Arts Business Home & Style Small Business — 16 December 2011
Wow your friends and family with some last-minute gifts

Sometimes, there’s one goal in mind with a present: making the recipient say, “Wow!”

The three-letter word may slip out from the price tag or the thoughtfulness of the gift. Either way, it’s amazing to see their eyes light up like Christmas lights. Find a variety of gift ideas below to make that special moment come true for your family and loved ones.

SOMETHING NEW AND DIFFERENT

Give your significant other a gift certificate to an introduction to knitting class (and yes, men knit) from fiber space at 102 N. Fayette St. There also is the $60 deluxe knitting kit, which comes complete with two balls of wool, bamboo needles, a learn-to-knit book, a notions kit and a project bag.

In addition to knitting, there are painting, drawing, sculpting and photography classes available at the Alexandria Art League (www.theartleague.org).

For the more adventurous type, Sportrock (www.sportrock.com) offers climbing classes starting at $25. Or check out the sailing lessons at Belle Haven Marina’s Mariner Sailing School (www.saildc.com), located south of Old Town on the George Washington Parkway.

WINE LOVERS

Alexandria features some wonderful wine shops, with staff ready to help you find the perfect bottle at the perfect price. And there’s more than likely a great store near you: Au Domaine at 802 N. Fairfax St.; Grape and Bean at 118 S. Royal St.; Daily Planet at 2000 Mount Vernon Ave.; The Winery at 317 S. Washington St.; Rick’s Wine and Gourmet at 3117 Duke St.; and Fern Street Gourmet at 1708 Fern St.

While at the store, consider complementing the bottle of wine with a deluxe corkscrew, wine rack or book about the vintage. Or maybe go all out and buy plane tickets for a trip to California’s vineyards.

PAMPER AND ENHANCE THE BODY

You can never go wrong with a gift from a day spa, especially at Circe Salon and Day Spa at 123 N. Washington St. Any gift certificate with spa and/or salon offerings makes for a fantastic gift.

At the corner of North Fairfax and Madison, Serenity Day Spa offers the special “12 Massages of Christmas” package. The special gives your loved one a massage for every month of 2012: five serenity massages, which combine multiple techniques to encourage deep relaxation; five aromatherapy massages; and two hot stone massages. The festive package costs $940, a savings of $218 compared to buying the massages individually. The Sport and Health Club is nearby in case a gym membership may be a better present.

And speaking of gyms, Fitness Together, at 300 N. Washington St., proffers customized personal training and small group classes. The personal trainers focus on each individual’s specific fitness goals rather than following the same workout routine for everyone.

SOMETHING FOR THE WALLS

Purchasing artwork as a gift can be tricky. What appeals to one person may not appeal to the next. But at the same time, artwork can be such a moving, special present. And Alexandria boasts quite a few art stores so you can shop around.

A couple of the best art places include the Torpedo Factory, at 105 N. Union St., and Old Colony Shop, at 222 S. Washington St. Torpedo Factory contains 82 artist studios and six galleries, while Old Colony Shop has antique prints, paintings and artifacts. Old Colony also does exceptional, high-quality framing; it’s affordable, too.

Over on King Street, there are fine art galleries like Principle Gallery, at 208 King, and Mindful Hands and Traditions de France, at 1113 King. The latter boasts more than 1,000 oil paintings on canvas, starting at $140, as well as gorgeous furniture. A block over at 1213 King St. stands Gallery West.

A short distance away in Del Ray, the art shops include A Show of Hands, at 2301 Mount Vernon Ave., and Artfully Chocolate, at 2003A Mount Vernon Ave. Artfully Chocolate not only sells fine chocolate, but also the lovely artwork adorning the store’s walls. For more unique, original art, there’s Del Ray Artisans at 2704 Mount Vernon Ave.

After buying the perfect art piece, don’t forget to frame the work to top it off. As such, stop by National Art and Framing in the Bradley Shopping Center at 3620 King St.

BANGLES AND BLING

Jewelry always wows.

The Silver Parrot, at 113 King St., features unique, stunningly designed silver jewelry, as well as more simple, affordable pieces. Nearby is Mystique Jewelers, at 211 The Strand.

Strolling up the main drag, King’s Jewelry can be found at 609 King St. It has gorgeous jewelry at many different price points. In addition, there’s quite a few other superb jewelry stores: The Bishop Boutique at 815B King St.; Zoe, at 130 S. Union St.; and Gossypia at 325 Cameron St. Each store features spectacular, classy and fun jewelry pieces.

CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES

Many stores sell clothing in Alexandria. But only a select few offer high-quality clothing and accessory selections with enough breadth. These special stores also employ staff members eager to help customers find the right size and fit.

These fine shops include Zoe Boutique, at 130 S. Union St.; Bishop Boutique, at 815B King St.; Hysteria, at 125 S. Fairfax St.; Shoe Hive at 127 S. Fairfax St.; Periwinkle, at 1557 Potomac Greens Drive; and Kiskadee, at 2205 Mount Vernon Ave.

OTHER WOW IDEAS

Furniture may be just the ticket for a surprise gift. If so, Conrad’s Furniture, at the corner of King and North Union streets, is definitely a must-stop. The store features comfortable and well-designed pieces.

Nearby, Decorium, at 116 King St., sells many wow-worthy items. The store marries home and gift items with classic designs of yesterday and the modern styles of today in an artful and whimsical way as brilliant as it is fantastic.

Indus Imports, at 1010 King St., has hand-knotted rugs from Kashmir and throughout India. In addition, the store also sells a wonderful assortment of fine pashmina, wool, and silk shawls, bedding, wall hangings, fine art, jewelry and apparel.

On the same block stands one of the most unique and special stores in Alexandria — The Hour Shop. The 1015 King St. store offers gifts and accessories for the perfect cocktail hour, such as spectacular wine glasses, decanters, trays, pitchers, ice buckets and corkscrews. There also is a fine selection of vintage jewelry.

For something different, drop by Lee Design and Interiors. The 1020 King St. store celebrates 25 years in business this year and offers beautiful accessories on sale to mark the occasion.

Last but not least is BW Arts, Antiques and Jewelry. The owner who heads the 108 N. Fayette St. shop acquires and sells jewelry, American art, estate pieces and designer handbags. You can’t go wrong at BW, where gifts range from $10 to $500.

WOW ‘EM

Each Alexandria shop features presents to wow your loved ones. And the gift ideas prove the cost doesn’t have to hit astronomical levels. So drop by and check out these wonderful local shops to find that truly memorable and thoughtful gift.

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