A longtime standby, this Bethesda gift shop is an explosion of color, brimming with housewares, jewelry, clothing, furniture and more. You can keep your focus local by snagging a few Chouquette bonbons (yes, Old Bay seasoning, caramel and chocolate do taste nice together) or a beachy-bright bag from Scout, the Georgetown-based accessories company.
7770 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda, 301-656-6088, thebluehousebethesda.com
For the Consummate Host:
Your dinner party host deserves better than a bottle of Cupcake Chardonnay. This gem in Wildwood Shopping Center provides quirky-cool artisan kitchenware, scented candles, books and other home decor. During a recent visit we spotted items that would suit everyone from a sarcastic bachelor (felt pillows by Alexandra Ferguson with sayings such as “Be Nice or Leave”) to a Julia Child wannabe (Larch Wood wooden cutting boards).
10253 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, 301-571-7333, redorchard.com
For the Birthday Boy or Girl:
Strathmore Gift Shop
Located in The Mansion at Strathmore, this gift shop offers a trove of potential presents for crafty kids: kits for making puppets, haute coloring books (think animals or fairy-tale characters) and magnetic block sets. Or snag one of Areaware’s whimsical Cubebots, wooden robot figures that can be posed a zillion ways.
10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, 301-581-5175, strathmore.org
For the Co-worker:
It’s hard to go wrong with neutral. At this serene home-and-clothing shop, you’ll find lots of creams, grays and metallics. Expect fringed wraps and scarves (around $100), Turkish hand towels in muted shades, and lots of pretty barware. Jewelry in natural materials—such as freshwater pearls—also shines.
10241 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, 301-493-9000, cocoblanca.com
For the Fashionista:
Sure, diamonds are sparkling, but the jewelry at this hidden gem in Mazza Gallerie would make a clothing-mad 20-something’s heart melt. Gift-worthy dazzlers range from Chan Luu’s elegant leather-and-pearl wrap bracelets to party-ready dangle earrings (with big faux gems and bright fringe) by brands such as Gas Bijoux and Iradj Moini.
5300 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., 202-244-0777, tabandehjewelry.com
For the Newlyweds:
When the wedding registry has been completely picked over, check out this snug boutique, which specializes in spa and bath products from Mediterranean countries. Pick up his-and-hers matching robes in terry or cotton broadcloth, colorful striped hand towels and scented olive oil soaps. A sweet-smelling candle from Aquiesse offers a little extra romance.
7123 Bethesda Lane, Bethesda, 301-656-2302, sabunhome.com