Category Archives: Product

Amazon Picks for Spring & Summer Adventures with Kids

[Note:  This post was written by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise, a local writer and mom of three kids, ages 6, 5, and 9 months.   She always has excellent recommendations for kids’ gear as well as local explorations with little ones. See more of them here.]

 

Spring brings so much anticipation for warm-weathered adventures. Whether you’re beach bound or backyard bound, here are Amazon picks that will get you and your kids in gear from here to September.  Most of these recommendations are best for the 8 and under crowd, but some range all ages!

WHEELIE FUN
Dust off the scooters and bikes and get ready to roll. Here are some ways to spruce up your kids’ favorite set of wheels.

 

Bike (& Scooter!) Basket – This basket zips closed and detaches as a shoulder bag. Here’s one for the traditionalists.

 

 

Bike Wheel Spoke Beads – Like Croc charms for your bike! Add some handlebar streamers for extra flair.

 

 

Lights & Sounds Attachment – Choose from 25 kid-friendly sounds – like “race car” and “magic carpet” – to alert pedestrians and drivers.

 

 

Bike Lock – This has a simple self-coiling design, comes in a variety of colors, and has a mounting bracket that would work with scooters.

 

 

Radio Flyer Scoot to Scooter – This one’s for the little ones who want to keep up. Love a grow-with-me item!

 

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WATER-READY
It’s never too early to prep for three months of water life. If your suits are pilling, dive toys dulling, and goggles snapping, refresh your pool bag with these items.

 

Two-Piece Swimsuit – Two-piece for the bathroom break win. Here’s another one chosen by my almost seven-year-old. P.S. These are still our winning swim trunks.

 

 

Seek & Splash Number Dive – A to-dive-for game for any little swimmers in their math era.

 

 

Giant Gator Ride-On – This was one of my son’s favorite birthday presents this year, and he cannot wait to take it for a swim.

 

 

Bungee Strap Goggles – Bungee strap is the frustration-free way to go.

 

 

Travel Size Shower Set – We have this set in a plain (now boring after seeing these) style. Just irresistible.

 

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SMART FASHION
I’m a sucker for kids fashion that’s cute and practical. These are items that I’m doubling down (and up) on.

 

Butterfly Shorts – Flowy bottoms with built-in bike shorts (with pockets!). Perfect for little athletes, or just for the playground hangs and cartwheeling.

 

 

Waterproof Slip-On Shoes – My kids love their Crocs, but Native’s closed-heel shoes are so practical, especially in this go-with-everything rainbow print. Here’s a lower cost option.

 

 

Unbreakable Sunglasses – For kids who want a “cool” pair of shades. This polarized, unbreakable (!) pair looks like a winner for everyone.

 

 

Ponytail Hats – Great for windy beaches, sports, or just for some extra sun protection. Here’s another cute option.

 

 

Baby Booties – The best button-close, gripper-soled baby booties in the sweetest print for the season.

 

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ORGANIZED CHAOS
Half the battle is a great bag! Here are my picks for bags that’ll make you and your kid [appear] organized for any outdoor occasion.

 

 

Freezable Snack Bag – Eliminate the need for separate ice packs! There is a smaller pouch size as well as a classic lunch box size.

 

 

Bogg Bag XL – A standing, waterproof carry-all for parents. I’m eyeing the add-ons too: phone holder, wallet, and keychain.

 

 

Sling Bag – Perfect for encouraging self-sufficient kids during travel or every day outings. My son loves his Pokémon version.

 

 

Snacks Bag – Make your “snack lady” job a little more appealing with this appropriately-sized bag. Here’s a smaller version for an emergency stash.

 

 

Mess-Proof Wet Bags – Swimsuits and wet clothes will have their place! These are machine washable and have a strap to attach to bags or strollers.

 

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Well Played
When my outdoor toys don’t hold up or hold attention, they get the axe. Here are my minimalist musts for outdoor play, plus one to give a swing at.

 

 

Lightweight (Don’t Hurt!) Frisbees – We’ve had these for years now and they are still flying strong.

 

 

Pump & Splash Water Table – This is a totally worth it price tag. The water table phase is a long one, so invest in something good!

 

 

Collapsible Beach Bucket Set – The most compact set for on-the-go adventures. This set of 3 includes buckets, shovels, and mesh bags for carrying and collecting. Here’s a set of 2.

 

 

Family Pickleball Set – Something to consider if your kids are old enough to rally. The paddle rabbit hole is a good one too – so many designs to choose from.

 

 

Extra Large Waterproof Picnic Blanket – Make sure you have a good-sized lounge area for all of the outdoor play time viewing!

 

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SEASONAL SAVIORS
Don’t let the best laid plans get spoiled by the small stuff. Here are some ideas and products to help weather the elements of the season.

 

Sunscreen Applicator Brush – IYKYK! Here’s another fun option. I am also restocking our supply of this “clearscreen” for face and the spray version for body.

 

 

Boogie Insect Repellent Lotion – This is a highly-rated insect repellent from a reputable children’s brand. It’s fragrance-free which is great for sensitive skin (and noses!).

 

 

Sand Remover – The sand whines will be defeated! This one has great reviews too.

 

 

Race Car Bandages – Get ready for more outdoor falls! These should help end the tears quickly, and there are lots of styles to choose from, like mermaids and rainbows.

 

 

Tangle Teezer Brush – Beach hair, do care…at some point. These brushes are so gentle on brush-sensitive kids. Add some highly-rated, tangle-free hair care products.

 

 


What’s on your warm-weather shopping list? Tell us in the comments!

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Filed under 2024, Product, Shop, Spring, Summer

KFDC Picks from Amazon’s BIG Spring Sale

 

In case you hadn’t heard, Amazon is having a Big Spring Sale that runs today through March 25.  It’s a lot like their Prime Day sale, but happening at the start of this season, so it’s perfect timing to gear up for the warm months, get ready for spring cleaning/organizing, and just take advantage of some really good deals. As with all Amazon sales, this one is large enough that it’s very time consuming to browse through everything, so I’ve done some of that for you and picked some products that I think are worth snagging.  Hope you think so, too.  Happy Shopping (& Saving)!

 

 

Solar Eclipse Glasses 
Get ready for the solar eclipse!  I remember last time there being a last minute scramble for glasses for a lot of people, so make sure you’re good to go ahead of time.

 

 

 

Camping Tent
With warmer weather on the way, you might be thinking about a camping trip — and this tent may get you to actually plan it.  It’s a great deal on a 4-person tent , plus it had really good reviews.  Here’s a write-up about one of our camping trips, if you want some more inspo.

 

 

Volleyball
This caught my eye because Owen and his friends have been playing a lot of volleyball lately at the courts by the Lincoln Memorial.  But volleyball is a super fun family game, too.  We’ve had a blast getting together with other families at Garfield Park for picnics and volleyball.  And sometimes it’s just fun to pop the ball around without a net.  This colorful ball would make it even more so.

 

 

 

Light Daypack
This pack is small, but looks like it has enough room for all of the essentials for a hike or day out.  It’s also water resistant and packable, so you can fold it up to fit in your luggage, then have it to use at your travel destination. Best feature: It’s less than $14 right now.

 

 

 

Picnic Blanket
Plan for al fresco meals in pretty spots!  Love that this blanket rolls up nicely with a handle for easy carrying on a hike or however you get to your picnic destination.

 

 

 

Keens for Kids
When my kids were little, we bought them a new pair of Keens every summer; in fact, I think they had these exact colors at one point. I found them to be the perfect versatile shoes.  Sturdy and comfortable enough to wear all day, they can be worn in water, and the soles are thick and gripping for running around, hikes, and all the wear and tear kids put on their kicks.

 

 

 

Chacos for Adults
I’ve been wearing Chacos for about 20 years and love them as sporty sandals. They are great for warm-weather travel — I recommended them in my Greece packing list — as they can be worn in water situations and just about everywhere, even hiking, because they have a good all-terrain sole and arch support. Under $35 is a great price for them!  On sale for men, too.

 

 

Packing Cubes
This isn’t the first time I’ve recommended packing cubes — because they are that great.  I’m totally serious when I say they have revolutionized the way I pack for trips.  And this is the cheapest I have ever seen a set (under $12!).  Get them for your upcoming spring and summer (and fall and winter) travel!

 

 

 

Electronics Travel Case
For more travel organization, this handy little bag has pockets and sections for your phone, ear buds, portable charger, and cables.  Price depends on color, but the pink is less than $6, and the black and light gray are just over $6 (the rest are around $14).  PS: This nifty charging station looks like it would be great to have for home and travel!

 

 

Portable Steam Cleaner
For spring cleaning and beyond… I’ve seen this Bissell Little Green Cleaner recommended numerous times. It’s apparently amazing for cleaning rugs, upholstered furniture, car interiors, and much more. It also costs a lot less than all the fancy vaccuums.

 

 

Water Bottle Organizer
Genius!  We all have so many water bottles and use them even more when it’s warmer.  Here’s a nice, neat way to store them, but also have them handy to make sure everyone stays hydrated.

 

 

Undersink Organizer
If your teens’ bathroom is anything like our teen’s bathroom, this undersink organizer should be very helpful in reducing the counter clutter. Purchasing with high hopes!🤞

 

 

Sports Equipment Organizer
I know I’ve recommended something like this before for all the sports equipment and whatever else needs organizing. It all seems to pile up more as the weather gets nicer and there’s extra outdoor play.

 

 

 

Patio Set
It’s time to get our patios ready for the warm seasons, and if you’re looking for new seating, this patio set is not just great for hanging out, it’s a fantastic deal. It looks a lot like the one we have from Ikea that cost much more than this one.

 

 

Shade Umbrella
Perfect for the patio,  this standing umbrella offers shade when it’s sunny, and pretty lighting when it’s dark.

 

 

 

Mosquito Repellent

I first mentioned this a few years ago after I read about it on Wirecutter… we have one, and use it when we’re hanging on our patio.  It does really seem to help with mosquitos, though I always use a back-up as well because I tend to be a target for the pesky biters.

 

 


Grill Tool Set
This set has every tool needed for good grilling.  Even better it would make a great gift for Father’s Day — or Mother’s Day (we moms like to grill, too)!

 

 

 

Ninja Blender
How about a new blender for all the smoothies you’re going to make when the weather is warmer?  We love our Ninja — for smoothies, gazpacho, soups, cocktail and mocktails, and more yumminess.

 

 

La Blanca Swimsuit
This exact swimsuit is available at Nordstrom, but for at least $10 more, maybe even $20, depending on the color. I’ve tried it on — it’s a great one-piece, simple and classic, and the ruching and cut makes it flattering for all body types.

 

 

 

Pool/Beach Bag
Something about this bag says pool more than beach to me, but whatever the use, it’s large enough to carry all the towels and goggles and sunscreen and other random things needed for a day of water fun.  Only the red stripes are on sale, but it’s the best color, imo.

 


Sweater Set
I just shared this cute knit set in a DM post — and now that’s it’s on sale, I recommend it even more!  I already have it in black, but now I’m going to snatch it up in a lighter color to wear for spring and summer.

 

Workout Leggings
I’ve bought inexpensive tights on Amazon before, and they have worked out (literally!), so I’m giving this pair a go, too.  They have good reviews, and for under $20, they are worth a try!

 

You can also find some great Adidas apparel and footwear, Levi’s clothing, Bose headphones and speakers, Cuisinart appliances, and more!

 

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Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one and make a purchase, I may get a small commission.  This helps me continue to produce KFDC, all completely free to readers.  Thank you so much for the support!

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Filed under 2024, Product, Shop, Spring

The 2023 KFDC Holiday Gift Guide: Grown Ups

 

 

You’ve likely seen the gift guides with suggestions for DC experiences and the one especially for teens… and now here’s a round-up of gift ideas for the adults in your life.  (And maybe some inspiration for your wish list too.) Happy Gifting!

 

 

Softest Sweaters
Cashmere always makes a great gift — it’s luxurious and useful (so warm for winter) — and the kind of item some people may not splurge on for themselves. There are also so many amazing sales on sweaters to take advantage of right now!

Naked Cashmere – Great quality sweaters…love mine.  (For men, too.)

Jenni Kayne – Most splurgy, but supposedly amazing.

Naadam – Sooo many style options. (For men, too.)

Reformation – Soft and chic.

J. Crew  – Relatively lower price points. (For men, too)

Quince – Cashmere starting at just $50.

 

 

 

Accessories — Luxe and Fun
A perfect way to give them something really nice, without going full splurge on a large item. Or a great way to give them something practical and/or fun.

Scarf – Super soft cashmere or a really pretty color combo.

Winter Hat – Soft and splurgy or colorful and fun. And options for him.

Gorgeous Earrings – Colorful beaded dangles or  simple but statement-making.

Fun Socks – The best gift socks and currently on sale.

Sunglasses – Really good and reasonably priced.  This brand, too.

 

 

 

 

Boot Season
With the cold weather coming, help them keep their tooties warm and stylish.

Ugg Ultra Minis – Just received a pair for my birthday and love… like slippers that also make a cute outfit.

Blundstones – Great, cold weather boots for men and women.

Hunters – Classic rain boots for all.

Hiking Boots – For outdoorsy peops, upgrade their footwear,

 

 

 

Kitchen & Dining Delights
If they love to cook and entertain, here are a few things to up their enjoyment.

Vitamix Blender – Gifting this would be a smooth(ie) move

Ninja Portable Blender – For smoothies on the go — and if you don’t want to go all in on a Vitamix.

Dutch Oven – Le Crueset is the standard. (Or Amazon Basics is much less expensive and gets good reviews.)

Pasta Maker – Guaranteed to elicit grazies!

Pitcher – How beautiful is this?

 

 

Give a Game 
For family and friends who love to play, from board games to ball games.

Azul – I’ve recommended this a lot because it’s my favorite. (Another version.)

Parks – An indoorsy gift for outdoorsy peops.

Monikers – This party game gets great reviews.

Clue Conspiracy – An adult version of the classic.

Pickleball Set – Everybody’s doing it.

Bocce Set – If they like lawn games.

 

 

 

Creature Comforts
Gifts that keep them cozy at home.

Plush Robe – For him, too.

Slippers – Keep those tootsies toasty. (For her, too.)

Sweat Set – So soft and comfy. (For him, too)

Cozy Blanket – Snuggle up.

Good Books – A few recommendations:  Tom Lake, The Covenant of Water, I Have Some Questions for You, Trust.

 

 

 

Pampering Experiences
Make them feel coddled with some relaxation or sprucing up.

Balian Springs Day Spa – I recently spent a day at this spa with indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pools, saunas, an infrared area, and a great cafe — and it was wonderful. Kind of like a nicer Spa World (which I also like) but without the required nakedness.

Massage – Go for upscale at the Four Seasons in Georgetown. And here are some more to check out.

Mani-Pedi – Give a pampering sesh at nailsaloon — locations in Logan Circle and Capitol Hill.

Float Therapy – I haven’t tried it, but hear it’s very relaxing.

Dry Bar – For giftees who like regular blow-outs.

 

Great Getaways
Gift the whole fam or just the adults (or even just your partner) an escape to a driving-distance resort — or maybe even a destination further away.

Salamander Resort – A luxury spot in Middleburg, VA, with awesome amenities (for all ages) and a location near great wineries.

Tides Inn – A lovely, relaxing resort on Carter’s Creek, which leads to the Chesapeake.

Jim Thorpe – Plan a trip to this fun, quirky PA town that’s especially great for outdoorsy peops.

Greece – Go all out and gift your family an awesome vacation! (Portugal is pretty fantastic, too!)

Travel Gift Card – For American Airlines… or Delta or Southwest.

 

 

For Those with the Mostest
If you’re going to a gathering during the season, bring a little gift for the hosts.

Salt Pig – A friend gave me one last year, and I love it.

Cheese Knives – A simple, pretty set.

Candles – A colorful, twisted, tapered set.

Coffee – Infused with bourbon.

Traders Joe’s Goodies – In a pinch, pick up a few things like this, this, or this.

 

 

 

Just For Fun
Random suggestions for shits and giggles.

Best Coffee Mug – Repeat from last year, but so good.

Cocktail Recipe Book – With a literary twist.

Custom Photo Ornament – For the tree… or the rearview mirror.

Bubble Umbrella – Genius design, imo.

New York Times Games –  For those who  love word puzzles.

 

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Filed under 2023, Holidays, Product, Shop

The 2023 KFDC Holiday Gift Guide: Teen Scene

 

For the first time ever, I’m expanding on the tried-and-true, DC-inspired KFDC gift guide with collections of ideas curated for specific groups of giftees.  This one is for the teens, who can be kind of tough to shop for since they tend to be more selective about their stuff (mine are, anyway). But these ideas, hopefully, will be helpful as they come from both my experience with two teenage kids and actual input from the teens themselves. Happy Gifting!

 

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Filed under 2023, DC, Holidays, Product, Shop, Teens, Tweens

The 2023 KFDC Holiday Gift Guide: DC-Inspired

A holiday photo fave: Her first Christmas, his fourth (and obviously an unwrapping pro even then)

 

This gift guide probably looks familiar, and that’s because you’ve likely seen it before — a version of it, anyway. Over the nine years I’ve been sharing it, the general ideas haven’t changed very much (nor has the above photo that I adore or most of this intro, for that matter). While the specifics are always updated, the overall concepts have remained pretty consistent over the years.  That’s because these recommendations are meant to reflect the spirit of my blog — of adventure, discovery, local culture, and family time — and these ideas do just that. (Plus, I think they’re really good suggestions! 🙂 )

Something that will be different this year is the extension of this gift guide.  This list of all DC-inspired recommendations is the core of it, but I’ll be sharing a few separate curated guides for specific groups of giftees.  You’ve already seen Emily’s post with suggestions for the 8 & under crowd.  Look out for one just for the t(w)een scene along with gift round-ups for adults.

For now, just like the last many years, I’m sharing some things our family has really enjoyed around the area and think would make fantastic presents for a variety of people. This also gives me a chance to highlight local places and businesses offering unique experiences and products as well as people and organizations that are doing great things. And then there are ideas that are simply fun and enriching and showcase the incredible, dynamic city that is Washington, DC. None of these recommendations are sponsored; they’re just experiences, places, adventures, and products that I truly like and think you and yours might, too. Happy gifting!

 

Hot Tickets

Excellent Adventures

Elevated Experiences

Members Only

Keep It Classy

Fan Favorites

Museum Gift Shops

Indie Picks

Picture Perfect Presents

Design Time

Give Freely

 

 


HOT TICKETS

Live entertainment is a great gift for any age

There’s so much great live entertainment coming to local stages soon, that would make fantastic presents for kids and adults. KFDC Tip: Before you buy, check for ticket deals here as you may be able to get discounts to some productions. Here are recommendations for shows coming up soon and even a few running during the holiday season.

* Disney’s Frozen at the Kennedy Center (find discount)
* tick, tick…BOOM at the Kennedy Center
* Funny Girl at the Kennedy Center
* The Kite Runner at the Kennedy Center
* Back to the Future at the Kennedy Center (find discount)
* Junie B. Jones, The Musical at Adventure Theatre
* Cinderella: A Salsa Fairytale at Imagination Stage
* Paw Patrol at EagleBank Arena (find discount)
* Annie at National Theatre (find discount)
*
The Book of Mormon at National Theatre (find discount)
*
Peter Pan at National Theatre (find discount)
* Little Shop of Horrors at Ford’s Theatre (find discount)
* Swept Away at Arena Stage (find discount)
*
Romeo and Juliet at Synetic Theater (find discount)
* Taylor Swift
in Miami, New Orleans, or Indianapolis… or Europe!
* Olivia Rodrigo at Capital One Arena
* Batman Live in Concert
 at Warner Theatre
* Trevor Noah
at DAR Constitution Hall 
* HAIR
at Signature Theatre (find discount)
* Bad Bunny
at Capitol One Arena (find tickets)
* Bruce Springsteen
at Nationals Park (find discount)
* Macbeth
by Shakespeare Theatre Company
*
Tempestuous Elements at Arena Stage (find discount)
* L
ong Way Down at Olney Theatre
*
The 9:30 Club is legendary and welcomes all ages to most shows (think teen gift!)
* The Anthem
has a great line-up of concerts, too (again, teen gift!)
*
For holiday season shows, look here
*
You can also give a gift certificate or membership to one of the venues mentioned above!

 

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EXCELLENT ADVENTURES

The gift of adventure

For the people, young and old, in your life who like active thrills and challenges, a gift card or season pass for one of these action-packed pursuits is strongly recommended.

* Kraken, which opened this past spring, offers pickleball, roller skating, axe throwing, a rage room — and gift certificates!
* REI has all kinds of classes and events for those who like outdoor recreation.
* A season pass to a local ice skating rink will delight peeps who like to lace up and glide.
* For bigger winter fun, how about an Epic Pass? It grants access to ski resorts all around the country, including several within driving distance of DC.
* And for when it warms up, there are several great ropes courses in the area, with something suitable for every age. The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring is our favorite, and their annual Holiday Sale begins soon!
* A gift card for a paddling excursion is also good one for when it’s back in season.
* Capital City Circus School has classes in flying trapeze, static trapeze, silks, juggling trampoline, and more.  Read more about it here (from when it was Trapeze School NY).
* iFLY Loudoun offers a one-of-a-kind exhilarating opportunity to experience sky diving without stepping foot in (or out of) an airplane.  Read more about it here. (Post is about my experience, but my kids have done it, too!)
* The St. James has Super, Awesome, & Amazing fun at its activity center and indoor waterpark.
* Kids love scaling the colorful walls at ClimbZone.
*  TopGolf,  with area locations at National Harbor and Germantown, is a fun place to practice driving balls from their hitting bays.
* A sightseeing boat tour is a cool way to get a new view of DC — and have some fun on the water.

 

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ELEVATED EXPERIENCES

A peek at Encanto x CAMP that is sure to be a delight for kids

DC is known for its many free attractions, but there are some places and experiences that require admission. So, make a visit to one something special by giving it as a gift. Here are some to check out that are worth the splurgy entry fee.

* Enchant the kids with Disney Encanto x CAMP — part toy store/part interactive experience, and only here December and January.
* The Museum of Illusions will blow their minds.
* Clue them in with a Watson Adventures scavenger hunt – read more about it all in this KFDC post.
* An adventure at Escape the Room is a perfect present for puzzle solvers.
* Beat the Bomb is a new “real life video game” — and super fun, from what I hear.
* A Sleepover at the National Archives is like a real-life Night at the Museum.
* Give adults a day of relaxation at Balian Springs Spa.
* Cat people will love Crumbs and Whiskers, the cat cafe where they can cuddle with kitties and enjoy a coffee.
* Pinstripes takes bowling & bocce up a notch with good dining, to boot.
* The Mansion on O Street is easily one of the neatest places in DC…a self-guided tour and secret door hunt is practically guaranteed to delight any giftee.
* Exhibits at ARTECHOUSE are unique, immersive, and fun to experience.
* For cinema lovers, dinner (or lunch) and a movie at The Alamo would make their day (or night).
* There are many awesome attractions in Baltimore that would be great to gift.
* Several holiday light displays run into January.

 

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MEMBERS ONLY

Become an insider at the National Children’s Museum

Membership really does have its benefits!  You can get first dibs on tickets to events and shows, exclusive access to special offerings, and/or free admission to places, perfect for those who have favorite spots they frequent often. Here are some local attractions with membership options that would make for excellent gifts:

* At the National Children’s Museum, get a year of free admission, invites to special programs, members-only hours, & 10% off in the gift shop. (Starts at $225 for families.) Read more about the museum and get a glimpse here.
* National Building Museum memberships get you all into exhibits and some programs free of charge, members-only birthday parties, advanced camp registration, preview invites, and more.  (Starts at $90/year for families).
* Make someone a Smithsonian Associate to get them special benefits, access, and discounts for all kinds of Smithsonian programs. (Starts at $50.)
*  The Lane, a play and social space for families in Ivy City, offers unlimited visits and free coffee. (Starts at $125/month.)
* Sign kids up for their favorite sports team fan club that offers all kinds of fun benefits, for low cost or even free.  A few of our local pro sports team have them: Nats, Spirit, Caps.
* For adults who enjoy performing arts, the Kennedy Center  membership gets them ticket priority, special event invites, and discounts on parking, dining, and the gift shop. (Starts at $75.)
* Teen gift?  Gym membership!  They all seem to be joining these days (at my gym, anyway).  I highly recommend OneLife Fitness (formerly Sport & Health and Results before that). Of course, this is can be a gift for an adult, too.

 

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KEEP IT CLASSY

Give the gift of soccer this season

Has your child expressed interest in a particular activity? Give them a boost by getting them into a class! Here are some recommendations.

* Kids can kick it with DC Way‘s soccer offerings.
Give the gift of music with lessons from the International School of Music.
* Let them act up with performing arts classes from Adventure Theatre.
* Chess, anyone? Check (out) Magnus Chess Academy.

 

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FAN FAVORITES

Sports fan gift?  Done!

The gift of sports is no-brainer for those who love them. Our local sports teams, pro and college, have experiences (ie, games) and merch that fans will cheer about when they receive them. Here are links for all of them, and note that some are offering special holiday packages, too!

* Washington Nationals (Holiday Packs | Merch)
* Washington Capitals (Tickets | Merch)
* Washington Mystics (Pandamonium Holiday Pack)
* Washington Wizards (Tickets | Merch)
* Washington Commanders (Tickets | Merch)
* DC United
* Washington Spirit
* University of Maryland Terrapins
* Georgetown Hoyas
* George Washington University Colonials
* Howard Bison
* American University Eagles
* George Mason Patriots
* Catholic University Cardinals

 

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ENTER THROUGH THE MUSEUM GIFT SHOP

So much to talk about in Planet Word’s gift shop

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 — I’ve purchased gifts over the years at every single one of these.
* Planet Word
* International Spy Museum
* National Gallery of Art
* National Building Museum
* Phillips Collection
* Library of Congress
* National Museum of Women in the Arts

 

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INDIE PICKS

Gifts galore to shop for at Steadfast Supply

* Steadfast Supply, located in the Navy Yard, is a great store to shop for maker-made and DC-inspired gifts.
* Book it to one of these local, independent shops to find good reads for your giftees: East City Book Shop on Capitol Hill,  Solid State Books  on H Street NE, Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle, Hurray for Books in Old Town Alexandria, Loyalty Bookstore in Petworth and Silver Spring, Politics & Prose at Union Market, The Wharf, and Northwest, and Capitol Hill Books, a legendary used books shop.
* Labyrinth Game Shop on Capitol Hill is the place to go for the best board games and puzzles. Period.
* The Pretzel Bakery is our hands down neighborhood fave for savory & sweet treats — locations on Capitol Hill & in Bethesda.
* But if it’s cupcakes you like, Sprinkles in Georgetown is our rec.
* Check the above bookstores for DC Scavenger and Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure by local author, JoAnn Hill — both are fantastic books, the former using clever clues to help you explore DC, and the latter filled with intriguing stories and interesting facts about the city.
* Give foodies a gift card for a local restaurant. Some faves: O-ku, La Collina, The Bazaar, Sushi Nakazawa, Albi, Jaleoor try the new Michellin-starred Causa and Rania.

 

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PICTURE PERFECT PRESENTS

Capture them (and their hearts) with this gift

How about a gift that includes your whole gang? Present them (and yourself!) with a family portrait session. And like the last many 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 several years, she’s 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.

 

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DESIGN TIME

Give design guidance from a guru

If there’s someone in your life who wants an update to 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 (and in mine!) to the pretty booties on her feet. Her own home was even featured in Bethesda Magazine!

 

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GIVE FREELY

The gift of a local fossil hunting adventure — and it doesn’t cost anything

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:

* A trip to the National Zoo.
* A visit to Planet Word, the fantastic, language-focused museum downtown.
* A fossil hunting adventure at the Purse Area in Nanjemoy, MD.
* A picnic and stroll at the lovely National Arboretum.
* A bird’s eye view of DC from the Observation Deck of the CEB Tower.
* A day at the Wizard of Oz playground, Old Maryland Farm, and Nature Center in Watkins Regional Park
* A hike through the woods to the waterfall at Scott’s Run Nature Preserve.
* A trip to the National Museum of Natural History to see the dinos (and more).
* A bike ride along the National Mall or another great area route.
* A geocaching excursion on an area hike.
* A family game of disc golf at a local course.
* A unique indoor/outdoor art adventure for ages 12 and up at Glenstone.
* Find inspo for even more here and here!

* Perhaps the best gift of all is quality time with the people in our lives, so be sure to take advantage of it during the season. The 2023 KFDC Guide to the Holiday Season Around DC is full of ideas for doing just that. Happy Holidays!

 

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