DARLINGTON COLUMN: Season to be Savvy
Finding the right gifts for everybody in your family can be tricky. And unlike Santa, you probably don't have a workshop staffed with elves to help you.
These tips will highlight a few ways to shop for the whole family without breaking the budget.
The goal of bargain shopping is always to buy quality products without overspending, and it's no different when you're shopping for toys.
If the brand-name items are out of your price range, don't assume that the cheaper imitation toys will suffice. Instead, find less expensive alternatives that will last your kids longer than a few hours of roughhousing.
Wonder Works owner Christine Osborne recommends the Lite Hawk II indoor helicopter ($49.99) because it's less expensive than some high-class copters, which can cost up to $200. Osborne also said the company guarantees the toys for life and will replace any broken part for no extra cost.
Other popular items, according to Osborne, include glitter tattoo kits from Glimmer Body Art and the Tenzi dice game, both of which are priced at $14.99. You can find these items and a 25 percent-off coupon in the toy store's seasonal catalog.
At Hollipops Fine Toys and Gifts in Mount Pleasant, the store offers 15 percent off your total purchase of up to five items every Tuesday.
For this holiday season, store manager Jael Sadler recommends American-made toys, such as the old-fashioned butterfly yo-yo by Channel Craft ($11) or the eco-friendly tea set by Green Toys ($29).
“These are the kinds of toys you'll be handing down for generations,” Sadler said.
Parents, in-laws, siblings
If you have family members who live outside of Charleston, consider a gift certificate to a local inn, restaurant or attraction for their next visit.
On the Charleston Visitor Center's website, www.charlestoncvb.com, you can print out coupons for two-for-one dinner deals at downtown restaurants, up to 20 percent off hotel reservations and discounts on attractions such as guided walking tours.
Another idea is to plan a bonding day. Schedule a spa service for you and the girls in your life to do together.
Spa Adagio downtown is offering $10 off manicure and pedicure combos and one-hour massages. The relaxing setting likely will be a needed change of pace after the holidays.
Husband or boyfriend
Power tools and gift cards are usually safe gifts for the men in your life, but they can often come across like a chore.
You don't want him to open your gift and think “great, now I have to fix the sink.”
Try to find a way to wrap up something they like to do. For example, www.clickitgolf .com offers discounts on rounds of golf at local courses.
A round at Stono Ferry is advertised on the website for $53, about $20 less than the average price.
Remember, gift-giving isn't always about being practical. It's a time to remind your loved ones to relax or to have fun. Spend your money wisely on gifts, but don't let your budget limit your creativity.