Gifts for the Politically Minded

Posted December 16, 2009 at 4:39pm

With just a few days before Christmas, the pressure to find the perfect gift intensifies. To ensure that this season’s giving will pass muster with the political junkie in your life, start with a visit to the Political Americana memorabilia shop (with stores at 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. NW and 701 15th St. NW).

Kevin Curtis, a recent visitor to the shop, made a beeline to the White House Christmas ornament from 2008. The 2008 presidential ornament — a beautifully decorated Christmas tree — was designed by representatives of the Bush administration.

Curtis said the gift was for his wife — who insisted she wanted nothing for the holidays. Despite his wife’s wishes, Curtis said, “I’ve got to do something fast.— Besides, last year’s presidential ornament is “kind of cooler,— he said, than the 2009 version designed by the White House Historical Association. Tracy Burnette, the store’s sales consultant, said Obama’s administration had no input on this year’s ornament.

However, the $29.95 tree adornments are among the top sellers this Christmas season. The “Merry Moula,— a wreath ornament made of real shredded U.S. currency ($12.95), is a close runner-up.

But on any given day, the most popular political gift, according to Burnette, is the Bo Beanie Baby manufactured by Ty. The Bo baby is a replica of President Barack Obama’s Portuguese water dog, whose collar reads: “I want to jump and play, but I will never run away. I love my house, it’s big and white and I can roam all day and night.— Bo comes in three sizes — miniature (a $6.95 key chain), small ($12.95) and large ($19).

Almost equally as popular is the Obama bobblehead ($19.95).

At other places around town, there’s no lack of political gifts available for last-minute shoppers.

• At the Trover Shop (1270 F St. NW), store manager Steve Shuman said, “Our hottest new ornament is the President Obama ornament that plays a portion of his acceptance speech.— The ornament is $20, but customers who buy one get the second one free. Shuman also pointed out the Obama bobblehead ($19.95) and 550-piece Obama puzzle ($16.95) are also among their popular political gifts.

• The Woodrow Wilson House (2340 S St. NW) offers a “Presidential Cookies— cookbook by Bev Young that contains 64 cookie recipes of U.S. presidents ($23.95). Additionally, shoppers can add to their tree-trimming collection the Woodrow Wilson ornament designed with a 24-karat gold finish and fine porcelain ($23).

• President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldier’s Home sells an ornamental rendition of Lincoln’s summer retreat ($23.95) as well as a portrait ornament of President Abraham Lincoln ($13.95).

• The Sewall-Belmont House and Museum (144 Constitution Ave. NE), which is the headquarters of the historic National Woman’s Party, offers a jail door pendant and pin, based on pins the party gave out to about 100 women in 1919 who had been jailed for their suffragist protests ($15.95 for the pewter pin; $39.95 for silver).

• At the Capitol, visitors can stop by the Senate Gift Shop and pick up a four-piece 1994-1997 official Congressional holiday ornament set for $25. The official 2009 ornament is $10 and 1997-2005 ornaments are $5. Another interesting item is the soap trios gift set that includes three bars of soap each with a picture of a donkey, elephant or eagle ($15).

• The Capitol Visitor Center’s gift shop carries many of the same official Congressional ornaments along with the gold-plated Capitol Dome ornament ($21). Additionally, the United States Capitol Historical Society has its collection of political ornaments on display: Lincoln, the signing of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence ($18). Items can also be purchased directly on the historical society’s online gift shop, such as the 2009 West Front and tree ornament ($24) and the 2010 “We the people— calendar ($9.95).

For those stuck at their desks, online shopping is an option.

• Capitolshoppingmall.com offers snow globes of the White House and the Capitol ($14.50). Its ornament collection runs from the White House to other government agencies. For example, the Secret Service holiday ornament for 2009 ($24) features a three-dimensional replica of the Lincoln Memorial statue commemorating the bicentennial birthday of Lincoln. The online store sells more than 20 different ornaments, such as the Air Force One 2006 Secret Service ornament ($24), the 2005 Eisenhower Executive Office Building ornament ($24), the World War II Memorial ornament ($21), the Declaration of Independence ornament and the Constitution ornament ($17.50).

• Politicalgifts.com boasts of its offering “unique gifts for any occasion.— The Web site has gifts for Democrats and Republicans. But if you are looking to collect all the official White House ornaments dating back to 1999, this is the place to go. If gag gifts are also on the list, the site offers a Hillary Rodham Clinton nutcracker doll and Bill Clinton corkscrew ($29.95).