Discover Bethesda, Maryland...365 Days a Year!

Day 341: Gifts That Warm the Heart but Don't Burn the Wallet

It’s that time of year again – time for the holiday gift-giving frenzy.  I don’t know about you but one of my pet peeves is gift cards.  I mean really, why not just give someone the gift of cold hard cash?  You know it will get spent, not lost and it will likely be appreciated more than a gift card for a restaurant or shop that may not be a favorite anyway.  But when you want something more meaningful than cash or its plastic equivalent, here are a few ideas we like from some local shops in Bethesda.

All Fired Up Painted Pottery


Release your inner artist and create a truly personalized gift of pottery for your Mom, your buddy or even your four-legged friends!  They have some adorable pet dishes and you can even bring in your pet and make a paw imprint to really personalize the item.  Painted pottery is also a great way for your child to feel truly involved and excited about the giving experience while creating a piece that will no doubt be considered priceless by its recipient.

All Fired Up is located at 4923 Elm Street in Bethesda.  Plan on roughly 1-1/2 hours to complete your masterpiece, although you are welcome to have unlimited studio time.  If you are artistically impaired like me, don’t worry.  They have stencils and friendly people to help guide you through the creative process.  The paint is all non-toxic and washes out of your clothes so you could even plan to stop by on your way home from work.  Weekends are busy so perhaps call ahead but weekday walk-ins are usually fine.  Ladies’ Night is offered on Thursday from 6 – 9 PM giving you & your BFF both 15% off.  (P.S.  BYOB or BYOW is fine with them!  I love that!  Why not spice things up with a little glass of something yummy while you work?)  For more information, you can call All Fired Up at 301-654-3206.

Women Basket from Uganda


I can’t tell you how much I enjoy strolling through Ten Thousand Villages located at 4959 Elm Street in Bethesda.  Their store is chock-a-block full of interesting, beautiful and unique pieces crafted by artisans around the world.

All the items come with an explanation about the country of origin and how your purchase helps to keep the artisan who would otherwise be under or unemployed provide food, healthcare, education and housing to their families.  On Day 31 of Bethesda365, we shared information about the background of Ten Thousand Villages and how the organization supports equity in fair trade for and works in long-term partnerships with disadvantaged people from developing countries.  The items in the shop are usually very well-priced, are unique and offer the added meaning of a gift that helps those in need.  It will surely bring a smile to the face of anyone who receives it.   The only problem with this shop is that I can’t seem to leave there without buying something for myself too!  Last time I popped in,  I purchased a woven fruit basket from Uganda.

Happy Holidays Bethesda and let us know if you have unique gift ideas you would like to share.     ~Amy

Leave a Reply