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Festive decorations have the ability to put even those with Grinch-like tendencies in the holiday spirit. A simple string of lights outside or a wreath on your front door will liven up any neighborhood. Make your home feel warm and welcoming this holiday season by decorating like never before. Whether you have family visiting, friends over for a delicious meal or just want decor to get in the cheery holiday mood, a few small accents go a long way. Reach far and high for those holiday boxes in the attic, and build on what you already have. Gather original ideas from magazines and Pinterest. It doesn’t hurt to bring ideas with you when shopping to make it easier to bring your vision to life as you explore the best places to shop for holiday decorations in D.C.

Downtown Holiday Market
F Street between 7th and 8th Streets
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 638-3232

For more than four weeks, locals and tourists alike enjoy the Downtown D.C. Holiday Market. From Nov. 30 to Dec. 23, the market is open from noon to 8 p.m. daily, highlighting nearly 200 artisans who set up exhibits to create a buzzed-about shopping experience. While individual booths house items such as clothing, art and jewelry, there are many specialty and craft booths that showcase holiday decorations. Exhibitors change daily, so follow Downtown Market on Twitter for updates, @DtwnHolidayMkt. A number of food vendors are on site, and coffee and hot chocolate is available to keep shoppers toasty.

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Ten Thousand Villages
915 King St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 684-1435

Ten Thousand Villages is a unique store to D.C. because it is a strictly fair trade retailer. The shop, an independent charitable organization, prides itself on working with talented artisans from around the world, most of whom are less fortunate, that benefit from the profit of goods sold. Come November, Ten Thousand Villages is beaming with merry accents including nativity scenes, themed mobiles and tree toppers.

The Christmas Attic
125 S. Union St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 548-2829

Despite its seasonal name, The Christmas Attic is open year round but especially thrives during the holiday season. The Washington Post called the Old Town Alexandria shop a “virtual winter wonderland.” Visit The Christmas Attic to start your decor shopping as early as you want. The visual merchandising inside of the store makes for fantastic ideas that you can recreate in your home. For the tree, you’ll find lights of all shapes and sizes. Accessory collections such as hand-crafted carolers and stunning villages, are unique and plentiful. As expected, the ornament collection is like none other in the area, including designer ornaments intended to pass down from generation to generation. One visit to The Christmas Attic and you’re sure to start planning ahead every year.

The Herb Cottage
Washington National Cathedral
3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 537-8982

The gift shop in The Herb Cottage is part of the Washington National Cathedral. The cottage, built more than a century ago, carries a lot of history. Profits from goods sold at The Herb Cottage benefit the Cathedral’s All Hallow’s Guild, which funds the grounds. A majority of goods are handcrafted and fair trade. Find decorative wreathes adorned with eucalyptus and juniper, or faux holly trees and berry bushes to liven up any room. For the dining table, choose from table runners or beaded garland. The ornament collection encompasses metal ornaments from Thailand that make excellent collectibles or hostess gifts.  

The Papery Store
2871 Clarendon Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 875-0390

New to Northern Virginia — it originated in New Jersey — The Papery Store is nestled in the heart of Clarendon. It specializes in custom paper products, including stationery and invitations, but also offers an array of seasonal items. At The Papery, conveniently located a few blocks from the Clarendon metro station, pick up vintage-inspired ornaments for the tree, or decorative napkins and tea towels with signature holiday sayings. Scented candles by Votivo will leave your home smelling wintery fresh. Hang star lanterns and string star lights above the fireplace. Before you check out, grab a roll of Christmassy designer wrapping paper or the top-notch boxed holiday cards. 

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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. Follow her on Twitter at @kellyfrancess. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.