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Not so long ago, a small business would think of competition in terms of a new store that opened down the block. Now, competition can be summarized in one word: Amazon.

Think of this common scenario: You walk into a local store and find an interesting book. The small business is selling it at the list price. You think to yourself, “I bet I can get this cheaper.” So, you take out your phone, open the Amazon app, and find the book for $5 less.

What do you do?

Logic (and your bank account) would dictate that you go for the lower price, right? But if you think in terms of spending dollars as a “vote” for a store, what is the cost of voting for Amazon or a chain store versus something that’s independent?

D.C. is already seeing the effects. Looking at a May 2014 list of “D.C.’s 38 Best Independent Boutiques” on the website Racked finds that nine of those stores have since closed. Local businesses are not only fighting online retailers, but are also sweating out rent increases and thinner margins. In the meantime, some larger chain stores—especially high end (Dior! Gucci! Hermès!)—have moved in, giving the illusion of a city bustling with retail.

But the bottom line is that your dollars go back into the local economy when spent at small businesses. A report from the American Independent Business Alliance is unequivocal: “Independent retailers return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales than chain competitors.” That means you can have a direct impact on D.C., your neighbors, and even your block when you shop at non-chain stores.

The not-so-secret news is that shopping local means paying a little more. The local Mom & Pop Shop isn’t buying in bulk. It has to cover the cost of a lease, insurance, products, product loss, employees, maintenance, technology, packaging, and postage. But they still decide to give it a go. They still decide to keep a store running in a market that is attempting, at many turns, to push them out.

Supporting an independent store means competition for big box chains. It means in-depth product knowledge and the possibility that someone will know your name when you walk through the door. It means money will stay in your community. It means that the District won’t turn into one giant shopping mall.

The great news is that D.C.’s independent stores are rocking it this season with amazing gift possibilities. The following is full of enticing gifts from local stores, makers, and artists. This holiday season vote with your dollars. If you’re concerned about your budget, remember it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Shop local when you can, where you can. Every little bit helps.

Use the map to explore by location. After clicking a location, click the name of an item to read more.

$50 and Under
Don’t Take That Tone With Me
Discover the history of fashion through vivid Pantone hues.
Pantone on Fashion: A Century of Color in Design, by Leatrice Eiseman and E.P. Cutler, $35. Lou Lou. 1601 Connecticut Ave. NW. (202) 588-0027.
That’s Handy
Keep your nails on point with this pretty and functional manicure set.
Manicure set, $49. Lou Lou. 1601 Connecticut Ave. NW. (202) 588-0027.
In High Spirits
A perfect bar tool for the friend who doesn’t have extra counter space: This brass-plated gadget is a corkscrew, jigger, ice hammer, and bottle opener all in one.
4-in-1 bar tool, $38. Salt & Sundry. Union Market, 1309 5th St. NE. (202) 556-1866.
A Wrinkle in Time
An ideal gift for someone who’s all about that pug life.
Pug clock, $50. Cheeky Puppy. 1709 Connecticut Ave. NW. (202) 621-8868.
A Supreme Effort
Admit it: RBG is your favorite Supreme. Read about Ginsburg’s life and work in this bestselling book.
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, $19.99. Upshur Street Books. 827 Upshur St. NW. (202) 762-0380.
Go Ask Alice
It looks like you’re going to the library, but this book clutch will accompany you to cocktail parties all season long.
Book clutch, $48. Vintage & Charmed Classic Clothing. Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Road SE. (202) 770-8303.
Athletic Gifts
Hotline Bling
A mounted phone holder will keep a cell secure and protected from the elements.
Delta XL handlebar-mounted phone holder, $26.99. The Bike Rack. 716 Monroe St. NE. (202) 832-2453.
Pop, Lock, and Drop It
For the friend who has had his or her bike swiped this year. This anti-theft system includes front and rear wheel locking skewers and a coded key.
Wheel locks, $64.99. The Bike Rack. 716 Monroe St. NE. (202) 832-2453.
Call of Booty
These camo leggings are made with an antibacterial fabric that wicks moisture. It means you can work up a sweat while looking fabulous.
Combat leggings, $125. S3 Active. 1270 5th St. NE. (202) 215-882.
Multi Flask
Give the gift of hydration to that (crazy) relative who is training for a marathon. This unisex belt is bounce-free and comes with four flasks.
Hydration belt, $55. Pacers Running. 300 Tingey St. SE. (202) 554-1216.
Cats and Dogs
You Confit Me
Local Maker
Treat your furry friend to these artisanal dog biscuits made of oat, flour, roasted duck, cage-free eggs, and thyme.
Duck confit dog biscuits, $10. Salt & Sundry. Union Market, 1309 5th St. NE. (202) 556-1866.
Fleece Navidad
Dutchess REFUSES to be cold this winter? Make sure she stays warm on her walk with this cozy sweater.
Dog sweater, $45. Cheeky Puppy. 1709 Connecticut Ave. NW. (202) 621-8868.
You Make My Heart ’Saur
This eco-friendly toy is for heavy chewers. As your dog plays, it naturally frays and works like doggie dental floss.
Large Brontosaurus chew toy, $18. Cheeky Puppy. 1709 Connecticut Ave. NW. (202) 621-8868.
I Shih Tzu Not
This gift may not be glam, but it’s absolutely necessary for an urban dog owner.
Poop bag dispenser, $4.99. Doggie Style. 1825 18th St. NW. (202) 667-0595.
ThunderShirts Ho!
A ThunderShirt is designed to provide constant, gentle pressure on your pet’s torso. The result is a calming effect that will soothe your scaredy cat during times of high anxiety.
ThunderShirt, $45.49. Metro Mutts. 407 8th St. SE. (202) 546-7387.
Crowd and Party Gifts
Katniss If You Can
Next time you kiki, bring out snacks and these cheese markers.
Arrow cheese markers, $24. Hudson & Crane. 1781 Florida Ave. NW. (202) 436-122.
Slow Your Roe
Chef and restaurant luminary José Andrés wants you to sample his caviar at your next holiday gathering. It’s hand-collected by divers off of the Galician coast in Spain.
José Andrés sea urchin caviar, $39.95. The Mediterranean Way Gourmet Market. 1717 Connecticut Ave. NW. (202) 560-5715.
Basket Case
Local Maker
Bring a basket of goodies from Righteous Cheese and you’ll be the belle of the house party. It features tasty edibles from local vendors in D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
The Locavore, $69.99. Righteous Cheese. Union Market, 1309 5th St. NE. (202) 716-3320.
The District Eats Tonight
Hill’s Kitchen had napkins designed and produced specifically to delight D.C. locals.
D.C. napkins, $4.99. Hill’s Kitchen. 713 D St. SE. (202) 543-1997.
Get Your Serve On
Bring out refreshments on a beautiful floral tray. The vivid red hue of the amaryllis is perfect for the holiday season, but the tray can be displayed year-round.
Red amaryllis tray, $85. Homebody/Forecast. 218 7th St. SE. (202) 544-8445.
Signature Piece
Want to remember your favorite soireés? Gift a Giving Plate. Guests sign and date it on the back, then it is passed on to someone else in your group to do the same.
Giving Plate, $18. Gossip on 23rd. 570 23rd St., Arlington. (703) 920-1498.
Games
Back in a Flash
Local Maker
Artist Danamarie Hosler created a flash card game to help teach your little one the unusual creatures of the animal kingdom.
Under-Appreciated Animals flash cards, $20. Analog. 716 Monroe St. NE, Studio #5.
Writer’s Blocks
Learning Mandarin becomes a game with these simplified Chinese character blocks.
Uncle Goose Chinese character blocks, $46. Salt & Sundry. Union Market, 1309 5th St. NE. (202) 556-1866.
Poker Face
Go all-in with this stylish Texas Hold’em set which includes 200 poker chips, two decks of 52 cards, and detailed instructions.
Texas Hold’em set, $59. American Holiday. 1319 Wisconsin Ave. NW. (202) 684-2790.
Imagine Dragons
This strategy game gives kids eight and older the chance to imagine themselves in the mythical forest of Dragonwood where they encounter ogres, trolls, and (of course) dragons!.
Dragonwood, $14.99. Labyrinth. 645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. (202) 544-1059.
20th Century Fox
This family-friendly game lets players become a Manhattan real estate tycoon at the turn of the 20th century by building skyscrapers.
New York 1901, $49.99. Labyrinth. 645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. (202) 544-1059.
Jewelry at Any Price
Pretty in Pink
Local Maker
Jeweller Rachel Pfeffer created a necklace that is less like an everyday accessory and more like a piece of wearable art.
Quartz with pink tourmaline and rose gold druzy necklace, $124. Rachel Pfeffer Design Studio. 716 Monroe St. NE, Studio #13. (413) 522-2900.
Stone Cold Stunner
A dazzling statement necklace doesn’t have to have a stunning price tag. This piece showcases the deep, mysterious color of winter turquoise.
Winter turquoise necklace, $28. Bloom. 1719 Connecticut Ave. NW. (202) 621-9049.

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Fellowship of the Bling
Local Maker
Alexander Calder was jeweler Dani Keith’s inspiration for this elegant ring handcrafted in fine silver.
Calders ghost ring #3, $65. {Dani Keith Designs}. danikeithdesigns.com.
Chew on This
Your teething child can gnaw on this baby-safe bauble. It’s also dishwasher safe.
Chewbeads, $36.50. hunnybunny boutique. 311 8th St. NE. (202) 792-5209.
Pick Your Pocket
A pocket watch automatically ups a wearer’s dapper factor. This Omega Winding Pocket timepiece is the ideal gift for your most dashing associate.
Vintage pocket watch, $228. Junction. 1510 U St. NW. (202) 483-0261.
Oh My Goddess!
Getting dressed up is twice the fun with a double-banded bracelet.
Double-banded goddess bracelet, $15. Rosies and Rockers. 2001 13th St. NW. (202) 328-7625.
Wooden It be Nice?
This wooden ring hails from Tanzania. Its minimalist design means your outfit can change from day to night, but the ring can stay firmly on your finger.
Upogoupogo ring, $30. Nubian Hueman. Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Road SE. (202) 394-3386.
Kids
Winter of My Disco Tent
Local Maker
Alexandria-based artist Erica Deputy designs tents that encourage imagination and hours of play.
Play tent, tent frame from $90; tent cover $45. conflictedpixie.com.
Snailed It!
If you were a ’90s kid, you’ll love this watch. Slap it on and it wraps around your wrist.
Snapwatch, $12.99. Bloom. 1719 Connecticut Ave. NW. (202) 621-9049.
Elephantastic
Kids will delight in tracing and coloring eight different styles of elephants with Indian folk and tribal art traditions.
8 Ways to Draw an Elephant, by Paola Ferrarotti, $7.95. Upshur Street Books. 827 Upshur St. NW. (202) 762-0380.
Mask of ZZZs
Local Maker
Local artisan Auggie Froggy created a stuffed animal that is ready for sweet dreams and slumber parties.
Raccoon with Matryoshka sleeping bag, $29. Willow. 843 Upshur St. NW. (202) 643-2323.
You Spin Me Right Round, Baby
This stacking and twirling toy helps develop a baby’s hand-eye coordination.
Spin Again toy, $25. Labyrinth. 645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. (202) 544-1059.
Foxy Baby
Fussy kids may be more inclined to wear a hat this winter if it means dressing up like a fox.
Knit fox hat, $34. Little Birdies Boutique. 1526 Wisconsin Ave. NW. (202) 333-1059.
Give ’Em The Boot
These waterproof boots are made in Spain, hold up to the rain and snow, and are lined so little feet don’t get cold.
Snow boots, $62. Little Birdies Boutique. 1526 Wisconsin Ave. NW. (202) 333-1059.
Little Things and Stocking Stuffers
Best Suds Forever
Local Maker
hunnybunny boutique handcrafts bath and beauty products using all-natural ingredients. This lush soap is made with French rose clay and apricot kernel oil.
Rose clay soap, $5. hunnybunny boutique. 311 8th St. NE. (202) 792-5209.
You Have to Be Kitten Me Right Meow
A line of captivating cats will make office work a little more adorable and appealing.
Cute cat clips, $8. Analog. 716 Monroe St. NE, Studio #5.
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
These candles represent neighborhoods in D.C., and each has its own alluring fragrance.
D.C. neighborhood candles, $34 (large) or $18 (small). Hudson & Crane pop-up at The Shay. 1924 8th St. NW, Suite #135. (202) 436-1223.
Wish You Were Hair
This leave-in product will moisturize and soften your bestie’s beard.
Beard balm, $28. Nomad Yard Collectiv. 411 New York Ave. NE. (929) 322-3397.
What a Hoot!
Everyone could use a pair of darling animal socks.
Owl socks, $10. Willow. 843 Upshur St. NW. (202) 643-2323.
Light Bright
Clip this small light to a dog collar, running shoe, or backpack. One setting will keep the light burning bright while the other will create a strobe effect.
Strobe light, $10. Pacers Running. 300 Tingey St. SE. (202) 554-1216.
It’s In Your Jeans
Local Maker
A Crystal City–based inventor created these clever clips. Attach them to your cuffed jeans and it will keep pants tucked securely into boots (no more baggy knees!). .
Stiruppz, $18. Gossip on 23rd. 570 23rd St., Arlington. (703) 920-1498.
Romance
It’s a Cinch
Lotus Blooms offers a dazzling selection of corsets from sizes XXS through 4X and larger. Make an appointment or just walk in, and staff members can help you find the best fit.
Silk road corset, $209. Lotus Blooms. 2408 18th St. NW. (202) 836-4474.
Better Chocolate Than Never
Local Maker
Enjoy a decadent treat by the D.C. area’s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker. The product is handcrafted in Woodbridge, Va., using exceptional ingredients.
Potomac chocolate, $6.99. Glen’s Garden Market. 2001 S St. NW. (202) 588-5698.
Wrap Sheet
The average person will spend a third of her life sleeping. Indulge in organic cotton sheets to ensure a comfortable night.
Sheet set, $109 (queen). Evo Furniture. 301 Tingey St. SE. (202) 488-6298.
Kiss and Makeup
Local Maker
Before going out on the town, treat your loved one to a session with one of D.C.’s premier beauty gurus.
In-studio makeup application, $125. Fyubi Makeup & Brow Studio. 1522 U St. NW. (202) 986-1000.
Two Can Play at This Game
Anyone can plan a sexy weekend, but 52 weeks of romance? That’s something special. Wow your partner with an entire year’s worth of flirty games.
A year of creative games for lovers, $27. Secret Pleasures Boutique. 1510 U St. NW. (202) 664-1476.
You’re Tutu Kind
Local Maker
The Washington Ballet presents a stunning version of the Nutcracker that evokes our nation’s history with George Washington as the Nutcracker and King George III as the Rat King.
The Washington Ballet’s Nutcracker, ticket prices vary. Performed at the Warner Theater. 513 13th St. NW. washingtonballet.org.
Adora-Bowl
Local Maker
This hand-thrown bowl set was inspired by functionality and beautiful simplicity.
Bowl set, $45. Kuzeh Pottery. 716 Monroe St. NE. Studio #18.
The Art of Giving
All About that Vase
Artist Santodio Paz Juarez employs an ancient technique that uses a wooden paddle and a stone (instead of a potter’s wheel) to create his stunning vases.
Curvas vase, $85. Toro Mata. 2410 18th St. NW. (202) 232-3890.
Walk Up to the Club Like ‘What Up, I’m a Peacock’
Artist Ben Ross started designing bowties when he needed groomsman’s gifts for his wedding. The feathers are sustainably sourced in the U.S. and the bowties are handcrafted in South Carolina. .
Peacock and pheasant bow tie, $200. Renwick Gallery. 1700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. (202) 633-6856.
The Daily Grind
Local Maker
Local artist and journalism veteran Kevin Cobb handmakes letterpress posters based on quotes overheard in D.C. newsrooms.
“Deadlines and coffee,” $12. Overheard in the Newsroom. etsy.com/shop/OHnewsroom.
Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy
Tech Support
Local Maker
This handmade laptop bag will support your workaholic friend as he or she dashes to and from meetings in the District.
Felt and leather laptop sleeve, $132 (13-inch) or $142 (15-inch). Stitch & Rivet. 716 Monroe St. NE, Studio #3. (202) 340-3581.
This is Our Click
In one of the most brilliant moves in accessory history, this belt is one size fits all, making it an easy gift for anyone on your list. It doesn’t have holes, but instead “clicks” into plac.
Slide belt, $53. Avenue Jack. 1301 Connecticut Ave. NW. (202) 887-5225.
Gin and Bear It
Encourage the blossoming mixologist in your life with a homemade gin kit. The set includes the correct tools to ensure your friend’s kitchen is the best gin joint in town. .
Gin kit, $52. Hudson & Crane. 1781 Florida Ave. NW. (202) 436-1223.
Tug of War
In this award-winning novel, Phil Klay explores the lives of soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and the effects of PTSD on returning soldiers.
Redeployment, by Phil Klay. Kramerbooks. 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW. (202) 387-1400.
Hanky Panky
A handkerchief is both classy and functional. Philadelphia’s Forage Haberdashery handcrafts their kerchiefs in limited numbers using new, vintage, and deadstock fabrics.
Forage Haberdashery handkerchief, $32. Salt & Sundry. Union Market, 1309 5th St NE. (202) 556-1866.
Nauti Buoy
Sailors originally wore the pea coat, and it remains a classic piece of apparel. This one was created with a wool-blend fabric and was designed in Britain.
Pea coat, $149. Whiskey Ginger. 1603 U St. NW. (202) 791-0851.
License to Thrill
This Eisner Award–winning international espionage series will introduce you to field agent Tara Chase as she serves her queen and country.
Queen & Country: The Definitive Edition, Vol. 1, by Greg Rucka, $19.99. Big Planet Comics. 1520 U St. NW. (202) 342-1961.
Luxe Gifts
Turn Down for What?
Elevate the luxury factor in any room with a 100-percent cowhide pillow that has a goose feather insert.
Saddle-leather pillow, $262. Nomad Yard Collectiv. 411 New York Ave. NE. (929) 322-3397.
Force of Nature
Ceramic artist Jennifer McCurdy is inspired by perfect forms in nature.
Jennifer McCurdy vortex vessel, $1199.99. Renwick Gallery. 1700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. (202) 633-6856.
Suit Up
Treat someone to the fantastic luxury of a custom-made suit.
Custom-made suit, $750. Blank Label. 1518 K St. NW., Suite 306. (781) 236-3559.
State of the Art
Local Maker
D.C.-based artist John Brendan Guinan’s “Dark Life” is part of his Art of Mourning series.
“Dark Life,” by John Brendan Guinan, $1150. Homme. Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Road SE. (202) 601-0885.
Experience Gifts
Per-Suede You to Take This
Local Maker
Business owner Katie Stack will teach your craftiest pal how to finish and dye a leather belt. She’ll learn about edge beveling, burnishing, mixing dye colors, and applying finish. .
Leather belt-making workshop (next class is Jan.13), $75. Stitch & Rivet. 716 Monroe St. NE, Studio #3. (202) 340-3581.
Free Fallin’
Your partner swears jumping out of a plane is on her bucket list. Make that adrenaline-fueled dream come true with a tandem skydive.
Tandem skydive package, $255. Skydive Orange. 11339 Bloomsbury Road, Orange, Va. (703) 759-3483.
Penne For Your Thoughts
Local Maker
Give the gift of pasta to that friend who’s always wanted to open a restaurant. She’ll learn how to make tortellini en brodo, cannelloni with fennel sausage, and braised veal cheeks Milanese.
Italian-style comfort food class (next class is Jan. 9), $45. Urbana. 2121 P St. NW. (202) 956-6650.
Swing Both Ways
A trapeze class combines novelty, skill-based sport, core workout, and pure fun.
Flying trapeze class, Trapeze School New York (D.C. location), $49–$59. washingtondc.trapezeschool.com. (410) 459-6839.