ALEXANDRIA, VA – It’s crunch time. With over 200 of the region’s top artists all in one place at Art on the Avenue’s virtual festival, you’ll find thoughtful, handmade gifts for everyone on your list — without leaving your couch.
Here are Zebra’s picks for holiday gifts to shop creative and support local artists this holiday season:
Who would have imagined that face masks would be a top stocking stuffer? Many of our local makers have turned the necessary to a stylish accessory — including shimmery holiday colors from Tulusa; vintage vibes from Flora Living + Design; luxe floral patterns from Modern Tally; and sweet designs for kids from Lil Fishy. And our artists are innovating: we love how Georgene Novak Designs added extra clasps to transform her gorgeous necklaces into face mask chains — which also converts to a necklace when life returns to normal.
Our favorite gift that reflects the times is the Resilience Gift Set — a thoughtful collaboration between three Del Ray-based businesses, Truly-Life Eco Gifts, Flora Design + Living, and Four Directions Wellness. The gift box features three hand-crafted soaps, a mask, and a wellness consultation — three key components for keeping safe and sound during the next few months (and a bargain at just $30!).
With Zoom dominating how we work, learn, and socialize, large, statement jewelry pieces are in — with over 50 different jewelry designers you’re sure to find the perfect one for any style at artontheavenue.org. And don’t forget the kids — add a fun pop of color to their virtual class with handmade headbands from The Bee Hive Hair Buzz (some designs even have ear-saving button loops for masks!)
Our kids have been incredibly resilient despite a tough, tough year. Recognize that strength and transform your child into a superhero with gear from Creative Capes. Capes are personalized with the child’s initial, making them the hero — an instant self-esteem boost. And fill their virtual classroom with inspirational art — ArtPopTart’s “Strong Women” collection features heroines from the art world, superhero world and literary world, made with magazine clippings and acrylic paint.
And (of course!) we love the colorful stuffed Zebra from Distinctive Fabrications; they also create crayon caddies and seat belt nappers for kids on the go.
Outfit baby with art — Lil Fishy has adorable graphics on onesies and tees (the Ruth Bader Ginsburg is our favorite!) — use code HOLIDAYS20 for 20% off. Visit Oh Bessie! for a sweet collection of whimsical children’s room decor, accessories, and clothing; the mother-daughter duo even wrote a children’s book, Lucy’s Mask, explaining social distancing measures to children.
For the nursery, a favorite Art on the Avenue tradition is welcoming new babies with personalized banners from Serious Whimsey — available in a wide variety of color combinations to match any nursery; they also have adorable felt garlands (we love the sloth!) and whimsical prints.
While you won’t find the latest gadgets when browsing through the Art on the Avenue catalog, science has inspired many of our artists. Circuit Breaker Labs upcycles circuit boards into fantastic jewelry pieces, accessories, and even Christmas ornaments. For years, Artologica has been creating works of art inspired by science themes, ranging from brains to viruses to DNA gels, and even COVID-19; her art is available in prints, scarves, and ties.
But, if you are gifting gadgets — check out the gorgeous eReader covers from Modern Tally.
For the Chef
Scroll through the pottery category for pieces to match any style — from whimsical hand-painted bowls from The Crafty Fox, to intricately detailed platters from Iris Grundler Pottery, to colorful coffee mugs from Beth Coast Pottery; and add gorgeous hand-carved wood serving utensils from Jiri Kalina Home & Kitchen. Dress your table with gorgeous linens from Tulusa, hand-stamped in Del Ray.
For The Pet Lover
We love our pets in Alexandria! PawsGo has a wide assortment of t-shirts and gifts that celebrate our best friends, with proceeds going to local rescues (the “It’s not alone if the dog is home” wine bag or coasters is just too perfect for 2020).
For a bold statement piece, check out the funky pet-themed pillows by Naked Decor, or accessorize with incredibly life-like pet paintings on a wide variety of bags and wallets from South Paw Satchels.
Our city inspires so many of our artists. From holiday cards, to ornaments, to prints, and even face masks, the streets of Old Town are stars of much of Pat Palermino’s gorgeous folk art. For a more modern look, Cherry Blossom Creative specializes in hand-illustrated maps to celebrate the places we call home. While they have maps from across the country, Old Town and Del Ray both get neighborhood close-ups. (Z-Tip: For an inexpensive — but thoughtful — gift for a neighbor, order a greeting card and put it in a 5”X7” frame — it fits perfectly!).
Now more than ever, our locally-owned restaurants and retailers need our support. For teachers and other essential workers that have gone above and beyond during this difficult year, give a gift card from your favorite local retailer or restaurant and put it in an Alexandria-themed greeting card from Fast Snail Creative or The Lavender Whim.
We have never been so excited to see the ball drop and say goodbye to 2020. Remember this unusual year with a “Bye, Felicia 2020” wooden disc tree ornament from Flora Living + Design (other personalizations available!). And, let’s all burn a smudge stick to release all the negativity of 2020 and infuse the new year with a new energy — available from Truly-Life Eco-Gifts.
Look ahead and plan new adventures — and reminisce about past travels! — with handcrafted push-pin maps of National Parks, the United States, and the world from An Adventure Awaits.
We know that there’s nothing like seeing art in-person. This is the final weekend of the Del Ray Artisans’ 25th annual Holiday Market; the gallery, located at 2704 Mount Vernon Avenue, is open for shopping on Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Del Ray Artisans is ALX Promise certified and is committed to the health and safety of our visitors; please wear a face mask and maintain 6’ of personal space. The gallery capacity is limited to 10 people at a time to assist in social distancing. For more information, visit delrayartisans.org.