The Art of the Present

Stepping out to shop for a gift the old-fashioned way can be liberating, particularly when you aim to support local-owned boutiques proffering fancy and quirky finds that feel special. Navigating through holiday displays and physically picking up inventory before deciding what to purchase is an art form that technology has dampened a bit. Browsing online is simply not the same. People used to nostalgically reminisce about the “milkman” as an idyllic thing of the past, but the milkman is back, and the nostalgia is pinned to yesteryear’s lovingly stocked establishments, from shiny flagship department stores to tiny gems tucked into corners of neighborhoods. Let’s celebrate them while we can!

Three local gift shops that we relish during the holiday season are Whyte House Monograms and Heritage in Friendship Heights, and The Blue House in downtown Bethesda. These businesses deserve our patronage in exchange for their attention to detail, thoughtful inventory, and kind, friendly service.

Whyte House Monograms

Purses, scarves, trays, jewelry, and festive jeweled headbands pack this space. Customers are greeted warmly and left to browse. Personalized gifts range in price. Preppy and polished.

Pearl Headbands at Whyte House


Best kept secret for designers and gift-givers. Beautiful ceramics, home decor, and classic trinkets from crystals to paper coasters. Pashmina scarves are a cut above and at a very fair price. Candles, dishes, music boxes. Classy, lasting, traditional pieces.

Pashmina Scarves at Heritage
Arte D'Italia Ceramics at Heritage

The Blue House

Quirky, fun products. Amazing cookbook selection, children’s toys, cards, even scarves and jewelry. The Blue House is jam-packed with inventory. Never fails on candles and soaps. Perfect place to stop for a hostess gift or pick-me-up.

Cookbooks at The Blue House
Dishware at The Blue House

By supporting our local shops, we gift twice, and maybe thrice--the festive jaunt from store to store is all part of the experience. So, grab a hot chocolate and stop in for last-minute presents at our three gift sisters: The Blue House, Heritage, and Whyte House Monograms.