Best Places To Buy Gifts For Grads In Washington DC

May 7, 2013 8:00 AM

Photo Credit: A Mano via Facebook

Receiving that long-awaited diploma marks the beginning of a new chapter in one’s life. Whether it is a high school or college graduation, the milestone deserves attention and acknowledgement – along with a celebratory gift. When shopping, remember that graduation is an accomplishment like no other. This gift should be special and meaningful. Helpful, useful and convenient gifts are also appreciated, as graduates will soon venture out into the world on their own.

A Mano
1677 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 298-7200

“As our country becomes more accessible and the special treats you once found in far away shops have become ubiquitous, A Mano has assembled a collection of the most exciting handmade items available. When I started the company more than 18 years ago, my aim was to make shopping fun and bring my passion for retail to the community,” said store owner Adam Mahr. Mahr says he travels to Europe and Asia to buy the unique handmade ceramics, linens, decorative accessories and jewelry that make A Mano distinctive. Desktop trays are a hot graduation item that helps fresh students stay organized throughout college or serve as an office desk must-have. At A Mano, trays feature influencing quotes. For those college graduates who want to look dapper in the workplace, A Mano has exquisite cuff links. Another smart idea is a grooming kit or cosmetic bag. The average price point at A Mano is $85 and everything comes gift wrapped.

Calvert Woodley Fine Wines & Spirits
4339 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 966-4400

An out-of-the-box graduation present for a college graduate, who is likely over the legal drinking age, is a fine wine or liquor. Every house needs a full-stocked bar, which can easily cost a pretty penny. Calvert Woodley Fine Wines & Spirits is a DC institution and has all the alcohol you could imagine, and also gift baskets and superior cheeses. Champagne is most often associated with celebratory occasions. “We have champagne, pate and caviar, wine of course, and many fine spirits. There are many more artisanal spirits made than before, as opposed to the ‘household names’…gins, vermouths, etc. Single malts are extremely popular right now. We have a staff of 50 to help out,” said co-owner Michael Sands.

Scrapbooks Plus
14502-A Lee Road
Chantilly, VA
(703) 263-9503

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. In the fast-paced and tech-savvy world of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, important moments and events are now captured. Most high school or college graduates probably have an enormous collection of photos snapped over the years. Rather than letting those images live in cyber space, encourage graduates to create scrapbooks. A scrapbook is something to cherish for a lifetime and won’t vanish with the accidental click of a button. In Chantilly, Virginia, Scrapbooks Plus the ultimate supply store for scrapbook lovers. Purchase a started kit or simply gift the scrapbook itself and leave room for imagination.

RelatedBest Places To Buy Homemade Gifts In DC

The Blue House
7770 Woodmont Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 656-6088

“The Blue House has been making people smile in the DC area for 25 years,” said owner Connie Cissel. At The Blue House, you can find inspirational and encouraging books, helpful in guiding one through life’s changes. The Blue House also carries mini storage bins by Scout that are convenient for any small space or dorm room. To bring the occasional nostalgia, purchase a hand-embroidered pillow with the graduate’s hometown or state. The store’s slogan says it best: “The Blue House is a happy home furnishings gifts, and accessories lifestyle store that may cause your heart to beat a little too fast!”

Whyte House Monograms
7626 Royal Dominion Drive
Bethesda, MD 20817
(301) 657-5073

Whyte House Monograms started 10 years ago after founder Debbie Whyte received a monogramming machine from her husband. Graduation season is a busy time for Whyte, the largest part of her graduation business being for those transitioning from high school to college. A college dorm room is often synonymous with school spirit, and with that comes monograms. “The number one selling item that I have is a towel in all sizes and shapes for the dorm rooms. I usually do bath sheets, bath towels and hand towels, most of the towels being white with a fun colored monogram. I usually do the monogram in the color of the school they will be attending,” said Whyte. The average price is $50, which includes a monogram. Allow one to two weeks for custom monogramming orders.

Related: Gift Guide For The Adventurer

Kelly Johnston is a freelance writer living in D.C. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Fashion Retail and Merchandising and a minor in Journalism. Her work can be found at

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