Looking for a nice hostess gift to bring to the next dinner party? Then go to the hospital. Yes, Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, the Gift Shop, that is. That's where doctors and nurses turn when they need a hostess gift.
"We do a lot for the doctors and nurses," said Kathy Spitzer, who does the food buying for the shop. "We try to carry things that they can run down and grab."
Evidence of the extensive line of food gift items was on display during the Holiday Bazaar that was held last weekend. While many of these items were sold that day, items that were left over are now on sale at the gift shop. The gift shop is open to the public, and stays open until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"I will put things out as they sell," said Spitzer.
People know if they can't buy it today, we will put it in the shop," said Polly Ward, who does the food buying with Spitzer. She also buys the sundries for the shop.
The selection of food gifts is very extensive. Frances Schrantz and Wilda Armstrong were helping to sell at the fair. Armstrong said that the mulled cider, of which they were serving samples, was very good and that the dip mixes were selling well.
"The crab dip is sold out already," she said. Not to worry, Spitzer said that they were ordering more for the shop.
Another volunteer, Marge Cruttenden, said that they sell out of the crab dip every year. "All the dips are popular, but for some reason people like that one," she said. "We carry the dip mixes all year round; they make great Christmas gifts."
VOLUNTEER CAROL POTTER likes the Holiday Soup Mix that they are selling. "It's great for leftover turkey," she said.
They also have Navy Bean Soup Mix for sale. "We have the French Market and the U.S. Senate mix," she said. "Each French Market mix comes with its own little bottle of Tabasco sauce."
Linda Carter was selling cans of Virginia peanuts and other canned nuts. Helping stock the table was Polly Ward. "I've been doing this for a number of years," she said, "Every year, we go to a show in Pennsylvania. We also go out to Chantilly twice a year and to Richmond every other year."
Ward said that the show in Richmond is sponsored by the Virginia Department of Agriculture. "It gives growers from Southern Virginia a chance to show their products," said Ward.
There are so many other items that are nicely packaged and ready for gift giving. There are several options for people who like warm drinks. Not only are the packages of the mulled spices a good choice, but there are other nice sets. A package of hot chocolate comes with a small whisk and tea bags come with a tea steeper.
A fun gift is the "Tall Dark and Delicious" spice and rub which come in a female and male version — perfect for a hostess present or gift swap. Small trash cans filled with candy come packaged with a bow; other candies come packaged in small gift bags. There are jellies, jams, spreads and much more.
Don't forget the pecan sales. Margaret Howard is coordinating the sales this year and thinks that they will sell "well over a ton."
"The ladies do a great job going out and selling them," she said. Pecans will continue to be sold at the shop through Dec. 1.
The Gift Shop at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital is located at 2501 Parkers Lane and can be reached at 703-664-7313. Their hours are: M-F: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat: noon to 4 p.m. and Sun: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.