Holiday Gift Guide: Uniquely Alexandria gifts

Holiday Gift Guide: Uniquely Alexandria gifts
Graphic by Sasha Kochurova

By Alexa Epitropoulos |

‘Tis the season to shop locally and not be one of “those” shoppers who only patronize online retailers.

 Though we’re not judging anyone’s shopping habits here – online or otherwise — we’ve gathered a list of gifts that are emblematic of Alexandria. Whether it’s clothing, care products or adult beverages, here are some of our top local picks for this holiday season.

Dolce & Bean

A selection of cupcakes and chocolates from Dolce & Bean (Courtesy Photo)

When it comes to pastries, Alexandria has no shortage. Whether it’s Buzz Bakery, Sugar Shack, Alexandria Cupcake, the Happy Tart or Alexandria Pastry Shop, there are many options. Dolce & Bean, though, is the new kid on the block, having opened in Del Ray earlier this year.

Dolce & Bean serves up a wide selection of colorful macaroons, cupcakes, cakes and chocolate at its Mount Vernon Avenue location. If you’re hosting a holiday party – or just looking for a gift for a friend or family member with a sweet tooth – Dolce & Bean also offers personalized macaroons and cupcakes.

Where to get it: Dolce & Bean, 2003 Mt. Vernon Ave. (Open Tuesday – Friday from 12 to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Closed Monday)

Old Town Shop

The name says it all. A relative newcomer to Old Town’s retail scene, the Old Town Shop

OTX mugs for sale at the Old Town Shop (Courtesy Photo)

offers many Alexandria-centric gifts, including apparel, home goods, art and favorite gifts like mugs.

The store’s owner, longtime resident Valerie Ianieri, opened the store with
Old Town’s brand in mind. Since opening, the store has unveiled its own custommade products, like its OTX mugs.

Where to get it: Old Town Shop, 105 S. Union St. (Open Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.)

Port City Brewing Co.

Beer has been the perfect gift for husbands, dads, brothers and boyfriends for eons. Now, with craft beer’s dominance of the market, it can be found just about anywhere, from your local convenience store to specialty stores like Department of Beer and Wine in
Potomac Yard.

Port City Brewing Co. has been operating on Wheeler Avenue in Alexandria’s West End

Port City’s Tidings is a strong Belgian selection that makes a perfect gift for your resident beer snob (Courtesy Photo)

since 2011. Since then, they’ve made their mark on the craft beer scene, both in the greater D.C. area and beyond. If you’re looking for a seasonal beer with a punch,
Port City has its Tidings Ale, a Belgian strong golden ale, available on tap and in bottles. For the beer snob who already knows what Port City is, thank you very much, there’s also a wide array of t-shirts, sweatshirts, glassware and, of course, growlers available for sale in its taproom.

Where to get it: Port City Brewing Co., 3950 Wheeler Ave. (Open Monday – Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m.; Friday from 3 to 10 p.m.; Sunday from 12 to 6 p.m.)

Red Barn Mercantile

For a gift that screams Alexandria, Red Barn Mercantile has a number of options (Courtesy Photo)

Red Barn Mercantile sells gifts year-round at its Old Town shop, and if you’re looking for something that screams Alexandria, chances are owner Amy Rutherford will have it in stock. Some of her Alexandria-centric offerings include an oh-so-colorful throw pillow, a tote bag and a dishtowel.

If you’re looking for greeting cards or Christmas cards, Rutherford offers a large selection at Red Barn – and her new store, Penny Post, offers custom holiday cards and a specialized stationery stock.

Where to get it: Red Barn Mercantile, 1117 King St.; Penny Post, 1201 King St.

Swing’s Coffee

Chances are you have a family member or friend who can’t live without that first cup of

Swing’s Kenya coffee with a glass of nitro cold brew (Courtesy Photo)

coffee in the morning. There are a number of beloved coffee shops in Alexandria to choose from when getting your fix, from St. Elmo’s to Junction Bakery & Bistro to Uptowner Café.

Swing’s Coffee has been operating its roastery and coffee bar in Alexandria since 2013. You can choose from a wide range of products at Swing’s Del Ray location, including coffee beans and other merchandise. Alternatively, opt for a more adventurous option like nitro cold brew or bourbon aged coffee in a growler (prices range from $16 to $30 for a full growler fill).

Where to get it: Swing’s Coffee Del Ray, 501 E. Monroe Ave. (Open Monday – Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.)


Bath fizz from Truly-Life releases essential oil to scent the water and create tiny bubbles. Available in lavender, lemon, and peppermint for $3 at many Alexandria stores (Courtesy Photo)

Soap and care products are among those things you never stop needing. For those who prefer soap that’s unique, eclectic or one that keeps the environment in mind, Truly-Life is a good option. Alexandria resident Mellenie Runion makes her hand-made soaps and skin care products locally.

Truly-Life offers a number of handmade gifts, including soap, bath fizz, soap-infused loofahs, lotion and lip balm. All are handmade by Runion with herbs from her garden. They’re also dedicated to recycling all their materials and using biodegradable packaging.
You can get Truly-Life at a number of local stores and, if you can’t run to the store and live in the 22301 zip code, the retailer offers bike deliveries.

Where to get it: Old Town Farmers’ Market, The Christmas Attic, Bon Vivant Market, the Old Town Shop, the Healing Tree, Juniper Eco Salon, Neighborhood Pharmacy and Olio Tasting Room