Jeff’s 12 Favorite Things – 2018 Holiday Gift Guide

Here are 12 of my favorite things. I'm sharing in hopes these make your holidays just a little better, as they have mine!

Christmas in Middleburg

There’s nothing quite like the spectacle of The Middleburg Hunt coming down Main Street to kick off the holiday season in the bucolic Virginia countryside. But be forewarned, it’s THIS weekend! The day is chock-full of events and happenings, from breakfast with Santa and the Holiday Parade to the craft fair and lots and lots of hot chocolate! Hope to see you there! Click here to Visit.

Nothing says “I love you” quite like a lavish gift, an unnecessary gift, but an equally amazingly and thoughtful gift nonetheless. And nothing says that better than ROLEX! I’ve been goal-setting for the new year and this little morsel is on my “gift list to myself” when I get there. I love Bob’s Watches for their selection and quality. And as you know, I’m too cheap to pay retail so this is my source! I may have made a purchase or two there before (wink). Check out Bob’s Watches here. For other brands including Rolex, I like True Facet, found here. 
Holiday Tea at the Willard

Did you know the word “lobbyist” was coined in the grand hall of the Willard, where those seeking to influence Congressmen would wait in the Willard’s lobby to try their hand at persuasion? Seems that label has stuck another feather in the cap of the Willard, also renowned for its High Tea. Especially at holiday time, it’s a not-to-be-missed experience and you’ll need to book in advance. While there, be sure to check out the hotel’s incredible holiday decor and gingerbread display that includes a very realistic version of our own National Airport. Visit Peacock Alley at The Willard here.
Caroline's Cakes

Here’s a great gift idea! You can bring one to a dinner and it’ll be the star attraction, send one in the mail to a loved one, or send one to me. Caroline’s Cakes are amazing. I was gifted one before a party and it was SO GOOD, I’ve never tried another kind! What flavor ranks so highly it’s not even worth the challenge? Caramel. OH OH OH. Trust me, send one to yourself and you’re guaranteed to have your best holiday ever. Visit their site here.  

We just love the National Zoo, and during the holidays its “magical” quotient is on steroids with ZooLights, a nightly festival with thousands of colorful light displays, laser shows, a toboggan run, animal sculptures, concerts and caroling, and of course, the carousel. Bundle up, bring a cocoa, put the kids in the stroller, and have a wonderful evening! Visit the ZooLights website here.  
Shah & Shah Distinctive Jewelers

Here’s one for the ladies on your list, or yourself! My dear friend Colin, proprietor and designer at Shah & Shah, is ready to dazzle you with the finest and rarest stones from around the world, hand-crafted into incomparable one-of-a-kind pieces. From the magnificent to the modest, Colin has it all. Everything dreamy, each piece beyond special, and for less than you’re paying at your current jeweler. I’m having cufflinks made and this is also were we buy our baby gifts. So you don’t have to buy diamonds to find something wonderful!  Visit their website here and be prepared to be amazed!
National Menorah Lighting

A long-standing Washington tradition is the lighting ceremony of the National Menorah, also coming up this weekend on Sunday! The National Menorah is the largest in the world and resides across from the White House on the Ellipse. It’s an event that’s televised to millions worldwide and attended by thousands in person, with concerts, lots of great food, and activities for the whole family.  Check out more details here. 
Two Blind Brothers - Shop Blind

I just adore this company, their mission, their spirit, their product, and dare I say it, their vision. Founded by two brothers who are going blind with macular degenerative disease, the pair have combined their personal quest with those of thousands of people suffering from eye disease and blindness. ALL of their proceeds go to medical research to prevent and cure blindness. ALL of their clothes are of the most sensual fabrics you’ll ever encounter. ALL of their clothes are made by blind people. And, in keeping with the company’s mission, you can now “Shop Blind,” underscoring what living with blindness means to millions of people daily. The need to trust others. Go to their site and “Shop Blind” by selecting a price point and a size. Your marvelous mystery gift will be in the mail, you’ll be happy, and someone who can’t see will be one step closer to restored vision. Visit Two Blind Brothers here.
The Nutcracker

As a father of three little girls, there was nothing quite as magical as watching their delight and awe as they watched The Nutcracker for the first time, just last year! We went to the historic Warner Theater to see the Washington Ballet’s classic performance and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. With multiple performances and times, you’re sure to find one that suits your schedule. It’s a new holiday tradition in our family, and hopefully in yours too. Enjoy! Find performances and get your tickets here.  
Kennedy Center Concerts

As Washington’s crown jewel of culture and performance art, The Kennedy Center is home to over 2,000 performances a year, many of which occur throughout the holiday season. You can see everything from chamber and classical music concerts, to sing alongs, opera, theater, and symphonies. It’s one of my favorite places to go and the performances are always world-class. Did you know that there is also a free performance every day of the year there? Go, just go!  See upcoming events here.
Ice Skating at Washington Harbour

It is said that Dorothy Hamill trained for her Olympic Gold here in Georgetown. And, while that may not be entirely true as she won in 1976 and Washington Harbour wasn’t complete until 1986, why let the facts get in the way of a good story! You can get your Hamill on day or night at this great rink overlooking the Potomac River while being surrounded by restaurants and cafes! What could be better than numbing the pain of your Hamill Camel fail with a hot toddy or a Kahlua and coffee? We’ll be hosting our friends and clients here and at Nick’s Riverside Grill on Saturday, January 19 from 11-2. If you care to join us then, please do and RSVP to me directly. Visit the Washington Harbour ice skating site here.
National Christmas Tree

In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge walked from the White House to the Ellipse to light a 48-foot fir tree decorated with 2,500 electric bulbs in red, white and green, as a local choir and a quartet from the U.S. Marine Band performed. 95 years later, this American holiday tradition continues to bring people together to share in the tradition and to view 56 state and territory trees decorated with handmade ornaments that are unique to each tree.  There are toy trains, Santa’s workshop, nightly concerts, and all the lights you’d expect on a 52-foot tall tree! Visit the National Christmas Tree Lighting site here.

I hope your holidays are wonderful and meaningful, surrounded by those you love and who love you.  I’m grateful to be even a small part or your lives and feel blessed to count each and every one of you as my friend.  

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