With Christmas nearing, the goal for many this month will be to find the perfect gift for friends and family. For those looking to give a gift unique to Columbia County, The Columbia County News-Times once again has put together a list of offerings to choose from:
Wear it proudly
- Stevens Creek Elementary School is ready to outfit its pupils with T-shirts, water bottles and license plates with the school's name. The school offers T-shirts for $14 and license plates for $2. Items with themes from years past, such as water bottles and T-shirts, are available for $5 and $1, respectively. Most 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. 19, 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, including custom embroidery; athletic bags for $23; and shirts and jackets beginning at $30. 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.
- Columbia County's newest sporting goods store has duffel bags imprinted with the names of some county high schools. Academy Sports, at 4210 Washington Road in Evans, has duffel bags customized for Lakeside and Evans high schools for $19.99. Store hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
- Sunrise Grill in West Town Shopping Center sells products imprinted with the restaurant's sunglass-wearing, grinning sun. Mugs are $5; T-shirts are $15.
- The golfer on your list might like hats or shirts from area golf courses. Hats cost $18.95 and shirts range from $32 to $67 at Bartram Trail Golf Club in Martinez, (706) 210-4681. Hats cost $12 and shirts start at $25 at Three Oaks Golf Course in Harlem, (706) 556-1400); hats range from $18 to $25 at Jones Creek Golf Club, and shirts range from $25 to $130, (706) 860-6657; West Lake Country Club offers hats for $17 and shirts from $45 to $90, (706) 863-4642.
Read all about it ...
- For those eager to learn about Columbia County 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 is also available by calling Pat Hardaway at (706) 312-7254.
- Kiokee Baptist Church in Appling is offering a look into its history with A History of the Kiokee Baptist Church in Georgia, Georgia's First Continuing Baptist Church, by Waldo P. Harris and James Moesteller. The history of Georgia's oldest Baptist church 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 (706) 541-1086.
- For those who would like a holiday lift, Jean Embry has The First Piece of the Puzzle. The book, written by the Columbia County 4-H board member and active volunteer, is a mix of poetry and prose written in five sections that will lessen stress. The book is available for $20 at Borders, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and by calling Embry at (706) 738-5962.
- Joseph B. Williams's book Land We Lived provides some history of blacks in Columbia County. The book examines the life and role of blacks during the antebellum period. It is available for $21 from the Augusta Museum of History at 560 Reynolds St., and by e-mailing JBWilliams@AikenElectric.net. Call (706) 722-8454.
- Those interested in researching family history should enjoy I Remember: A Black Son of the South's 74-Year Living History, by Evans resident Charles J. "Chuck" Smith III. The book chronicles his life in business and academia and his search for his family history. It is available for $30, plus $2 shipping, by calling (706) 860-4114, e-mailing Smith at loganllowe@ bellsouth.net; or sending a check to 382 Barnsley Way Evans, GA 30809.
- If the avid reader on your list prefers fantasy and fiction, consider Dr. Benjamin Towe's Trilogy of the Land of Donothor. The three-book series - Deathquest to Parallan, The Orb of Chalar and The Death of Magick - follows a group of characters through several fantastic worlds in a great conflict. Towe, a Martinez family physician, wrote the books in a genre between that of J.R.R. Tolkien and Dungeons and Dragons. The books are available at www.authorhouse.com, www.borders.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.
- For those who like to stay informed about their community, a year's subscription to The Columbia County News-Times is available for $38. Call (706) 868-1222.
... and then cook it
- Members of Philadelphia United Methodist Church in Harlem are sharing their favorite recipes in Fellowship of Joyful Cooking. The cookbook, which is a compilation of recipes submitted by church members, is available for $10 from the church office. Call (706) 556-3299.
- County government employees have put together a cookbook to raise funds to provide Christmas for county children. The Employees for Excellence Committee compiled more than 350 recipes from employees and their families into A Taste of Columbia County. Recipes range from hearty soups and easy-to-make casseroles to cakes, pies and creative side dishes. The cookbook is available for $10 by calling (706) 447-7603 or (706) 312-7463.
- 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 $3 or two for $5 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. Call (706) 556-6439.
- Karin Calloway has some easy holiday recipes in Quick Cooking II: A Second Serving. The cookbook is a compilation of recipes featured in the Columbia County resident's weekly column in The Augusta Chronicle. It is available at The Columbia County News-Times office for $16.95 or two for $25, plus tax.
Joining the locals
- A membership to the Columbia County Historical Society is perfect for the history lover on your list. Memberships range from $10 a year to $100 for a family lifetime membership. Call Pat Hardaway at (706) 312-7254 or Vermill Baxter at (706) 541-1683.
- For the disc golf enthusiasts, consider a membership to the Professional Disc Golf Association. Membership includes a PDGA logo disc, mini marker, rule book, member card and PDGA magazine. Members are able to earn PDGA tour points. Memberships range from a $75 annual professional membership to a $25 junior. Discount $5 for each person for family memberships. Call (706) 261-6342.
- Avid readers and those who would like to see the joy 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 libraries. The Friends are raising funds to support the new library. 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 the animal lover on your list, a gift donation to the Columbia County Humane Society is a good idea. The donation will be especially helpful this year because the society 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 (706) 860-0751.
- An artist or art lover should enjoy a membership to Columbia County Arts Inc., an organization that supports arts in the county. 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 Ltd., the Choral Society and Columbia County Ballet. The groups also offer networking opportunities for artists. Memberships start at $25. Call Beverly Smith at (706) 228-1666 or visit www. columbiacountyarts.org.
- Memorialize an Evans Middle School pupil by ordering a memory brick, which will be used to pave a walkway and covered outdoor classroom/shelter at the new Evans Middle location on Hereford Farm Road. Each 4-by-8-inch bricks costs $35, $30 for each additional brick, and can be engraved with three lines of text with 19 characters per line. To order, visit www.bricksrus.com/order/ems or call PTSO President Lisa Thompson at (706) 868-6330.
- The signature of a younger child can be memorialized 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 proceeds from the bricks go toward paying for the school's new playground equipment. For more information, call (706) 447-1016.
- Military veterans on your list will enjoy a commemorative brick that will be used to pave a walkway around a military memorial still under construction - the Wall of Honor for Veterans in Grovetown. The pavers are $40 each and can be engraved with as many as three lines of 14 characters each. Military service is not required to purchase a brick. Forms are available at the Grovetown City Hall on Old Wrightsboro Road. Call (706) 863-4576.
Holidays at home
- Bring a little Columbia County into your home dcor with an afghan featuring scenes from Columbia County from Strictly Country at 4313 Washington Road in Evans. The afghans cost $69.95. Call (706) 863-1348.
- The Busy Bees Quilting Club can help you stay warmer this season with a handmade quilt. The group, out of Philadelphia United Methodist Church in Harlem, offers custom-made quilts starting at $35 to $40 for a baby blanket and up to $400 for a larger quilt. Proceeds from the quilt sales go toward making quilts for an Atlanta children's hospital. For more information, call Roberta Harriss at (706) 556-9596.
- A limited-edition Easter Seals Christmas ornament commemorates local history and helps the disabled at the same time. The ornament, featuring Oliver Hardy, is 24-karat gold-over-brass and costs $15. The ornament 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 (706) 667-9695.
- 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 Centre, features county artists including Christina Rice, David Stuart, Tommy Lyles and gallery partners Denise Norton and Lillie Morris. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call (706) 860-6055.
- If the busy holiday season tires you out, get a little extra rest on a Serta mattress manufactured at the company's factory in Grovetown. Renaissance Fine Furnishings, in West Town shopping center, carries a full line of Serta mattresses ranging from $200 to $2,500. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Call (706) 650-2777.
- Everyone needs a little pampering this holiday season. Bath Body and Soul, at 3957 Columbia Road, offers a signature line of bath and body, candles and home accessories. The store carries 7-ounce to 16-ounce hand-poured soy candles, which burn cleaner, last longer and throw scent farther than paraffin candles, in a variety of scents for $10 to $20. The store also sells a signature line of bath and body products such as lotion, body wash and body spray containing emu oil, known for its healing qualities. The signature line of products range from $3 to $12.
Custom gift baskets made from any of the Martinez store's wares, including high-end lines such as Archipelago, Burt's Bees, Cucina, True, Mamo Mio, Isola Luce Inc. and Mo Jito, are available starting at $10. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Call (706) 364-5841.
Gifts on the move
- Every homeowner would like a little help with the lawn, especially from a John Deere tractor or lawn mower. Some models of the John Deere tractors and mowers are made in the company's Grovetown plant. Augusta Turf and Tractor sells a full line of Deere mowers beginning at $400 and tractors starting at $12,000. Call the business, at 2804 Wylds Road in Augusta, at (706) 737-9191.
- For trips around the yard, the neighborhood or the golf course, a Club Car golf car is a good gift. 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. Visit www.tsagolf.com or call (706) 228-5525.
- A Columbia County license plate is 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 tag sale benefit Columbia County Arts Inc.
Music for the season
- A new CD by Evans native and independent Christian artist Stephanie Staples is available. Face to Face follows Staples' debut album, Breathe on Me, released in 2003, and her second CD, Beautiful, released in 2004. All three CDs are available by e-mailing Staples at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For a little harder sound, check out the newest CD from Glass Bottom Boat. The band is made up of four recent Columbia County high school graduates - Willy Hickmon, Nick McQuillan, Brandon Henson and Kyle Califf. Their second CD, Voyager 127, features four songs in their "screamo indie rock" genre. The CD is available for $5 from www.gbbmusic.com/shop.
- The pupils of Brookwood Elementary School are sure to spread holiday cheer with their compact disc Great Big Stars. The CD includes 15 traditional holiday songs and an additional 15 musical tracks for sing-alongs. The CD features pupils, teachers and staffers. A limited supply of the CD and the school's I'm Gonna Sing CD featuring spirituals, are available for $4 from the school.
On the visual side
- Columbia County artist Lynell Widener is known for her paintings of streetscapes and landmarks such as the old courthouse in Appling, downtown Harlem and local churches. Call Widener at (706) 868-1356. Black-andwhite and color prints are available.
Some of her original paintings that are not for sale can be viewed at Georgia Bank & Trust Co. at 4109 Columbia Road in Martinez and in many Columbia County government buildings.
- Carpenter's Art Gallery in Martinez can frame that special artwork or memorabilia. Framing at the gallery at 138 Davis Road begins 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 (706) 860-8054.
- The antics of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are sure to entertain the movie buff on your list. The Laurel and Hardy Museum in Harlem sells the comedic duo's movies in VHS and DVD, coffee mugs, Laurel and Hardy books and many 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 (706) 556-0401.
- For the nutty person on your list, head to Kay's Pharmacy in Harlem, where the store carries Tracy-Luckey pecans, which are processed across the street at the Tracy-Luckey factory. A 1-pound bag is $9.95; an 8-ounce bag is $5.95. Flavors include praline, roasted and salted, plain baking halves and pieces, chocolate-covered, angel honey, yogurt-covered and butter toffee.
Kay's also sells gift tins: a 64-ounce, four-flavor tin is $35.95; a 24-ounce, four-flavor tin is $19.95; and a single-flavor tin costs $12.95. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Call (706) 556-6231.
A taste of java
- Bean Baskette Coffee, at 4414 Evans to Locks Road in Evans, has ceramic coffee mugs bearing its name for $16. The coffeehouse sells six coffee flavors and half-pound bags of beans for $6. The shop will customize gift baskets to include coffees, beans, a mug, chocolate-covered espresso beans and goodies such as biscotti in a coffee cup-shape basket for $40 to $60. Call (706) 447-2006.
- For java lovers, Mocha Mahn Coffee Shack, at 103 Maple Drive, offers stainless-steel travel mugs bearing the coffeehouse's name for $4.99 and T-shirts for $9.99. The shop has 15 coffee flavors, which are sold in 1-pound bags for $11.32 to $15.16; 12-ounce bags for $9.99; and 2-ounce brick packs for $1.99. Hours are Monday through Thursday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call (706) 364-6065.
- R. Gabriel's, a coffeehouse at 3740 Washington Road in Martinez, has 30 varieties of fresh-roasted coffee. Coffee is sold by the pound for $7 to $15. A variety of coffee mugs bearing the store's logo are available, including a travel mug for $9.95. Hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday. Call (706) 210-4144.
- Abbi's Coffee Mill and Roastery, 408 Furys Ferry Road, sells a gift box featuring 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 in addition to customized gift baskets starting at $8. Mugs with the roastery's name are available for $9.95. Hours are Monday through Thursday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Saturday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call (706) 651-9111.
- The Daily Grind Coffee House and Cafe, in Liberty Square shopping Center in Evans, has coffee and travel mugs with the store's logo ranging from $9.95 to $25; and T-shirts for $18 to $20. The business sells 25 coffee brews, which are sold in 12-ounce bags for $9.95. Custom gift baskets also are available beginning at $24.95. Hours are Monday through Thursday 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call (706) 854-8838.
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