If you love the arts in Charleston, there's no better time to pass along that passion than Christmas.
We all have people who are difficult to buy for, and we rack our brains trying to figure out a special treat.
That's why a gift of a theater or music performance makes an ideal present. You are not only giving that special someone an experience that will make memories, you also are supporting our local arts organizations.
That's why I found it interesting to see gift certificates start to pop up with several organizations. It seems like the easy way to give a gift that allows the recipient to choose his experience.
Charleston Stage has gift certificates of $50 (two tickets) or $100 (four tickets) that can be applied toward any production. They expire one year from the date of purchase, so there are plenty of productions to choose from. Go to www.charlestonstage.com.
When I looked for art gift certificates online, an interesting new way of giving an e-gift jumped out. It's called giftrocket.com, and it is basically an online gift card. The sender can recommend that certain organizations are a good idea for the treat.
For instance, in Charleston, giftrocket.com recommends Theatre 99, Footlight Players Theatre, Cone 10 Studios and Carolina Dancesport to name a few.
Here's how it works: You deliver the gift by email or as a printable card. Suggest a business for spending the gift, or leave it up to the recipients. They redeem online, and giftrocket sends the money along. They can choose a bank transfer, credit card, check in the mail or PayPal account. Then recipients can take your recommendation or spend the money however they wish.
The fees are modest if you make your purchase directly from your bank account: $2 for gifts below $100 and $4 otherwise. If you make your purchase with a credit or debit card, there is a fee of $2 plus 5 percent of the gift amount.
I know that you can just send a check in the mail, but this is a hip way to deliver that Christmas cheer straight to a friend's phone or computer. (This really rocks on Dec. 24!)
At the Summerville Community Orchestra, you can buy gift certificates to upcoming concerts. The great thing about this group is that the tickets are inexpensive — just $10 per concert — so your money goes a long way.
The orchestra offers all sorts of music, so it's easy to come up with a performance that is sure to please. Call 873-5339 or e-mail office@summerville orchestra.com.
At the Gibbes Museum of Art, proceeds from the gift shop support the museum, and they often have exclusive gifts. A favorite this year is a Charleston Renaissance silk charmeuse scarf, inspired by Alfred Hutty's “Magnolia Gardens.” Other designs feature works by Charleston Renaissance artists Anna Heyward Taylor and Alice Ravenel Huger Smith.
Or there is the stunning “Places for the Spirit: Traditional African American Gardens,” a book of black-and-white pictures by photographer Vaughn Sills that accompanied the Gibbes exhibition.
The best part? Some items from the Gibbes store are available online, so you don't even have to find parking.
Go to gibbesmuseum.org/store/store_main.php.
If you have a child in your family, a Charleston coloring book is always a nice treat. A traditional coloring book that has been reissued by Ann Boatwright Igoe is “The Charleston Coloring Book & Guide.” Kids can learn all about Charleston, and it features locations that are child-friendly, such as a Waterfront Park fountain and the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry.
Igoe is a local Charlestonian and artist who has updated her 1979 classic, and it has timeless appeal. It's $7.95 and can be found in local stores or by calling 723-0529.
Whatever present you choose, the recipient will know that a lot of thought has gone into making his holiday a little bit brighter.
Reach Stephanie Harvin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-5557.