With Christmas right around the corner, the task for December is to find the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday list. For those wanting to give gifts unique to Columbia County, there are lots of choices.
Again this year, The Columbia County News-Times has put together a list of such gifts with a distinct Columbia County flair:
Wear It Proudly
- River Ridge Elementary School is ready to outfit all of its little Bulldogs with T-shirts, long-sleeve T-shirts and sweatshirts with the school's Bulldog mascot. The school also offers the logo on car magnets and water bottles. Most Columbia County schools have T-shirts and sweatshirts with school logos and are available from the school, parent teacher organizations or booster clubs. Call the school for details. The last day of shopping is Dec. 16 - the final day of school before the holiday break.
- For those who like to wear their school spirit, Hometown Sports features area public and private middle and high schools on letter jackets for $145; athletic bags for $23; shirts and windbreakers beginning at $30; and other items. The store, at 4115 Columbia Road in Martinez, is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.
- Fans of Columbia County high school sports can find wearable gear at Wal-Mart. The store offers Evans, Greenbrier, Lakeside and Harlem sweatshirts for $17.93, sweatpants for $14.83 and flannel pajama pants for $14.83.
- Sunrise Grill in West Town Shopping Center offers gift ideas marked with the eatery's sunglass-wearing grinning sun. Mugs are $5; T-shirts are $12.50; and caps are $15.
- Outfit the golfer on your list with hats and shirts from area golf courses. Hats cost $18.95 and shirts range from $32 to $67 at the recently opened Bartram Trail Golf Club in Martinez (210-4681). Hats cost $10 and shirts cost $20 at Three Oaks Golf Course in Harlem (556-1400); hats range from $11 to $20 at Jones Creek Golf Club, and shirts range from $25 to $130 (860-6657); West Lake Country Club offers hats for $17 and shirts from $45 to $90 (863-4642).
Read all about it ...
- For those who want to learn more about Columbia County's history, there is To Seek a Newer World: A History of Columbia County, Georgia, by Dr. Gerald J. Smith. The book costs $25 and is available from any member of the Columbia County Historical Society or at Kay's Pharmacy in Harlem. It also is available by calling Pat Hardaway at 312-7254.
- Refresh your church history with A History of the Kiokee Baptist Church in Georgia, Georgia's First Continuing Baptist Church by the late Waldo P. Harris and James Moesteller. The history of Georgia's oldest Baptist church congregation is available at the church's office in Appling for $30, or $35 if mailed. Make checks payable to Kiokee Baptist Church, P.O. Box 430, Appling, GA 30802. Call 541-1086.
- Diversity and social interaction can be explored through Martinez poet Lucinda Clark's first book, View from the Middle of the Road, published in 2004 by Xlibris. The 63-page paperback contains 57 free-verse poems and is available online at www.phoenixrisingarts.com.
- For those who like to stay informed, a year's subscription to The Columbia County News-Times is available for $38. Call 868-1222.
... And then cook it
- For a few new holiday recipes, Stevens Creek Elementary School is offering a hardback cookbook called A Spoonful of Excellence. The cookbook features 400 recipes submitted by Stevens Creek staff members, families and pupils. It is available for $8 from the school office.
- In honor of Harlem Baptist Church's 130th anniversary in 2004, the congregation compiled recipes into a cookbook - 130 Years and Still Cooking! The cookbook is $10 and is available from the church and Sunrise Grill in West Town Shopping Center. Call 556-6439.
- Holiday dishes are made easy with Karin Calloway's Quick Cooking II: A Second Serving. The cookbook is a compilation of recipes from the Columbia County resident's weekly column in The Augusta Chronicle. It is available at The Columbia County News-Times office for $16.95.
Join the local crowd
- For the history lovers on your list, consider a membership to the Columbia County Historical Society at $10 a year or $100 for a family lifetime membership. Call Pat Hardaway or Vermill Baxter at 541-1683.
- Book lovers and others who want to see the love of reading passed on to future generations can get a membership to the Friends of the Columbia County Libraries. Memberships range from a $10 individual to a $500 "Best Friend." Membership supports the county's libraries and the Friends are raising funds to support the new library slated to open in the spring. Friends members receive a 10 percent discount at Borders Books Music and Cafe. Visit www.ecgrl.public.lib.ga.us and follow the links.
- For those who would rather help man's best friend, a gift donation to the Columbia County Humane Society is especially needed this year because the organization is raising money for a dog park, a low-cost spay and neuter clinic and a shelter on Columbia Road in Appling. For more information, call 860-0751.
- An artist or art lover should enjoy a membership to Columbia County Arts Inc., an organization that supports arts in the community. Members receive an Arts Talk newsletter, invitations to special membership events and performances and a 10 percent discount to performances and exhibits by Columbia County arts groups including Stage III, the Choral Society and the Augusta Dance Theater. The group also offers artists the opportunity to network. Membership levels start at $25. Call Beverly Smith at 228-1666 or visit www.columbiacountyarts.org.
- Memorialize a Lakeside High School student by ordering a memory brick, which will be used to help repave the school's outdoor walkways. Two sizes are available: a 4-by-8-inch brick costs $48 and can be engraved with as many as three lines with 14 characters per line; an 8-by-8-inch brick costs $68 and can be engraved with as many as five lines. Order bricks at Lakeside's front office. For more information, call 863-0027.
- Those with younger children can memorialize their child's signature on a commemorative brick at River Ridge Elementary School. The engraved bricks, which will be used to edge the front walkways and around the flagpole, come in three varieties - regular and signature for $50 and corporate for $500. All funds raised from the bricks go toward paying for playground equipment at the school. For more information, call 447-1016.
No place like home
- Decorate for the holidays, commemorate local history and help the disabled at the same time with a gift of a limited-edition Easter Seals Christmas ornament featuring Harlem's famous native son, Oliver Hardy. The 24-karat gold-over-brass ornament costs $15 and is available at the Laurel and Hardy Museum in Harlem and at the Easter Seals office, 1500 Wrightsboro Road in Augusta. Other commemorative ornaments of Augusta landmarks also are available. For more information, call 667-9695.
- To keep the people on your list warm this holiday season, consider an afghan featuring scenes from Columbia County from Strictly Country at 4313 Washington Road in Evans. The afghans cost $69.95. Call 868-1348.
- For the art lover on your list, visit Broadstrokes Gallery at the Veranda to purchase a piece of original art or to commission a work such as a portrait. The gallery, at 677-C N. Belair Road in the Evans Towne Business Centre, features Columbia County artists including Christina Rice, Tommy Lyles, David Stuart and gallery partners Lillie Morris and Denise Norton. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call 860-6055.
- Get a little extra rest after a busy holiday season on a Serta mattress manufactured at the company's factory in Grovetown. A full Serta gallery is available at Renaissance Fine Furnishings, located in West Town Shopping Center. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Prices range from $399 to $2,500. Call 650-2777.
- The pupils of Brookwood Elementary are sure to put anyone in a holiday mood with their compact disc Great Big Stars. The CD includes 15 traditional holiday songs and an additional 15 musical tracks for singalongs. The CD features everyone at Brookwood from pre-K and special-education pupils to teachers and staff. The $10 CD is available in the school office, Center Stage Music in West Town Shopping Center and Family Christian Bookstore in the Augusta Exchange Shopping Center on Robert C. Daniel Parkway.
- Bring gospel into the holiday season with Evans resident Glenda Howard's first CD, I'm Committed. Howard, a singer, songwriter and producer who works as a clerk in the Evans post office, is known as the singing postal lady. Her CD features eight songs that she wrote about real-life issues. The CD costs $10 or $11 if mailed. To purchase a copy, contact Howard at 869-9354, e-mail GPraiser@bellsouth.net or via mail to P.O. Box 1157, Evans GA 30819.
- Music from Evans native and independent Christian artist Stephanie Staples also is available. Breathe On Me, the debut self-produced CD, was released in 2003, and her second album, Beautiful, was released in 2004. Both CDs are available by e-mailing Staples at info@stephanie staples.com.
- A Club Car golf car would be the perfect gift for the golfer on your list or anyone else who just wants to take a trip around the yard. The cars, manufactured in Evans, are available from Transportation Solutions of Augusta, 692 Commerce Court, Evans. Prices range from $1,500 to $5,000. The store is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- Any homeowner would like a little help with lawn chores, especially if it means a John Deere tractor or lawn mower. Some models of the John Deere tractors and mowers are made in the company's Grovetown plant. Mowers start at $400 and tractors begin at $12,000 at Augusta Turf and Tractor, 2804 Wylds Road in Augusta. Call 737-9191.
- A Columbia County license tag with the county's new logo will jazz up any vehicle. They are available from the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce office at 4424 Evans to Locks Road in Evans and at The Columbia County News-Times office for $5. Proceeds from the sale go to Columbia County Arts Inc. and toward opening ceremonies for the county's new library and performing arts center.
Celebrating the visual arts
- Columbia County artist Lynell Widener is known for her paintings of streetscapes and notable landmarks such as the old courthouse in Appling, downtown Harlem and Appling and local churches. Call Widener at 863-2914. Black-and-white and color prints are available.
Some of her original paintings that are not for sale can be viewed at Georgia Bank & Trust at 4109 Columbia Road in Martinez and in many Columbia County government buildings.
- To preserve that special artwork or memorabilia, Carpenter's Art Gallery at 138 Davis Road in Martinez can frame it beginning at $30. The gallery also sells original artwork from eight local artists, many of whom are Columbia County residents. Prices vary. For more information, call owner Jan Bryant at 860-8054.
- The movie buff on your list would love any of the items offered by The Laurel and Hardy Museum in Harlem. The museum sells VHS movies, mouse pads, T-shirts, DVDs, coffee mugs, Laurel and Hardy books, baseball caps, key chains and other stocking-stuffers. Items range from $3 to $20 and shipping is available. Hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed for lunch between noon and 1 p.m.); Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Call 556-0401.
- Can't resist the aroma of fresh-baked goods or just don't have time to cook? Visit the L'il Dutch Bakery in West Town Shopping Center. The bakery specializes in breads, cakes, pies and casseroles. Their bread offerings include 100 percent whole-wheat, white, honey wheat, sourdough, cinnamon, cinnamon raisin, banana nut, poppy seed, lemon, cranberry and pumpkin for $2.99 to $4.99.
The shop's cake offerings, which range from $9.59 to $21.99, include caramel, chocolate, strawberry, red velvet, coconut, German chocolate, cream cheese pound and hummingbird. Individual cookies, cupcakes, lemon bars, rolls and brownies also are available.
Pies, which cost $8.99 to $10.99, include coconut cream, peanut butter, lemon meringue, shoofly, cherry, apple, peach, blueberry, pumpkin, sweet potato, pecan and coconut macaroon.
The bakery offers homemade casseroles, vegetables and side dishes including broccoli and rice, sweet potato, macaroni and cheese, barbecue meatballs, chicken pot pie, chicken enchiladas, lasagna and Hawaiian chicken for $6.99 to $16.25. The bakery is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Call 228-5336.
- For the one person on your list who is a little nutty, head to Kay's Pharmacy in Harlem, where the store carries Tracy-Luckey pecans, which are processed across the street from Kay's at the Tracy-Luckey factory. A 1-pound bag is $10.95; an 8-ounce bag is $5.95. Flavors include praline, roasted and salted, plain baking halves and pieces, chocolate-covered and angel honey.
Kay's also offers gift tins: a 64-ounce four flavor tin is $34.95; a medium four-flavor 24-ounce tin is $18.95; and a one-variety tin is $12.95. A 5-pound box of baking halves or pieces is $34.95. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Call 556-6231.
- Abbi's Coffee Mill and Roastery, 408 Furys Ferry Road, offers a gift box of three 11-ounce bags of coffee for $29. The Martinez company, which roasts its own coffee beans, offers three decaffeinated, 16 blends, 13 single-origin (country of origin) coffees and 14 flavors of fresh-roasted coffees available for $9.95 per pound. Call 651-9111.
- R Gabriel's, a coffee house at 3740 Washington Road in Martinez, offers 30 varieties of fresh-roasted coffee. Coffee is sold by the pound for $7 to $15. Coffee-making accessories and a variety mugs are available, including one with the R Gabriel's logo for $12. Call 210-4144.
- To wash everything else down, buy your family and friends a few bottles of Springtime water, bottled by Southern Beverage in Appling with water drawn out of the deep aquifer right under Columbia County. Available in local grocery stores.
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