From Melanie Hudson. Email her at melanie[AT]borderstan.com.
What? What’s that you say? It’s December 17 and you forgot about Christmas? Only a fellow procrastinator like me would understand your dilemma – so, relax, Borderstanis, I’ve got you covered.
This year, trade in the airport-gift-shop snow globes and tacky flea market pashminas for gifts with legs: these gift ideas double as outings and are as unique as they are fun. You’ll get credit for thinking of your friends and family, as well as for organizing something better than the office holiday party cruise on the Potomac.
- For your clever (and discreet) assistant: Take him/her to cozy Tabard Inn (1739 N Street NW) for classic cocktails by the fire and bond over something more interesting than spreadsheets and to-do lists. While it’s not the newest or trendiest choice around, there is good reason it’s as busy now as it ever was. Order the mulled cider, a Sazerac, or one of the expert bartenders’ crafty concoctions perfectly suited to this festive time of year, and confess where you really were that one day you called in “sick.” This ought to make the office a lot more fun.
- For your long-distance sweetheart visiting on New Year’s Eve: The overwhelming pressure to entertain an out-of-town guest is only slightly less stifling than the immense burden to “have fun” on New Year’s Eve. Conquer both with one click and head to the 9:30 Club (815 V Street NW): on December 31, you can see the very popular alt-rock-country band Drive-By Truckers with special guest and Bonaroo favorite North Mississippi Allstars. After an evening of singing and dancing with your fellow plaid shirt wearing fans – plus a champagne toast at midnight – your honey-dear will want to stick around well into the new year.
- For your best friend with kids who never spoils herself anymore: Organize a day out for a woman who really needs it – whether she will admit it or not. Take an afternoon shopping tour of Borderstan, either for last-minute gifts (if she is a procrastinator like you!) or to take advantage of post-Christmas sales, that doubles as quality best friend time. There are so many routes to choose from, all lined with home goods, clothing, baby, furniture, paper, food and pet shops galore: 14th Street NW from Thomas Circle to U Street; U Street NW from 9th to 18th Streets; or Connecticut Avenue NW from K Street to Florida Avenue. It will be her favorite gift all year.
- For your parents (you know, the people you generally take for granted the other 11 months of the year): Something about the festive atmosphere of a French bistro reminds us of the holidays. This year, get out of the house and pretend you’re in Paris with a Christmas Eve meal at Bistro La Bonne (1340 U Street NW) – your treat. On December 24 they will be open from noon until 10 p.m. and are offering a special three-course holiday meal in addition to their regular menu classics like steak frites, cassoulet and mussels. Further impress your family by making a reservation and have Champagne waiting at the table. It’s only once a year you can realistically keep this up, so you might as well make it good.
- For your neighbors who have the dubious honor of holding your spare key: Say thank you for all those times you locked yourself out or left the iron plugged in or forgot to feed your cat. Take your neighbors’ annual holiday party to the next level and have a half case (or more) of wine or several bottles of spirits delivered straight to their door via 1 West Dupont Circle Wine and Liquor (2012 P Street NW). This huge bottle shop just off Dupont Circle at P Street will deliver for free, and even bring ice which is always the first thing to go. With this generosity, your neighbors will become your friends – and be more likely to overlook the fact you stayed at their party perhaps one drink too long.
And if none of these ideas suit you, it’s always a good idea to give to your favorite local nonprofit in honor of someone you love; most nonprofits will send a card to the honoree acknowledging your gift in their name. It’s a generous way to let someone know you’re thinking of them during this annual season of giving.