BY JESSICA ARENDS

No kidding, Hyattsvillans, the holidays can be stressful. A looming shopping deadline, unpredictable delivery dates, that unspoken pressure to find the perfect thing. Perhaps like me, you’ve exhausted all your ideas: No need to add to my sister’s teetering stack of cookbooks; the potentially hazardous waste of the latest tech gadget gives my conscience pause; and, yes, my crochet skills have improved, but does Aunt Marge really need another potholder? 

Experiential gifts

Here are some ways to trade the stressful quest of the tangible for the joy of the experiential: 

Shake off the winter blues with a loved one by giving them a class you can take together at Joe’s Movement Emporium, in Mount Rainier. Joe’s class offerings include jazz, yoga and belly dancing. If you both can’t make it in person, you can download on-demand classes like a salsa workout for free from their website and dance from the comfort and convenience of your home.

Instead of buying a pack of colored pencils for your art-curious nephew, consider supporting his creative skills through the Snag It! Program at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. Participants ages 12 to 22 learn the skills of print-, paper- and book-making from expert artists through hands-on and virtual workshops. 

For the aspiring fabric artists in your social circle, Three Little Birds Sewing Co. offers sewing classes for all levels, including Parent & Me Sewing (ages 6 and up) and a five-week After School Sewing Series, during which kids can make an eye pillow, tote bag, quilted placemat and a garment of their choosing. According to owner Katie Blattner, the shop’s mission is to cultivate a creative community and offer students a place to foster their skills. “We believe that creating is good for the soul,” says Blattner.

Maggie York models the quilt she made at a Three Little Birds Sewing Co. class.
Courtesy of Katie Blattner

The gift of time

One of the most valuable gifts we can give is our time. Consider a few ways to enjoy the outdoors together this winter: 

On Dec. 31, celebrate a kid-friendly countdown with a “Noon” Year’s Eve Campfire at the Watkins Nature Center in Upper Marlboro. Nature tales and roasted marshmallows will be shared over a campfire. If the kids get restless, take them up to say “hi” to the chickens, goats and horses at the Old Maryland Farm located in the same park. Admission for the campfire is $5-7.

Take family and friends (ages 12 and up) out on a hike to learn about the 75+ archaeological sites in the area. Patuxent River Park will host the next Archeology Hike Through History on Jan. 7, 2023. Tour guides will share about local Indigenous villages, colonial port towns and shipwrecks. The hike covers about three miles on a natural trail path and includes stairs. Admission is $3-5.

Post-holiday recovery gifts

After the holidays, you might need a kid-free date night with your sweetie. Parents can sign their kids up for an evening art class through the Parents’ Night Out program at Art Works Now and enjoy an evening to themselves. Kids, ages 5 to 12, may paint, sculpt or craft while watching a movie and eating pizza. Cost is $45 per child, and sliding-scale pricing is available, with 10% off per sibling set.

If you are still working from home and need a bit more community, consider renting office space from A\Ventures or CAMPspace. Single desks, conference space and outdoor patios are available for a change of scenery. Both venues are locally owned and within walking distance of Vigilante Coffee Company

And if you’re still feeling stressed, gift yourself a massage at Shine Massage in College Park. They offer 60-, 75- and 90-minute Swedish, deep tissue, Reiki, myofascial release and prenatal treatments in a welcoming and inclusive space. 

Hopefully, these ideas will inspire gifts that keep on giving by creating long-lasting memories for you and your loved ones. But if you simply must find something to wrap, visit Hyattsville’s guide to buying local at hyattsville.org/lovelocal.