Holiday Gift Guide 2019: Eco-responsible gifts | Alexandria Hours




By Luke Anderson | [email protected]

Christmas lights on all night, wrapping paper strewn on the floor – the holidays can be a tough time to stay green. Now more than ever, the time has come to consider ways to reduce our footprint beyond simple recycling.

This week, we’re showcasing eco-friendly gifts available around Alexandria. Whether you’re shopping for someone who cares a lot about the planet or for your own sustainable self-reliance, these gifts are sure to put a smile on everyone’s face on your list.

With so many green gift options at your fingertips, there’s no reason not to take advantage. After all, this is the only way to guarantee future generations an abundance of Christmas trees and not to see Frosty melt away for good.

Be sure to check out next week’s holiday gift guide, which will focus on last minute gifts to buy locally.

Narratio Vitae

All around town Christmas trees have been decorated and wrapped in lights, but there is another tree that could use some light – your family tree.

Lisa Maddox, founder and owner of Narratio Vitae, is working on a project at her kitchen table. (Photo / Missy Schrott)

Narratio Vitae is a family history business owned by former Central Intelligence Agency analyst Lisa Maddox. Its research goes more in depth than a standard DNA test and may focus on a specific branch or individual within your loved one’s lineage.

“The end product is a private, personalized website that contains stories from the life of the client’s ancestors, including historical background, photos, documents and even audio or video clips of family talks,” Maddox said. .

Unlike a photo album or book, Narratio Vitae’s websites are 100 percent paperless and can be shared with a relative who lives across town or across the globe. A blog feature allows family and friends to post comments and start meaningful family discussions that can be shared with future generations. It is the gift that keeps on giving.

The price varies depending on the scope of the project. To learn more, visit

Tall ship Providence

Gift cards for tours and cruises to Providence, the Revolutionary War reproduction ship docked in the Old Town, are now available, just in time for the holidays.

Tall ship Providence. (Photo / Missy Schrott)

“Gift cards are available in $ 25 denominations from $ 25 to $ 200 and can be used for tickets for tours and cruises, but not for merchandise in our gift shop,” said Diana West, Director programs and communications for the Tall Ship Providence Foundation. .

Gift cards can be redeemed online or in person at the foundation’s counter at 1 Cameron Street, West said. Right now, tickets are available for tours and cruises scheduled for March 9 or later, according to West. Once the schedule goes live for January and February, tickets for those months will also be available.

Print the gift cards and stuff them in your family’s bottoms or choose the zero waste option and email them.

The ship uses very little energy. During tours, the only energy used is electricity to keep the lights on. During cruises, wind and sail are used to propel the ship as much as possible.

For prices, lineup, and updates, visit

Ten thousand villages

People often emphasize goodwill towards others during the holiday season. Why not buy a gift that will please your loved one and return them to a disadvantaged community?

Ten Thousand Villages Recycled Keyboard is the perfect gift for the writer or computer assistant
In your family. (Courtesy photo)

Every purchase from Ten Thousand Villages at 915 King St. helps fund its business model, which involves giving money back to the artisans and communities around the world who create the products in the store, according to the company’s website. .

In addition, the products are made with respect for the environment and recycled materials are used wherever possible. Take a woven saddle bag, in eco-leather. The tanning process avoids the use of dangerous chemicals and instead uses materials derived from sustainable tea bark extracts and waxes, a process used in ancient India, according to owner Kate McMahon. It is available for $ 99.99.

Keyboard Frames are an interesting recycled gift for a writer or loved one who works in IT. The store also sells frames made from recycled hard drives. Depending on the size, the frames cost between $ 20.99 and $ 24.99.

There are also a lot of gifts for your furry friends. In addition to the treats, your dog could enjoy a new pillow made from recycled cotton sarees for $ 89.99. The cat basket is also made from recycled sarees and, for $ 39.99, provides the perfect spot for your feline to snuggle up next to a warm fireplace.

New condition

Whether you are looking for the perfect holiday dress or the perfect gift, you can find both at Mint Condition. The women’s clothing and consignment store is located at 103 S. St. Asaph St. – just look for the mint green exterior.

Mint Condition has a lot of items to place under the tree. (Photo / Luc Anderson)

Mint Condition carries items from more than 4,000 consignees, both local and across the country, owner Megan Podolsky said. All items are gently used and from different designer brands, from J. Crew to Valentino.

A few items currently on sale include a clutch, wallet and fanny pack – a chic and modern fanny pack – all from Gucci. There are also Chanel jewelry and a Louis Vuitton makeup bag.

With so many options of clothing, shoes and bags, whoever you buy for will be delighted.

BW Antiques

Some things never go out of style. Many vintage items are well made, have stood the test of time, and are one of a kind, making them wonderful eco-friendly gifts.

BW Antiques customers can browse hundreds of rings, necklaces and other jewelry. (Photo / Luc Anderson)

The boutique, located at 108 N. Fayette St., has three floors full of treasures, such as “museum-worthy” paintings, books, beer mugs, silver, china and china. porcelain. It also has shelves on jewelry shelves.

The company is owned by Pierre-Yves and his mother, originally from Austria and antique collectors for over 40 years. For 15 years, Alexandrian families and antique lovers have come to BW Antiques to fill their historic homes.

Other notable customers include Kennedy Center Opera and Katy Perry, who visited the boutique in October to purchase jewelry, Pierre-Yves said.

Prices vary depending on the piece, but if you’re looking for someone who appreciates a gift with some history, look no further than this one-stop shop for anything vintage.

Vélocity bicycle cooperative

Tucked away in the garage, your rusty old bike never ceases to attract your attention. Instead of throwing it away, get it fixed and offer it again.

Volunteer David Nadrchal repairs one of the many Velocity bikes in their store. (Photo / Andrew Stringer)

Vélocity Bicycle Cooperative is a used bicycle store at 2111 Mt. Vernon Avenue in Del Ray, and it will make you give up on the idea of ​​buying a new bike. For $ 75 you can get a full tune up regardless of your bike’s shape, although parts replacement might be extra.

If you don’t have a bike, Vélocity offers you a wide choice of used and reconditioned bikes for purchase. Choose from all the different sizes, shapes and brands.

“When we receive donated bikes, we do our best to restore the bikes and get them rolling,” said Vélocity board chairman Joe Davison. “If we can’t, we usually remove usable parts so that others can buy them cheaply from our co-op. “

All other unusable parts are recycled.

For more information on Vélocity and their services, visit

Your CBD store

Toast your family and friends for good health and a pain-free New Year when you give them the gift of CBD oil.

Many products at Your CBD Store are affordable and make great stocking stuffers. (Courtesy photo)

Find it at your CBD store in Suite B at 301 S. Washington St. Director Shells Karle said their products contain the highest quality raw materials from their farms in Colorado and Oregon and follow the guidelines. strictest regulations on hemp. All their products are tested before consumption to guarantee the greatest safety.

They have plenty of affordable products ranging from $ 10 to $ 40, including CBD bath bombs, lip balms, collagen cream, lotions, and edibles. Gift baskets are also available, starting at $ 80.

In December, Your CBD Store is running a special deal for some tincture, water-soluble, topical, and oversized edibles – buy two and get the third half. Gift cards are also available.

If you’d like to purchase reading materials to learn more about CBD oil, the store has copies of Shira Adler’s book, “The Basics of CBD.”

Four wellness directions

Many New Year’s resolutions are about eating better, exercising, and improving overall health, both mentally and physically. Of course, some of us might need help achieving these goals.

Mara Benner, President and Founder of Four Directions Wellness, helps a client focus in an individual session. (Courtesy photo)

Four Directions Wellness “helps people connect intuitively with mind, body, emotions and spirit,” said President and Founder Mara Benner.

The company is affiliated with the GW Center for Integrative Medicine and is located at 2001 Mt. Vernon Ave. to Del Ray.

Services include meditation and mindfulness, integrative reflexology, discovery of your true north sessions, Reiki and nutritional coaching. Clients can explore any or all of these through one-on-one sessions, courses and consultancy services. Gift certificates are available.

Classes for next year include Reiki training, nutrition classes, planning with a 2020 goal, and mind-body-spirit classes, Benner said. For those who would like to test these services before committing, a free Reiki session will be offered on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

(Read more: Christmas Gift Guide 2019: Discover Alexandria)


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