Gift Giving to Tee Up a Warm & Thoughtful New Year
Get out of the rut and into the real this Christmas
By Crissy Neville
If the traditional two-piece sweater set and necktie gift box have lost their appeal as your go-to Christmas gifts, you are not alone. Trending across shared social media sites and the Sandhills are creative ideas for Christmas gifts that deliver experiences and memories; convenience and comfort; and eco-friendly alternatives that enhance and honor recipients' lives.
Many gifts end up sitting around collecting dust, regifted or discarded within a year, and research shows some 5 billion pounds of returned goods end up in landfills. In the spirit of minimalism or for the goal of giving more thoughtfully and resourcefully, we can do better.
Inspired? Here are some gift ideas to get
The Gift of Time and Travel
Giving the gift of memories is a timely present for any occasion but one especially attractive when coupled with Christmas. That's according to local travel adviser Krissy Yoder of Be Our Guest Travel Company in Pinehurst, who says trip gift-givers run the gamut from parents and grandparents gifting extended family vacations to spouses surprising each other with resort getaways and an array of adventures.
Yoder reports that tropical destinations, multigenerational cruises, theme-park vacations, western U.S. ski trips, and travels to Alaska, Canada, and Europe have been popular over the years. Cruises to the Caribbean Islands and the Bahamas are closeby ports of call enjoyed by many in the Sandhills — widely popular due to the ease of boarding in Florida. Longer Alaskan cruises and Disney World vacations are two itineraries sought after by grandparents looking to treat entire family units. Regional attractions include The Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, Sea Island and Savannah in Georgia, Kiawah Island, Hilton Head, and Charleston, South Carolina, to name a few sought-after sites.
When do the vacations happen? Usually, Yoder explained, the family is unwrapping the present from under the tree at Christmas but going away a few months later. However, more travel-intensive locations may be planned a year in advance. If the gifters have school-age children, the travel dates may coincide with spring break or another milestone.
"For example, maybe the parents want to surprise their kids with a vacation to the Wizarding World at Universal Orlando after finishing the Harry Potter books," she said.
Be Our Guest Travel Company also specializes in planning "the big reveal" of the holiday gift. "We give help with all of those ideas and handle all the details for our clients," said Yoder, "including all the modifications, restrictions and updates in dealing with COVID-19 and health and safety mandates."
The Gift of Comfort and Camaraderie
While getting out of Dodge is always fun, don't forget the super gift of staycations. Give that someone special in your life a spa, golf or bed-and-breakfast package to one of the three historic hotels in the Village of Pinehurst: the Carolina Hotel, the Holly Inn, The Manor and for four or more guests, The Villas. Add to the list the Carriage House Bed and Breakfast in Carthage and Duncraig Manor & Gardens in Southern Pines, among other resources for rest and relaxation.
Have a golf-loving gal in your life? Women looking to get more out of their golf game will love the Ladies Golfari packages — "for women, by women and about women" — at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club offered various weekends throughout the year. And because girls just want to have fun, participants also enjoy evening entertainment, cocktail receptions and gourmet dinners. While there are plenty of golf choices for the guys, these packages are just for girls.
Serve up the present of pampering with a day spa gift certificate for that someone special to one of the Sandhills many spas and salons such as The Spa at Pinehurst or Southern Pines sources such as Venus Spa and Salon; Karma Spa and Beauty Bar; or Donna Lane Day Spa. Enjoy services ranging from manicures and pedicures to facials and full-body exfoliating treatments. Plan to go with and treat yourself, too!
There's nothing more comforting than food, and for the love of fare, the Sandhills does not disappoint. Give the gift of gourmet with a gift card or meal plan purchase at area restaurants, including Thyme & Place Cafe, Hollie's Catering, Elliot's on Linden and Elliot's Provision Co., just to name a few of the many excellent eateries in the area. Ranging from meals for pickup or delivery, reheatable family-sized entrees, catering services for any size occasion and delicious dining times, the Sandhills makes it easy to love, nourish and treat your significant others this holiday — and yourself — this season with healthy, flavorful and flexible food experiences.
And to chase down all that good food, what about a great local beer from one of Moore County's many ale houses and breweries? The craft brew scene is alive and well here. The gift of brew, perhaps paired with 'cue — barbecue, that is, from favorite meat joints such as Pik N Pig, Dickey's Barbecue Pit, Stubbs & Son BBQ and Talbert's Barbecue & Catering — may be just the ticket — or certificate — this holiday. Try the brewing companies of Hatchet, Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Railhouse, Camelback or many others. Pick your pair; you can't lose.
The Gift of Growth
Watch your gift grow, each with the present of a live tree from a Sandhills garden center such as Gulley's Garden Center in Southern Pines. Since 1974, Gulley's has been an old-fashioned family-owned, family-run business selling Japanese maples, dogwoods, ornamental cherries, live oaks, crape myrtles and fruit-bearing trees like apples and peaches, with delivery and installment services available. Give the gift of sustainability this Christmas or plant a tree in honor of a loved one and see your gift and remembrance grow every holiday forward.
Or, for another type of growth, namely, financial, and teach someone in your life about money management, the gift of stocks or bonds is indeed one the recipient will appreciate in the years to come. While you can't buy love, security is suitable for all seasons. Happy holidays!