Jeff’s Favorite Things – 2019 Holiday Guide!

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

Jeff Wilson Top 11

I can’t wait to do this event next year with our girls. We always take them to see the Nutcracker and the look of wonder and amazement in their eyes is priceless. To pair it with a tea at my favorite DC spot, The Willard, would be unreal! The show is at the Warner Theater, another DC favorite, right around the corner from the Willard. What could be easier or more magical? Proceeds benefit the Washington Ballet School and the Washington Ballet. So it tastes good and does good!


I just love this place. It’s a healthy blend of crazy, whimsey, exploration, and inspiration, possibly with a bit of stay-vacation mixed in! This property is a DC landmark and treasure, full of items for sale, a BnB, an event space, and a great place off the beaten path for brunch and holiday shopping. Its founder, H. H Leonards, is still actively involved and you may find her valet parking your car or bussing your table at dinner. It’s a very special place to spend a few minutes or even a few hours! 


Another of my favorites is this bespoke crystal company. I’ve found true treasures here from crystal Labrador retrievers, to stunning crystal trees and bowls. Their selection goes from practical to purely decorative, all with a particular perfection to them. If you need a last minute gift for just about anybody on your list, you’ll enjoy browsing their online catalog here.

Gingerbread House Decorating 

We were fortunate enough to take our girls to this event this year, and WOW, what fun we had! The hotel sets up the houses and an incredible display of candy for each guest, not to mention lots of drinks and snacks along the way. Then the Ritz-Carlton pastry staff comes out and helps you decorate until your heart is content. We now have 5 of the most amazing houses on our mantle, each unique, each an expression of person who created it. And while this was for the kids, I got to get my architect/decorator fix while creating something that I just love. This is HIGHLY recommended! 

Mrs. Prindables 

I love giving these apples to say “thank you” or to brighten somebody’s day. They are HUGE, delicious, come beautifully wrapped, and are so special you can’t help but smile when you open one. I’ve always gotten rave reviews and certainly wouldn’t mind receiving one myself! Of course I had to quality control test one before deciding they were good enough to send!


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.

Elenis Christmas Cookies 

I found these cookies to be so charming and well done that I had to add them to this list. Their creations are both beautiful and delicious. We’ve been fortunate enough to receive them as gifts and I wanted to share them with you so that you can buy them for yourself or a friend. If you need my address I’m happy to send it to you! Visit the Elenis website here.

Winter Igloo 

A popular thing in DC these days is for our top hotels to offer outdoor dining in the middle of winter, under a heated igloo! We’ve had the pleasure of dining under one at the Four Season’s Bourbon Steak, and the Watergate Hotel also offers them as a spot for eating or cocktails. Nothing could be more unique and fun really, but book in advance as they are popular and fill up fast. We’ve reserved another one for just after the holidays! Can’t wait! CLICK HERE

National Tree Lighting 

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. 96 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.

Kurt Walters The Gift Bearers 

My dear friend Kurt Walters is a master artist, and loves the Christmas genre. Here he’s created the Gift Bearers, a beautiful and detailed set of Christmas figures, in pure white, perfect for any décor. We have two sets and display them on mantles and on holiday tables, helping create something special over the holidays. You can see all of Kurt’s creations, from ornaments and hand towels to the Gift Bearers and custom art pieces at his website here. Enjoy!

Ice Skating 

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 18 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.

Let me know what you think. The good, the bad, the ugly, the sublime!

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