Star Shops of Georgetown

The holiday season arrived in Georgetown right on time this year, manifested in festive lamppost adornments, shop-window displays filled with snowflakes and cheer and the unmistakable bite in the air from Old Man Winter himself. My boots hit the cobblestone sidewalk with a peppy clickity-clack as I stepped outside the Dolcezza on Wisconsin Avenue on a recent Saturday afternoon, fueled by an aromatic cup of joe.

My mission? Complete the remainder of my holiday shopping list in one hour. Good thing I’m pretty well versed in this shopping-in-Georgetown thing.
First stop? The new Georgetown Olive Oil Company store, to pick up something for my boyfriend’s parents. I first popped into the shop a couple weeks ago after work. I had just picked up a French baguette from the Foggy Bottom Trader Joe’s and was looking forward to finding something yummy to complement it. Upon entering, I was blown away by the vast variety of olive oils that not only exist, but are available in this beautiful shop. The owner, Emil, spent time educating me on the varied health benefits that oils from different regions of the world offer. I sampled a dozen different flavor varieties (a fraction of the 165 in the store).

If this sounds like olive oil overkill, do yourself a favor and go see for yourself why it’s not. After doing a side-by-side taste test of any oil in the store versus a moderately priced bottle you might pick up in Safeway (Emil keeps a supermarket bottle on hand for this purpose), you will become a believer. The three-bottle packs that Georgetown Olive Oil Company is currently offering in hemp gift bags of festive hues make the perfect holiday gift, as a stand-alone or paired with complimentary sea salts, jams and chocolates. Gift Number One, checked off my list.

My trek continued all the way down Wisconsin Avenue to the corner of K Street. Barre3, the studio offering classes designed to balance, strengthen and lengthen the body with moves inspired by ballet, yoga and Pilates, is here. The gorgeous space, defined by hardwood and exposed brick, exudes warmth and a sense of community. Studio owner Jill Warren first invited me to try a class more than two years ago. The Georgetown studio has been a spot for me to rebalance, reboot and embrace mental and physical well-being ever since. I’ve been dying to get my stepmom to give it a try, so what better time to purchase a set of classes for gifting? Gift Number Two — check.

With gifts for my three sisters in mind, I head back up to M Street to the beauty-product store Lush. Lush’s whole philosophy centers around creating products for the hair and skin using fresh, natural ingredients. I stumbled upon the brand a few years ago when I was looking for an effective hair mask that wouldn’t break the bank. Naturally, I consulted with a college sorority sister (who has the healthiest, shiniest locks I’ve ever seen). She recommended Lush’s “Jasmine & Henna Fluff Eaze” mask. One try and I became a devoted convert. In addition to their top-notch hair masks, the shop is chock-full of natural soaps, lip glosses and face masks. This time of year, it is overflowing with an array of perfectly edited holiday gift sets. A basketful of products later, this gift-shop stop is complete.
As I head back up Wisconsin toward home, I make a final stop at fine-stationary store Just Paper & Tea on P Street. The assortment of beautifully crafted cards within make this an effortless one-stop-shop for all of the holiday card recipients on my list. Owners Nick and Carolyn are the embodiment of warm and affable; I feel cheerier and more filled with holiday spirit just for having stopped by.

As I stroll homeward amid groups of bustling holiday shoppers, I look to my left and pause, suddenly seized by the idyllic scene before me. Candlelit tables, crowded by families, friends and lovers, are visible through the windowpanes of tiny Café Bonaparte, creating a postcard-like display. I am struck for a moment by the beauty of the season in Georgetown. The gifts I’ve purchased for loved ones were chosen with care, yet the spirit of the season expressed in smiles exchanged is truly the greatest gift of all.

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