of Hands? Cost: $30 for the adult aprons, $15 for the chid size.