Holiday Shopping Best Bets from Our Shop Local Guide
By Kathy Knotts & Krista Pfunder
The Saturday after Thanksgiving is now Small Business Saturday, and across Chesapeake Country, our local small business owners need our patronage now more than ever.
The coronavirus pandemic has prompted reduced capacity in retail stores, leading to fewer employees able to work and fewer dollars coming in to pay those employees (and keep the lights on).
This year, instead of buying all of your holiday gifts online or at big chain stores, consider shopping local first. Many merchants carry what you are looking for, or if you don’t know what you’re looking for, their careful selections will inspire an idea. Some offer curbside pickup, some offer gift wrapping, some will even deliver or ship for you. All you have to do is ask.
Naturally we still want everyone to support local restaurants, wineries, breweries, coffee and tea shops and food makers by purchasing gift cards and meals to-go. Support your local performers, too, by making donations and buying subscriptions for when they return to stages again.
For presents to wrap and place under the tree (or in loved ones’ arms), read on. Here are CBM Bay Weekly’s gift ideas from our favorite shops that could use some holiday love from you. Your purchase is a holiday gift in itself—given to these small businesses in the true spirit of the season.
Maryland Federation of Art
Know an art lover who is hard to please? Buy them a mystery piece of artwork from the Maryland Federation of Art’s “In the Box” fundraiser. For $50, MFA will randomly assign a member’s piece of art to a ticket and then ship the surprises in mid-December. Act fast, as ticket sales end Dec. 5: https://mdfedart.com/in-the-box/
Annapolis Maritime Museum
We love these oyster tin-inspired candles sold by the Annapolis Maritime Musuem, in partnership with Annapolis Candle. Each has a burn time of 75 hours and you can save $5 when you purchase two or more. The Wilma Lee Skipjack candle has notes of citrus, violet, and gardenia; the Pearl Oyster candle features the iconic McNasby’s Pearl brand oyster label and is scented with coconut, lemon and white tea. $30 each: www.amaritime.org.
Wimsey Cove Framing & Fine Art Printing
There’s so much to choose from in a gallery store like Wimsey Cove. We love their shadow boxes and framed historical maps, but for a really special gift, consider letting them do your photo restoration work and turn an old damaged print into a truly remarkable framed work of art. We also loved their map-themed bags, coasters, mugs and trivets. 209 Chinquapin Round Rd., Annapolis, 410-956-7278: www.marylandframing.com.
Here.a pop-up shop
This boutique features locally made items from clothing and accessories to jewelry and home décor. This is shopping local at its easiest. Find them in their storefront in downtown Annapolis during the holidays or shop their online site anytime. Stop by on Small Business Saturday and receive a free gift with any purchase. Give the gift of creating this holiday season with this fun kit from Jenadi Creatives (also, it’ll keep the little ones busy while you enjoy that cup of coffee or wine). But these aren’t just for the kids. Gift them to your girl gang or far-flung family and meet up on Zoom to chat while you create. Three designs to choose from ($25 each). 186 Main Street, Annapolis, www.hereapopupshop.com.
Chesapeake Bay Magazine
Get your gift-giving plan on the right tack this holiday season: Give the gift of the Bay lifestyle. Buy a subscription to our sister publication, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, before December 12 for just $29.95. (Yes, they’re a local small business, too, based in Eastport.) Your gift recipient will receive an email letting them know what they can look forward to in the coming year—plus, you get one of CBM’s sought-after special editions: Weekends on the Water or Exploring the Potomac River. Put it under the tree for them! To buy a Gift Subscription, call 410-263-2662.
Museums have also been hard hit this year. Purchase this exclusive hand-painted glass holiday ornament from the Historic Annapolis Museum Store for gift-giving, or even just for your own tree, and know that you not only own a limited-edition item but that you helped this nonprofit continue to provide programming and research for years to come. This year’s ornament features a snowy Maryland Government House decorated for the holidays. $40, available in the museum store, 77 Main St., and online: www.annapolis.org/shop.
Around Anne Arundel County
The Irish Restaurant Company
If someone on your shopping list is a fan of the most iconic holiday drink, then a bottle of Galway Bay Authentic Irish Egg Nog only needs a bow to become the perfect present. Enjoy it on its own or create a seasonal cocktail to warm your spirits. This old Irish recipe expertly blends spiced Irish Whiskey, vanilla, and Irish cream, finished off with a hit of nutmeg to create a seasonal delight. (There’s also Irish Egg Nog Ice Cream created in partnership with the Annapolis Ice Cream Co., but we aren’t responsible for how you gift wrap that.) Buy it by the bottle ($23.99) or half case (six bottles, $137) at the Irish Restaurant Company’s Brian Boru, Galway Bay, Killarney House or Pirates Cove restaurants. www.galwaybaymd.com.
A Vintage Deale
This charming store in Deale features an eclectic, hand-picked mix of furniture, jewelry, fine linens, clothing and artwork. They decorate their large windows with seasonal displays of what’s waiting inside for you. How about a sparkly new holiday table setting or your very own Charles Dare carved carousel horse? 655 Deale Rd., Deale: 443-203-6157; www.facebook.com/avintagedeale
Experience gifts are the kind of present that lasts long after the tree comes down. This year, gift a budding equestrian with horseback riding lessons at En-tice-ment Stables at Obligation Farm in Harwood. Purchase semi-private half-hour lessons ($40) and look forward to mounting up this spring. Email: [email protected] or visit them at: www.enticementstables.com
We love stopping by Homestead Gardens just to browse all their great holiday décor, Christmas trees, wreaths and all things evergreen. Looking for a gift for the proud Marylander in your life? Grab them some winter gear that proclaims their love for the Old Line State. Find everything from tin cups to hats and scarfs ($23-$33) in Evelyn’s Boutique at the Davidsonville location. Homestead is also debuting a new online store, so you can order on the website and pick-up curbside. 743 West Central Ave., Davidsonville; 522 Ritchie Hwy, Severna Park, www.homesteadgardens.com.
Vintage By the Bay
Stop by this shop full of vintage refurbished furniture, home decor, artwork by local artists and hidden treasures and help them celebrate their first anniversary this weekend. Watch their Facebook page for new arrivals and let them know what catches your eye. Give them a call and they can take payment over the phone and offer contactless curbside pickup. We are currently swooning over this sideboard and all the festive holiday décor. 645 Deale Rd., Deale, 443-203-6157, Facebook @Vintagebythebaydeale.
This friendly boutique in Friendship offers unique home accents and furnishings, as well as apparel and accessories. This is one of those shops where there is always something interesting to discover—and it always smells so good. We like these holiday coasters with saucy sayings ($9.95 each). 2 Friendship Rd., Friendship: 410-257-7510.
The Polymath Place
Need a gift for a curious kid? Head to this educational center in Deale for gifts that inspire creative thinking like a kit to build a camera obscura … or buy a round of their signature classes, camps and workshops. New this year is a Shop Local retail space featuring goods from local businesses and crafters including Nina’s Ceramics, Charlie Rae Skincare, Skipper’s Pier, Jesse Jay’s, Cleaning Made Easy, My Daily Choice, A Root Awakening and the Girl Scouts. 5735 Deale Churchton Rd., Deale: www.thepolymathplace.com.
Around Calvert County
Artworks @ 7th
Local artists showcase and sell their wares in a vibrant gallery within walking distance to the North Beach Boardwalk, restaurants and other shops. Their current show is called Artful Sparkle and we are loving this “Hanging Around,” painting on silk by artist Nico Gozal ($40). 8905 Chesapeake Ave., North Beach, 410-610-2442: www.artworksat7th.com.
Gifts from a market? Yes, indeed. Chesapeake Bounty is known for local, farm-fresh foods and other items from farmers, watermen and craftsman making a living in the Chesapeake Bay region. Who wouldn’t love a jar of Mama Bear’s Elderberry Syrup ($16) when you start to feel under the weather? 9124 Bay Ave., North Beach, 443-646-5700: www.northbeachbounty.com.
Maertens Fine Jewelry and Gifts
You really can’t go wrong with a gift from Maertens. Fine jewelry, nautical-inspired collections, designer handbags, wallets and homeware, this store has it all. We are entirely smitten with this sterling silver and enamel charm featuring a blue crab, seahorse and oyster on the front and “I love you to the beach and back” engraved on the back ($105). 11743 HG Trueman Rd., Lusby, 410-394-3990: www.maertensjewelry.com.
Calvert Kettle Corn
So we snuck in a snack …. but it’s kettle corn. Long a local favorite, Calvert Kettle Corn has branched into a variety of interesting flavors that are perfect for watching Christmas movies or snuggling by the fire. Each batch is made by hand over an open-fired kettle. More than 70 flavors available, including cherry cupcake, cinnamon apple and peppermint. Get four medium bags for $24. 3723 Chesapeake Beach Rd., Chesapeake Beach, 410-257-1035: www.calvertkettlecorn.com.
Medart Gallery & Custom Framing
This family run gallery features original oil paintings, gallery-wrapped canvases, limited edition prints, ceramics, pottery, glassware, jewelry, religious art and more. A great stocking stuffer or gift for the aspiring writer in your life is this small notebook to keep you organized or to journal your thoughts ($10). 10735 Town Center Blvd., Suite 1, Dunkirk, 301-855-4515: www.medartgalleries.com.