When people think of shopping for holiday decorations in Reston, they probably think of Target and Home Depot, and perhaps other chain stores like Pottery Barn or Williams Sonoma. But if you would rather have decorations that don’t look just like your friends’, or you’d like to support local businesses and independent artists, look beyond the chains. There are lots of Christmas ornaments, gifts, and decor made by independent artists in the smaller shops around town.
I set off to find handmade Christmas decorations around Reston, and found lots of great options in some unexpected places. What surprised me most is that the prices of many these products rivaled those at Target. I figured that I couldn’t be the only person in Reston who was surprised by these great finds, so I wanted to share my discoveries and get the word out.
The Reston Museum hosts a holiday shop until early January 2015, offering a large collection of crafts made by local artists. In addition to holiday decorations, they sell jewelry, textiles, holiday cards, and books created by Reston residents. I didn’t expect to find so many beautiful items there, and the prices were much lower than their quality would suggest. Highlights include:
Handpainted glass ornaments by Dana Scheurer: $20
A variety of hand-crafted ornaments by local artists: $1-$6
Christmas wine glasses painted by Janis and Mike Miller: $20
I also loved their holiday cards made by local artists and photographers, many of which feature Reston scenes.
THE BIRD FEEDER
This shop in the Home Depot shopping center is a locally-owned, independent gem that specializes in birdhouses, birdseed, and outdoor decor. I was not expecting to find beautiful Christmas decorations there. They have a great collection of ornaments and decor made by independent artists, many of which feature birds and other animals. Two of my favorite products were gourds carved into Santas and snowmen, and the hand-painted animal ornaments.
Animal glass ornaments, hand-painted by a Delaware artist: $23
Santa gourd lidded containers: starting at $20
Santa gourd Christmas tree ornaments: starting at $6
As we mentioned in an article last week, Chesapeake Chocolates is a great place to buy locally-made gifts and treats. They also make decorative chocolates that would make fun party favors, hostess gifts, or stocking stuffers. They can make chocolates in a variety of holiday shapes, including snowmen, nutcrackers, and reindeer. Christmas highlights include:
Chocolate Christmas trees: $11.50
Chocolate gingerbread house (with additional decorations available): $28
Gift baskets and chocolate assortments: prices vary
LAKE ANNE FLORIST
Located in the same storefront as Chesapeake Chocolates is Lake Anne Florist, which is always an excellent place to buy locally sourced gifts. In addition to flowers, they sell Virginia wines, local foods, and gift baskets. Last year they made gorgeous floral arrangements for my family’s Christmas dinner, including one shaped like a dog for our kids’ table. They sell handmade Christmas decorations, including:
Glass ornaments by local painters (I loved the Lake Anne one): $8
Christmas wreaths: $20
One of my favorite shops at Reston Town Center is Appalachian Spring, which sells gorgeous handcrafted art all year round. They are a locally owned business, with three locations in DC and this one in Virginia. It’s a great place to buy one-of-a-kind gifts, including jewelry, home decor, and toys. At Christmastime they feature a beautiful display of handblown glass ornaments, made by a variety of artists from around the country.
Handblown glass ornaments: $20-$48.
Also located at Reston Town Center is Mayflowers, another personal favorite. They are an independent, Reston-based floral shop that features beautiful and contemporary arrangements and decor. They sell stylish flower pots and other gifts, along with fabulous wreaths and other holiday greenery.
Christmas wreaths in a variety of styles: prices vary
SMALL CHANGE CONSIGNMENTS
Small Change Consignments at Lake Anne Plaza is best known for selling high-quality, used children’s clothing. (I’ve saved tons of money over the years by buying my kids’ clothes there.) It’s also a great place to buy new toys, puzzles, and other holiday gifts. Small Change also sell handmade toys and blankets made by local artisans, which would make adorable and surprisingly affordable gifts.
Merry Moose, by Joan’s Knitted Dolls: $35
Merry Mouse, by Joan’s Knitted Dolls: $15
Handmade Christmas blanket: $30
These suggestions are just a small selection of the handmade Christmas items around town. Do you know of others to recommend? Please tells us in the comments.
If you are an artist selling holiday gifts, please let us know. We’d love to see what you are creating.