RSS Feeds

Guide: Where to shop local this holiday season

Friday - 11/29/2013, 7:53am  ET

Traditional and alternative holiday markets are a great place to pick up gifts this season and support local artists. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Rachel Nania and Alicia Lozano,

WASHINGTON - With the onset of holiday shopping upon us, some shoppers are looking for alternatives to visiting big outlets and other major chains.

And the influx of pop-ups and small businesses in the D.C. area give consumers the opportunity to keep their money local.

"We have statistics that show that 68 cents on every dollar spent at a local business goes right back into the neighborhood and the city or the town in which that business is in. It goes back in form of jobs, tax dollars and it goes back in the form of charity," says Stacey Price, executive director of Think Local First DC, a nonprofit that works to connect entrepreneurs and small business in the Washington area.

This year, the organization wants to make it easier for shoppers looking for unique gifts and products. It's bringing together the area's artisans and businesses at its Made in DC Marketplaces during Shop Local Week, Nov. 30 - Dec. 8.

Price says the average Washingtonian spends around $700 on holiday gifts. The goal of Shop Local Week is to see some of that money spent at local businesses.

"Basically what we're asking is shop local first. So we're not saying, ‘Hey shoppers, we have to have you spend all of your dollars in our local businesses' … We're asking Washingtonians to shift 25 percent of their shopping, which is roughly $200 into our local businesses."

Price says this relatively small shift could generate $300 million in economic stimulus for the city.

The first marketplace will take place Saturday, Nov. 30 from noon until 4 p.m. at DC Brau. The event will feature 10 local vendors, live music and the brewery's regular Saturday growler fill.

"I really thought it was important for us to be part of this Made in DC Marketplace," says Mari Rodela, community liaison, brand advocate and human resources director at DC Brau. Rodela also serves on the board at Think Local First DC.

She says at Saturday's market, shoppers will be able to find anything from cold- brew coffee, to clothing items, food products and jewelry made out of locally- found items.

"We just have a really large variety of folks coming in," she says. As part of the day, DC Brau will donate 10 percent of the sales to the Elizabeth Glacer Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

Shop Local Week's second marketplace will be held Thursday, Dec. 5 at the Boiler Building at The Yards. That marketplace will also include two panel discussions on the impact of shopping locally.

Dec.6-7, the third marketplace will take place at the Heurich House Museum in Dupont Circle. Price says this event will be especially festive for the holidays.

"You'll be able to tour the house, it will be all decorated for the holidays and there will be traditional German fare, so you'll be able to drink mulled wine and eat sausages and have good beer while you peruse the marketplace," she says.

At all of the markets, Price says items, such as clothing, paper products, children's items and home décor, will be available for purchase.

"Most of anything that would be on your list for someone in one shape or form is being produced at some level in the city," Price says.

The Made in DC Marketplace isn't the only collection of local artisans and businesses. There are several other markets and fairs taking place in the upcoming weeks that feature local goods, just in time for the holidays.


Black Cat Rock-N- Shop: "The city's best record shops, crafters, and many more are coming together to make for a one-of-a-kind shopping experience," the venue writes on its website. Shopping kicks off Sunday, Dec. 8 at 8 p.m.

DC Brau's Made in DC Holiday Marketplace: Local vendors include Cherry Blossom Creative, D.C. Shirt and Print Co., Frankie's Food Truck, Jarring Botanicals, Jon Wye, Junius Cold Brew Coffee Company, n.m.c. Jewelry, Talk Dirt[y], Marcella Kriebel Art & Illustration and more. Also, take a tour of the brewery, fill up your growler and enjoy live music Saturday, Nov. 30 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Can't make it on that date? The Marketplace will also be held on Dec. 5 at The Boiler Building at The Yards and Dec. 6 and 7 at the Heurich House Museum in Dupont Circle.

Thread at Union Market: Nov. 29 through Dec. 1, Union Market will host Thread, a collection of more than 30 local and national designers and artists. In conjunction with the retail marketplace, The Walkmen -- an indie rock band comprised of five D.C. natives -- will play a concert on Nov. 30 in the alley of Dock 5 at 8 p.m.


Now through Dec. 31, Alexandria is promoting local businesses by offering "Buy Local, Learn Local" discounts when you shop at these retailers and restaurants: Caboose Café & Bakery, The Clay Queen Pottery, Dairy Godmother, Del Ray Pizzeria, Del Ray Variety, The Happy Tart, The Healing Tree, Joi Dreams Salon, Kiskadee, Nature's Nibbles, Pork Barrel BBQ, A Show of Hands, St. Elmo's Café and Tios Grill.

Those looking for an alternative to a traditional artisan market are encouraged to check out GRUMP, Dec. 7 at Artisphere in Arlington, Va. Forty local makers will sell their handmade goods at a market designed to resemble an in-person Etsy. Plus, the day promises a DJ, snacks and a Yeti sighting.

Virginia Beach Christmas Market brings together more than 250 artisans and crafters from the region and across the country. It runs Nov. 29 through Dec. 1 at the Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults and $2 for children 6 to 12 years old. Kids under 6 get in for free.

The Vienna Arts and Craft Showcase: More than 80 artisans featuring handmade crafts will sell their wares Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 at the Vienna Community Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $3 and parking is free.

McLean Holiday Crafts Show: Fiber arts, wood, ceramics and pottery, jewelry, glass, holiday decor, items for children, gourmet foods, paper art, photography, soft sculpture, paintings and drawings will all be featured at this show from Dec. 6 to Dec. 8 at the McLean Community Center.

Falls Church Christmas will also have its own craft show Dec. 7 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Dec. 8 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Community Center. On Saturday, kids get their very own craft show in the same location from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Herndon Holiday Arts & Crafts Show is expecting more than 70 artisans at the Herndon Community Center Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vendors and artists will sell fine art, jewelry, home goods and more.


Fenton Street Market: Find everything from handmade candles and scarves to toys for kids and grownups at the Silver Spring market. Swing by the Blair East Club Room on East-West Highway Dec. 15 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Click here for a list of vendors.

Follow @WTOP and @WTOPliving on Twitter.

© 2013 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.