Last-minute Gift Ideas Make the Season Bright

Last-minute Gift Ideas Make the Season Bright

Chanukah begins the evening of Dec, 16, and ends on Dec. 24, in 2014. Lighting a menorah candle daily and reciting traditional prayers is a ritual in many Jewish families.

Chanukah begins the evening of Dec, 16, and ends on Dec. 24, in 2014. Lighting a menorah candle daily and reciting traditional prayers is a ritual in many Jewish families. Photo contributed

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … and Chanukah and New Year’s Eve …. Here are ideas to wrap up your gift-giving opportunity for the season, from gifts under the tree to hostess gifts. Gifts of food are always welcomed so we’ve included sweets and savories, as well, for parties or “thank-you” acknowledgements. There’s a plethora of community restaurants, as well as Culinaria Cooking School, that offer gift certificates, so, start dropping hints now.

Chanukah begins the evening of Dec, 16, and ends on Dec. 24, in 2014. Lighting a menorah candle daily and reciting traditional prayers is a ritual in many Jewish families.

The first candle of the menorah is lit at nightfall of the first day, Dec. 16.

Treasures Judaica Shop at Temple Rodef Shalom; 2100 Westmoreland St., Falls Church, features a diversity of Chanukah necessities, from dreidels to menorahs. Even if you do not celebrate Chanukah personally, the pieces that Temple Rodef Shalom sells make treasured gifts for families that do.

Olivia Riegel designed the menorahs photographed. The “Devorah” menorah, cast pewter in antique brass finish with sapphire glass gems, clear Swarovski crystals, faux pearls, and dark blue hand-enameling sells for $150. The “Cami” menorah, at $239, holds topaz Swarovski crystals in an antique brass metal finish. The “Nikki” menorah features an old-world design in antique bronze finish with gemstones, dangling Swarovski crystals and hand-painted enamel and sells for $150.

Treasures Judaica Shop holds special Chanukah Bazaar hours on Sunday, Dec. 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 5p.m. Temple Rodef Shalom is located at 2100 Westmoreland St., Falls Church. Phone 703-532-2217 for merchandise information or email


Karin's Florist

Karin’s Florist is so festively-decorated in a seasonal manner of “snow” and sparkles that even Ebenezer Scrooge’s heart would have softened. A five-foot snowman, nutcracker and Santa Express railroad crossing sign (all for sale) anchor the shelves of distinctive ornaments, sweets, and floral arrangements. The staff at this Vienna icon, family-owned for 55 years, is knowledgeable and friendly.

LED-backlit framed scenes, $45 each, are reminders of the serenity of the season.

Karin’s Florist is located at 527 Maple Ave E, Vienna. Call 703-592-0952 for orders or visit


Pure Pasty Co.

Because man does not live on sweets alone, there’s the Pure Pasty Co. selling traditional and not-so-traditional Cornish pasties, those hand-held meals of meats or vegetables – or dessert ingredients – wrapped in a rich pastry dough that British expats and locals-alike enjoy for lunch, dinner and parties.

What makes the Pure Pasty Company so unique is owner Mike Burgess’s mission of using organic ingredients and grass-fed beef.

Dessert pasties, typically, sell for $3.29 each. Pumpkin is popular right now. “Regular” pasties are priced at $6.99 each, and “special” pasties sell for $7.99 each. The traditional beef pasty includes potato and carrot. The winter veggie pasty holds potatoes, parsnips, butternut squash, carrots and onion. Buy 10, get one free. Pure Pasty bakes Moroccan lamb, chicken masala and beef bourguignone pasties, among the restaurant’s inspirations.

Pure Pasty sells unbaked pasties, as well.

Vienna chef Nicola Willis-Jones heads the in-view kitchen. She’s on-hand to answer questions, too.

The shop sells jars of foodstuffs imported from the U.K. … including Vegemite.

The Pure Pasty Co. is located at 128-C Church Street NW, next to Bikes@Vienna, in that little alleyway that connects Maple Avenue and Church Street. To order in advance, call 703-255-7147. Visit the shop’s website at


Sweet City Desserts

Sweet City Desserts makes the kind of hostess desserts that make people want to be a hostess.

Mini-cakes, a single dessert portion, start at $3.50. Some of the more popular mini-cakes are the pumpkin-spice cheesecake, chocolate cake with chocolate mousse or peanut butter mousse, and the chocolate passion cake.

The special occasion cakes are beautifully-extravagant. The shop sells gelato, too.

Sweet City Desserts is at 131-A Maple Avenue W., next door to the Pure Pasty Company. Phone number is 703-938-8188 and website is


Caffe Amouri

Caffe Amouri is Vienna’s coffee specialty coffeehouse. Most early mornings, Caffe Amouri owner Michael Amouri tends to his in-store roaster which fills the café with a perky aroma. The baristas are well-trained in coffee arts and science. Usually, Caffe Amouri has about 25 varieties of coffee on hand for sale in cups and in bags. Bagged beans start at $12.35 a pound. Many of the beans come from “microlots,” which means that the beans come from a specific farm.

Caffe Amouri serves machine coffees and hand-pours. Try a cup before you buy a bag. The café is like a “Toys R Us” for coffee drinkers.

“Dutchess,” the most popular espresso blend, is named after Michael Amouri’s previous dog, Dutchess, now gone. Like Dutchess the beloved pet, “Dutchess” the coffee is “sweet and smooth.”

Caffe Amouri is located in the Savia Building, 107 Church Street, NE. Visit the shop's website at"