‘Tis the season for holiday family gatherings, annual traditions, long nights in cozy settings…and white-knuckled, hair-raising trips to every mall and store in town before they run out of the gift that you have to get. Or else, those first couple of things listed just become dissatisfying set pieces that remind you of your failed attempt to broaden the natural joy this time of year brings.
No worries, the News-Press is here to tip you off to some out-of-the-box gift ideas that may be what each person on your list wants, even though they just don’t know it yet. And best of all, they’re all a short walk around the City.
1073 W Broad St., #201
What says the holidays more than being locked in a room with your family members and having forced interaction?
Nothing really, but Breakout Games in Falls Church prompts everyone with a shared incentive to get out of that room as fast as you can so you can return to your normal life!
Kidding aside, Breakout Games is an enjoyable experience that has as little as two or as many as eight people attempting to find clues, solve puzzles and, yes, break out of their holding in less than an hour.
Its emphasis on teamwork, communication and problem-solving make it a boon for company retreats (which goes nicely with the store’s team-building package for weekdays) but is also a great family-bonding activity that demands every ounce of the group’s attention.
“Whatever is going on in their life, they’re pulled out of it and sucked into our immersive puzzles,” Adam Walker, the local owner of Breakout Games, said in a telephone interview with the News-Press.
Walker went on to add that the hour spent working together to bust out of the room may be the only time that every member of the family will be off their phones.
Breakout is sweetening the pot by offering some holiday discounts, including up to 20 percent off a two person game, 25 percent off a four person game and 30 percent off an eight person game throughout the season.
And if you and your family can’t get enough of Breakout, there’s also the new take-home game, Dispatch, which combines physical clues delivered in a box as well as researchable clues online that will be used to solve a murder mystery.
With four rooms serving about 30 people every hour, Breakout is great way to spend weekend afternoon. And don’t worry parents, this isn’t a haunted house, so children of all ages can come and help break you out.
301 W Broad St.
Just under a month old but already making a splash in the Little City is Cyclebar, the new-age cycle studio that’s helping exercise junkies get their workout fix without having to brave the winter elements to do so.
The store comes equipped with everything you want: complimentary cycling shoes, showers with heated floors and and even weights attached to each of the 55 bikes in case you want to tone your upper body along with your lower body.
Once strapped in for a class, riders can track their live stats on a personal monitor and see how they stack up to the rest of the participants on two flat-screens at the front of the studio that act as a leaderboard.
And though the main demographic is currently women in their 30s, Cyclebar is gaining attention from male and older runners who are looking to move on to something a bit more low-impact as their knees begin to wear down.
“Most people come to be a part of community in a small setting,” Leanna Rizkalla, director of ridership, said.
Rizkalla also added that weekly community events such as “Wine-down Wednesdays,” Sunday brunch and occasional sessions hosting a guest DJ all contribute a different twist on the cycling experience while reinforcing the studio’s communal nature.
Since the studio is still relatively new, the three-week free ride promotional period that started after its opening on Nov. 20 has been reduced to three free rides for interested customers. Along with that, the studio is offering gift cards for a dollar amount or separate packages, such as 10 rides for $160 or five rides for $85.
Regardless of how you wrap this present, it’s sure to please any loved one itching to get their body moving without it being in wintry conditions.
Falls Church Distillers
442 S Washington St., Ste. A
At a glance, gifting alcohol to someone may not be the most thoughtful present.
But when it comes from a hometown distillery that creates and sells its own vodka, gin and bourbon (and in the near future, rum and brandy) and doubles as a restaurant peppered with local art for sale, a gifted bottle of libation can become a ticket to a fun and surprisingly dignified night out on the town.
That’s where Falls Church Distillers come in handy. The store’s simple but signature Italian eats go great with a cocktail or beer in-house, while its supply of spirits can serve as a take-home dessert of sorts to keep the night…spirited.
For most customers, that means a bottle of the distillery’s Church Bourbon Whiskey, which has been selling like hot cakes throughout the holiday season. But the Frozen Falls Vodka and Great Falls Gin have also become so popular they’ve spurned spin-offs with pepper-flavored vodka and lemon-flavored gin.
“If you’re local especially, having a distillery in your hometown is pretty unique,” founder and owner Michael Paluzzi said. “You can wrap an ornament around the bottle and send it to your kids, family or friends that have moved away and now they can be reminded of home.”
Paluzzi also added that buy one, get one half-off deal on merchandise, such as t-shirts and sweatshirts, along with monthly raffle for a free bottle have served as the only special offerings to the distillery.
By next holiday season expect FC Distillers to take their game to the next level. But for this year, who can turn down a homegrown bottle of their favorite spirit? No one on the nice list, that’s for sure.