It’s time to do your part to crank up the seasonal cheer, whether it’s for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or just because you really, really like winter. The best way to do that? Check out these outstanding sources of holiday goodies, from lights, wreaths, and ornaments to—yes, it’s true—holiday decorations for the most diehard Ravens fans. Is this a great country, or what?
If this place doesn’t get your inner Yule log burning, nothing will. With two locations—one in Davidsonville, the other in Severna Park—Homestead Gardens has just about everything you can imagine when it comes to holiday shopping. Besides the thousands of ornaments and dozens of trees, there’s also something the kids will love: the huge holiday model train display. For grownups, one of the store’s signature items is heirloom Russian ornaments painted with wintery Maryland scenes. Then check out the dozens of decorated trees at the Davidsonville location, ranging in themes from baby’s first Christmas to a candy-striped “peppermint crunch” theme. At both stores, you’ll find a large selection of lights, fresh and faux trees, wreaths, and countless bits of cheery seasonal kitsch. 743 W. Central Ave., Davidsonville. 410-798-5000; 522 Ritchie Hwy., Severna Park, 410-384-7966.
Kingsdene Nurseries & Garden Center
The drive to Kingsdene in Monkton, up a long, rural stretch of York Road, treats you to some of Maryland’s most picturesque farm country and will hopefully get you in the mood for the holidays. Your reward will be Kingsdene’s hand-decorated wreaths, poinsettias, and amaryllis. This down-home garden center features trees with themes for all tastes: the beach, Williamsburg, woodland creatures, rustic lodge, and white Christmas. And on the first weekend in December, Kingsdene has an open house with baked goods and plenty of hot apple cider. 16435 York Rd., Monkton 410-343-1150.
Established two years after the Civil War, this Towson mainstay prides itself on being more than just a hardware store. Shoppers will find many made-in-the-USA ornaments, Christmas platters and plates, and caroler holiday figurines, plus holiday-themed dish towels, cocktail napkins, and more twinkling lights than you can shake an elf at. And while you’re there, you can find gifts for everyone on your list, from the chef to the handyman to the collector to the gardener. 802 Kenilworth Dr., Towson, 410-823-6600.
Described by its owner as “loving the old, appreciating the new, and having some grit,” this store offers some unique elements for your home. It’s the only place that you’ll likely find things like stackable nutcrackers and alcohol-scented candles (bourbon, vodka, or Champagne, anyone?). The store also prides itself on is its edibles: specialty caramels, pickles, and chocolates made locally, regionally, and in the South. Then there’s the vast array of wrapping materials and cards, ranging in tone from saccharin-sweet to edgy and risqué. 921 W. 36th St. 410-366-3456.
Valley View Farms
Warning: You are about to experience a Christmas sensory overload. There’s the lighted, faux-snowflake ceiling and dozens of handcrafted themed trees, including a wine tree, a foodie tree, a dog and cat tree, and even a military-themed pine. And don’t miss the uniquely Maryland tree decorated with crabs, lighthouses, and rockfish. The store also features a special international section with ornate, handcrafted ornaments from Uzbekistan, wooden nutcrackers from Germany, bristle animal ornaments from the Philippines, and nativity scenes from Italy. Of course, that’s in addition to the de rigueur snow globes, tree skirts, tree toppers, wreaths, poinsettias, and endless array of cut trees. 11035 York Rd., Cockeysville, 410-527-0700.
Watson’s Garden Center
Regular customers of this 60-year-old Lutherville institution know that as soon as Thanksgiving nears, Watson’s suffers a serious identity crisis, transforming from a comprehensive garden center, nursery, and greenhouse to a winter wonderland on steroids. Of course, there’s the endless selection of lights, bows, wreaths, trees, and poinsettias, but if you’re looking for something to happily clash with tinsel, there’s also the specialty Orioles and Ravens merchandise. (Look for the special Ravens tree.) And if you’re shopping for ornaments with a difference, make sure to peruse their signature European, handblown glass ornaments. 1620 York Rd., Lutherville-Timonium 410-321-7300.
This European-chic store in Harbor East will be a perfect stop on your holiday decoration to-do list. Curiosity has seasonal candles for those cold nights, plaid throws from Scotland for nestling by the fireplace, hot chocolate or holiday jams for Santa, and pre-stuffed stockings, plus candleholders and festive holiday linens. And if you’re looking for the perfect beacon of the season for your down-sized condo or empty nest, check out their mini Christmas trees (which also make great centerpieces). 1000 Lancaster St., Ste. 130, 410-727-6262.
Baltimore Ravens Official Online Store
If you’ve overdosed on the omnipresent sea of red and green, try another chromatic Baltimore tradition: purple, gold, and black. There are Ravens ornaments, Ravens stockings, team-themed snow globes, and even a Ravens cookie plate for Santa. Then get down to decorating while wearing a new team jersey or one of the store’s specialty ugly sweaters. A guaranteed win! shop.baltimoreravens.com
Helping you accent your home with gorgeous accessories is apparently the mission of Dream House in Frederick. Though a bit more of a hike than some on our list, this store has beautiful throws, holiday pillows, garlands, ornaments, ribbons, and holiday trees in different color schemes. And if putting it all together at home makes you nervous, the store has an interior design service so you can get it right without breaking a nail. 102 E. Patrick St., Frederick, 301-360-0680.
Another source that’s a bit off the beaten path for most Baltimoreans but well worth the trip is Patuxent Nursery, which also does a metamorphosis from comprehensive garden center, nursery, and landscaping service to holiday-décor destination. It’s a big store, packed during the season with Christmas trees both real and fake, wreaths, ribbons, lights, ornaments, and accessories. 2410 Crain Hwy., Bowie, 301-218-4769.
Speaking of breaking nails, here’s another outfit that can help you put up—and take down—all that holiday stuff. The design experts at this 13-year-old Myersville-based company—which provides lighting and decoration designs and installations to residential and commercial clients in the region—will work up a plan with you and decorate your home without you lifting a finger. And when all the excitement is over, they’ll do the heavy lifting again, taking down the tree and lights. 9419 Myersville Rd., Myersville, 301-293-1900.