[Note: This post was written by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise, a local writer and mom of two young children. She always has excellent recommendations for kids’ items as well as local explorations with little ones. See more of them here, here, here, here, and here.]
There’s something about digging a little arm down a knitted stocking of unknown. As a kid, celebrating Christmas at my grandparents’ house, mine typically contained scratch off lottery tickets and pretzels — and I loved it. Which is to say, it’s not so much about what’s in the stocking, but the traditions you create.
However, if you’re trying to get more creative than salty treats and gambling games for your little ones, these stocking stuffer picks are for you. A mix of fun and whimsy with practical and developmental. I hope these inspire new traditions of your own! (PS: Some of these may be the perfect little gift for under the tree, too.)
Pop Toy Key Chains
Trendy toy slash backpack adornment. Even if you’re iffy on pop toys, you can’t deny how adorable these ones are.
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Mini Building Blocks
These are perfect for the kid that loves to put things together and take them apart, over and over again.
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Mini Puzzle Tins
My daughter has a long-standing love of these. They are great for travel, and small storage spaces too.
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Clay Snowman Kit
Do you want to build a snowman? You can share this pack with the whole family, or save a few for friends.
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Family-friendly restaurants often distribute these. Kids and adults alike enjoy the simplistic creating that ensues.
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Mini Makeup Palette
My four-year-old requested makeup from Santa 🤦🏻♀️. This simple set is innocent enough!
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Natural ingredients, cutest hidden treasures. I also appreciate how this brand, Two Sisters, was created in the USA by a group of moms.
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Go Fish is the best foray into family gaming. This holiday-themed version is sure to be a winner.
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The perfect fort and nighttime walk accessory. This 4-pack may give you a few for the grown-up stockings too.
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Chances are you have a child who will appreciate this. There is a nice rabbit hole of similar items to browse through as well.
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Find a set of your kids’ favorite TV characters, then divide. This 2-pack is perfect for a pair of Bluey fans.
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The ultimate practical pick. The inadvertent festive colors and suction stands make these a little extra special.
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Holiday Note Cards
The cutest cards kids can use to make and send thank you notes for relatives and friends. Santa and your Elf may get one too.
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Silly Scents Markers
Refresh your marker supply with this fun set — especially if your child needs some drawing and coloring encouragement.
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Pop Ups Lollipops
For kids who like to have their lollipop, and show it off too. These also teach kids that they can always save things for later.
What are your favorite stocking stuffers? Tell us in the comments below!
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on it and make a purchase, I may get a small commission, which helps me continue to bring you KFDC. Thanks so much for the support!
It’s become my annual tradition to take a bit of a break on the final weekend of the year. So, just like the modified title, I’m keeping this round-up simple — though definitely not leaving you hanging. The links below will still lead you to tons of info and inspo to fill the next few days with as much (or little) activity as you want. You can also check KFDC on Instagram and Facebook for any updates or extra ideas that might arise. Merry Christmas & Happy Last Weekend of 2020!
1. Happy Christmas Eve! Celebrate by visiting one of the seasonal light displays around the area this evening. There are several you can drive through if it’s raining, and seeing the sparkling wonderlands is a fun and socially distant way to experience some holiday magic.✨
2. There’s a new, beautiful art installation at the National Cathedral. Les Columbes (The Doves), a winding column of more than 2,000 origami paper doves symbolizing hope and the Holy Spirit, is showcased in the Cathedral’s grand nave. Unfortunately, the National Cathedral is closed right now due to Covid, but you can view the work online and find instructions on how to fold your own paper doves. You can also sign up to receive notification when it opens.
3. Looking for a last minute holiday present? A KFDC reader let me know about her unique business of writing personalized short stories. Using real details about a person, pet, place, thing, or event, she creates fun, fantastical custom tales. Each short story is presented with embellishments and graphics and spans from 12 to 20 pages. You can give your giftee a future opportunity to have one made about them!
The phrase “[insert any annual occurrence] is going to look a lot different this year” is becoming all too redundant. But it’s fitting for so many situations, including this guide. If you’ve been reading KFDC awhile, then you know my annual holiday gift recommendations usually are heavy on local experiences to reflect the spirit of adventure and exploring that (I hope) my blog captures.
However, like much of life these days, it’s going to look a lot different this year. With the lack of live entertainment and in-person programs combined with a cautious view of what’s safe to do, major sections of the guide had to be scrapped. But — and here’s another ubiquitous term of 2020 — we pivot. Where there used to be listings for upcoming shows to snag tickets to gift, you’ll find ideas to elevate your at-home entertainment. Instead of recs for indoor experiences that are now considered iffy, there are products to enhance your outdoor adventures. And suggestions for awesome on-site classes are replaced with tips for online enrichment.
Some of these ideas will still look familiar because, as I’ve said in the past, I think they’re really good suggestions.😉 Plus, many of them give me the chance to highlight local businesses offering unique products and services as well as organizations that are doing great things. I hope you’ll find all of these, old and new, helpful as you head into the holiday season. Happy gifting!
Since live theatre, concerts, or even movies at local venues aren’t really options right now, help bring the entertainment home instead. The right devices, accessories, and treats can create alternative environments to enjoy those experiences you miss and have socially distant hang outs with company. Even better, they make great gifts! Here are some to check out, with something for everyone on your list:
Bikes & accessories are the 2020 gift (in KFDC’s opinion)
These days, our best bets for getting out of the house and social distancing safely are activities outdoors. So, make those al fresco adventures better for everyone on your gift list with gear that supports their favorite hobbies, encourages them to try new ones, and keeps them happy outside in all conditions.
Between closures due to Covid and cold months ahead, there will be more time spent indoors this winter. Gifts to make it cozy and fun for people you love are perfect to give. Here are some ideas, a mix of practical, indulgent, amusing, and unique items.
Here’s where to go locally for those recommended games above. DC’s best shop for board games and puzzles continues to offer so many fantastic options for holiday gifts, so plan on a visit to Labyrinth Game Shop on Capitol Hill — or to the website for socially distanced browsing. This is one of my go-tos for birthday party presents and always a stop for some shopping this time of year. Since I first wrote about the store when it opened 10 years ago, it’s gotten even better, so much that they expanded to a second space next door. They have something for everyone — all ages, every interest. Even better, there’s always a fun, friendly vibe in the store, plus the service is just as great as the inventory. All of the staff are very knowledgeable about what they sell — give them a few details about who you’re shopping for, and they’ll show you just the right game or puzzle to buy. (You can do this through their online Holiday Gift Assist, too!)
Wireless headphones and more ways to upgrade their workspace
Almost everyone has made some kind of work transition to their house over the last year — from the office, school, or even the gym. And since it looks like it’ll be going on at least a little while longer, these gifts that improve those at-home set-ups will be much appreciated — for job work, class work, and working out.
Local stores like Kramers offer online & IRL shopping
Look for the above recs and more great reads for everyone at a local independent bookstore. You can shop just about all of them online, too.
*Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle is a DC institution and always a great place to browse and have a bite at Afterwards Cafe. * Combine your shopping trip to Labyrinth with a stop next door at East City Book Shop. * On H Street NE, Solid State Books also has a nice selection. * Find reads just for kids at Hurray for Books in Old Town Alexandria. *Politics & Prose, one of the city’s most well known bookstores has locations at Union Market, The Wharf, and its original Connecticut Avenue shop. * Go secondhand at Capitol Hill Books, a legendary used bookshop.
BOX IT UP
Little Loving Hands’ gift boxes give back
This category includes two kinds of gifts, but one theme: They come in a box. Subscription boxes that are delivered on a regular basis keep the surprises coming. And then there are gift boxes curated just for the holidays, including some really good ones from local businesses.
* Local retailer Steadfast Supply has a fantastic variety of gift boxes. *Little Loving Hands, started local moms, lets kids can get creative & give back. *Raddish Kids delivers monthly cooking inspo. *Time 4 Mom is a subscription service especially for busy mamas. *Kiwi Co. now has maker boxes for kids of all ages — and adults. *Birchbox delivers beauty each month. * There’s even one for pooches: Barkbox.
KEEP IT CLASSY
Get in the act with Adventure Theatre’s virtual classes
Has your child expressed interest in a particular activity? Give them a boost by getting them into a class! Many programs that used to be IRL have gone digital, so kids can enjoy them safely from the comfort of home. Here are some recommendations:
How about a gift that includes your whole gang? Present them (and yourself!) with a family portrait session. And like the last few years, I’m recommending just the right photographer for it. As mentioned in previous gift guides, I have adored Darcy Troutman’s photos forever, starting with her former blog, No Monsters in My Bed. But over the last few years, she launched her own photography business capturing families and weddings, helping people make and preserve memories. Her style is unique and the photos gorgeous, but her real-life, let-the-moment-seize-you approach to her work is what really makes it special. Also, she’s hilarious and sweet and really comfortable to be around, the ideal personality for the job. Plus, her photos will not only capture this time in your lives, they’ll make for great gifts for extended family throughout the year, too.
Give design guidance from a guru
If there’s someone in your life who wants a facelift for their home, but needs some guidance going about it, gift them the help of an expert. Margaret Carroll is an architect and design consultant extraordinaire and, full disclosure, a really great friend of mine. But that just means I know first hand that she has a keen eye for style and the sharpest aesthetic of anyone I know, from the perfectly picked tile in her bathrooms to the amazing booties on her feet. She actually did a tear-down/rebuild of her own house, and you can take a virtual tour of it here.
ENTER THROUGH THE MUSEUM GIFT SHOP
The Spy Museum gift shop is full of intriguing inventory
We have some pretty amazing museums in our city, and many of their gift shops — that are also online — echo the impressive collections with items that are an extension of their programs. It’s not just prints of paintings you see; you can buy books, puzzles, accessories, gadgets, games, housewares, and lots of children’s items that are artistic, clever, and innovative. Just about all of the Smithsonian Museums and National Zoo have wonderful gift shops. And I highly recommend browsing the shops of some of the other museums in town: The International Spy Museum, National Building Museum, and Phillips Collection all have unique and interesting inventory.
Delight with Provisions from Officina
You kind of can’t go wrong with the gift of food. I mean, everyone eats, and no matter how old, we all have our favorite bites and places for them. That’s why a gift card to a restaurant or treatery (hey, did I just make up a word?) or an edible product from a local establishment will satisfy many a giftee’s appetite or craving. Here are a few ideas to chew on:
*The Pretzel Bakery is our neighborhood fave for savory & sweet treats. * Officina offers Provisions for a week of delicious eating. * If someone on your gift list loves sushi, they need to try O-Ku. * Give a gift card for Rose’s Luxury for Rose’s At Home Dinner Delivery. * You can’t go wrong with goodies from Baked & Wired. * Cider enthusiasts will love a gift card from ANXO. *All Purpose Pizzeria is delish and offering holiday gift cards. *Goldbelly is an online marketplace of well-known purveyors from all over. *Trader Joes‘ giant chocolate bars, tins of peppermint bark, and other gifty items are easy last minute (or planned) treats. * The above are just a few recs. You can give a gift card from any place you want to support — browse Open Table and Resy for more reminders of what’s out there.
Give to a cause to gift a loved one
How about boxing up hope and happiness? Gifts That Give Hope, an online market this year, lets you support the community and find unique and meaningful gifts for loved ones as you make donations to local charities in their names. You can also do this through the GIVE page here on the blog, which has suggestions on where to contribute, all of them shared by KFDC readers. You can give your time and plan a volunteering outing with your kids to show them the gift of giving back. While most of those opportunities are limited right now, you could do a trash pick-up or find ways for kids to volunteer from home.
The gift of a local adventure — and it doesn’t cost a thing
Of course, not all gifts have to come with a hefty price tag. There are so many magical yet still inexpensive experiences to be had in the DC area, some without even spending a dime. You can creatively package them up — perhaps a big, fun card with a photo — and promise a visit. Some suggestions:
Call for more: Are you (or is someone you know) a local businesses owner or maker offering products that would make great gifts? Let us know by leaving a link in the comments, if so!
*Many of the newer recs are affiliate links (though I put a ton of thought into them), which means I could earn a small commission when you click on them and make a purchase. As a small business, especially during this challenging time, your support is very much appreciated!
Holiday lights and history on a tour through Georgetown
[Note: This is a Guest Post contributed by Canden Arciniega from DC By Foot.]
Hi! I’m Canden, a tour guide and historian in Washington, DC, and a mom of two. It has been a weird line between getting the kids out of the house and keeping the kids in the house this year, not quite knowing what to do or what’s open and meets the safety standards that we’ve set for our family. KidFriendly DC has been my go-to in figuring out what is happening [editor’s note: 😊], so I’m excited to share with you what my company is doing this December as a kid-friendly option for something fun, festive, and perfect for these social distancing times.
DC by Foot offers over a dozen walking tours, available each day. Let’s get the safety protocols out there first: All our tours are entirely outdoors, in small groups to allow physical distancing, with mask requirements of all guests and guides.
For the holiday season, starting December 4, we’re excited to offer a Holiday Lights and History tour of Georgetown daily! This 1.5-hour tour starts at 6pm and explores the holiday windows and light displays. We’ll weave in stories of Georgetown history as we walk — for instance, did you know the Gap in Georgetown used to be a Civil War prison for deserters?
If you’re not interested in Georgetown, we also offer a Downtown History & Lights tour on a private basis that visits the Holiday Market, Macy’s Windows, Willard Hotel, and National Christmas tree display.
Wondering whether our guides will be engaging and fun enough for your kids? Not to worry! In the before times, our team of full time guides worked mostly with student groups. We tell jokes so bad they are good and pride ourselves in winning over even the most angsty teen.
See festive window displays in local shops
Our Georgetown Holiday Lights tours are name-your-own-price from Wednesday to Saturday, and ticketed Sunday to Tuesday. Name-your-own-price tours allow you to take the tour and then decide at the end what you thought it was worth, paying the guide directly when the tour is finished. Guides strive to make the tour such a memorable experience that you’ll want to support them, but if that’s not in your budget, or you didn’t feel like it was worth it… that is your choice.
With the limited number of people and tours right now, many of our tours are ticketed in order to support our guides, but we’re happy to be able to offer select tours on the name-your-own-price basis.
Interested in more information about our Holiday Lights or any other tours? You can find them all on our website, DC by Foot, or send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.