MAPP’s 2022 Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide (That Gives Back)

By Maggie Haslam / Dec 16, 2022

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MAPP Gift guide

Whether the holidays snuck up on you this year or you’ve made your list (and checked it twice), MAPP’s Holiday Gift Guide has ideas for those last-minute items guaranteed to make the season merry. This year, we're embarking on a new theme: gift ideas that not only bring joy,but sustain the built environment. From earth-friendly gadgets and gifts that support BIPOC-owned businesses, to ideas that give back and inspire bike-friendly commuting, MAPP’s faculty and staff have got you covered with these last-minute suggestions: 

“Charm”ing Chocolates: For hostess gifts, stocking stuffers or general cravings, Associate Clinical Professor Julie Gabrielli swears by the outstanding selection of chocolate from local Baltimore artisan Jinji Fraser, owner of Jinji Chocolates. “It’s a local Black-owned business reviving ancestral cultural traditions around the sacred cacao bean,” says Gabrielli, who endorses the individual pot de cremes and cocoa-flecked truffles. Visit her at Belvedere Market in Baltimore or online.  

Pimp Their Ride: Bring joy, function and safety to anyone’s bike commute with these great accessories recommended by two of MAPP’s in-house multi-modal enthusiasts, PALS Program Manager Kim Fisher and Transportation Policy Research Group Director Chester Harvey. Panniers haul groceries, books and more, while bright, portable lights ensure they’re riding safely. For kids—and kids at heart—check out Safety Pizza, a line of food-themed reflective bike flags.

Smokey Meat: For the carnivore in your life, look no further than a gift certificate from Riverdale’s pandemic-born success story, 2Fifty Texas BBQ. Hailed as the #1 BBQ joint by the Washington Post in 2022, the Salvadoran-immigrant-owned fleet of smokers churns out dizzyingly aromatic brisket, pulled pork, red beans and other staples. If ordering to go, grab a fork on your way out; this author couldn’t make it out of the parking lot before digging in.   

Feather-Friendly Fixture: The number-one killer of birds isn’t the neighborhood cat: it’s buildings. Each year, hundreds of millions of birds are killed through “bird strikes,” crashing into houses and high-rises, with migration being the deadliest season. This year, give the gift of “no more thuds:” tested DIY products that are elegant, tinted and a little whimsical, recommended by EFC Program Manager Stephanie Dalke.

Local Historic Food Tours: A tour that meshes D.C. history, culinary delights, neighborhood culture—and gives back? Through Blue Fern Travel’s “Fork Tours,” owned and operated by post-doctoral associate Stefan Woehlke and his wife Mary Collins, you can eat your way through some of the D.C. region’s most iconic neighborhoods and learn about the food, architecture and art that shaped their history.

Holiday Clean Up, with a Squeaky Conscience: For the person always stuck with dish duty, MAPP’s Business Services’ Dawn Green loves these biodegradable, reusable cellulose dishcloths in lieu of paper towels, available in fun, even seasonal designs.

Good Company, Great Scenery: Often the best gift you can give is more time together. Urban Studies and Planning Director Clara Irazabal recommends ditching the trip to the mall for a trip to a local trail or park, like nearby Lake Artemesia. “A relaxed stroll with a beloved person (or more), punctuated by conversations and silences to enjoy each other and nature, would be my favorite, ecological holiday gift!” said Irazabal.

Veg-Out: A gift card to one of the many amazing vegan restaurants in the DMV, says Professor Casey Dawkins, will happily fill any belly on your list without filling a landfill. Casey’s go-tos are Takoma Park’s soul food mecca Senbeb Café and wildly popular Donut Run. Other recommendations are Silver Spring’s Vegetable Garden for Chinese, Sticky Fingers Diner on H Street for brunch or the Fancy Radish for a splurge.