Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts ‘for her’ this holiday season

Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts ‘for her’ this holiday season
Penny Post has a wide range of color-specific stationary. (Photo/Caitlyn Meisner)

By Caitlyn Meisner |

It’s a struggle each and every year to find something unique for the special people in our lives, but especially with the Amazon-ification of gifting, it’s gotten harder. Thankfully, Alexandria has plenty of small businesses with great finds to avoid the big box stores this season. 

Nothing is more frustrating than searching up gift ideas, and it seems it’s the same things on the list each year: robes, bracelets, purses or a water bottle. After so many years, these items grow tired. 

I know I dread the potential “inspiration” my boyfriend may draw from a “gifts for her” internet search. To avoid this, make sure you slip this article – or the partner article on gifts for him – to your special someone so they get the hint. 

Instead of online shopping this year – which, I know, is quite the struggle for procrastinators, me included – head out to Alexandria stores and peruse these and other local shops for great finds. 

Penny Post 

A locally owned and operated stationery shop, Penny Post has everything from pens, stickers, washi tape and office supplies. It’s an organized person’s dream store. 

What immediately stood out to me in the store was the rainbow-themed section right at the entrance, filled with candles, stickers, journals and anything else you can imagine that belongs on your home desk or cubicle. 

Upon entering the store on King Street, I was hit with the amazing smell of the Cranberry Balsam Fir Cedarwood soy candle by Rifle Paper Co. It was everything you can imagine a holiday candle would smell like – and I had to stop from buying five for myself. The candle retails for $38. 

Across the store there are plenty of stickers – ranging from $3 to $5 – for the sticker buffs in our lives. Especially if your special someone is a Swiftie, Penny Post has got you covered with a spread of stickers to satisfy anyone in their “Red” era. The store also carries a variety of animal stickers, so if you have an animal enthusiast in your life, you can pick up quite a few of their favorites. 

Today’s Cargo 

A quaint jewelry store located at 1102 King St., Today’s Cargo has both vintage and modern jewelry that is appealing even to the non-jewelry gal. 

At the entrance of the store is a booth full of vintage rings, bracelets, brooches, earrings and watches. They’ll fit anyone’s style, especially if that special someone enjoys a pop of color or their birthstone. The staff is kind and knowledgeable, so make sure to ask around for further tips on what to purchase. 

And if your lady is a fan of quirky earrings – including, but not limited to, bacon and eggs, tacos, blue jays, owls or cats – stop by for hypoallergenic sterling or gold-filled earrings for $20, $24 or $28. 

Today’s Cargo also carries a wide selection of modern jewelry of your choosing with diamonds, gold and pearls. 

Shop Made in VA 

At 1121 King St., you’ll find nothing but local and handmade products at Shop Made in VA. As a variety store, there are hundreds of products made by local artisans and vendors on display for purchase. 

Sprawled across the store are dozens of tables and shelves of products, all eye-catching and unusual. Particularly intriguing were the tables of handmade earrings, pressed flower coasters or mugs. Briana Berkowitz of @ somanyflowersva makes these beautiful clear coasters with real flowers pressed within them. These are the perfect gift for your lady if she’s looking for a way to brighten up a communal space with some new coasters that cost $25. 

I was also immediately drawn to Gretchen Mull’s ceramicware, including earrings. Her products are simple but breathtaking, which makes the perfect accessory or addition to an outfit. Her earring products cost around $32 and more of her products can be found at @gretchenmullceramics. 

If your special lady is more of the flashy accessory type, Dreamer & Co.’s earrings are the right choice. The company works with women in the Horn of Africa – the ones who produce the earrings – and assist them in growing the local economy by selling the goods in the United States. 

Red Barn Mercantile 

Penny Post’s sister store on King Street is another hit for her this season. With a plethora of options that caters to almost anyone, you can definitely find something at Red Barn Mercantile for your lady. 

If you’re in a jam when you’re in the store, the website has a tab of “Gifts” that you can filter by the “recipient,” including for the Alexandria lover, home cook, pet lover, adventurer and more. You can also filter by the type of gift. 

The plush embroidered pillows immediately caught my eye, two of which showcase monuments and iconic buildings in both Alexandria and Washington, D.C. If you’re willing to spend the $225 for either of these pillows to add some local love to your home, I think it’s worth it. If not these cities, there’s also a wide variety of universities with pillows cut from the same cloth for $216. Think Syracuse, the University of Alabama, James Madison University and others. 

Moving to the back of the store there is an entire wall filled with premium self-care items, perfect for a post-holiday season relaxation session. Plush robes and floral pajama sets for $94 each are great, thoughtful gifts for her. 

And if she’s a lover of all things coastal, look no further. There’s an entire section of the store dedicated to the nautical-obsessed person, with mini throw pillows for $39, a $32 wall calendar for the upcoming year and an oyster key fob for $34.