1899523_589893064445663_5185682018952670316_oThe PopCulteer
December 5, 2014

It’s hard to believe that this is the ninth annual PopCult Gift Guide, but it is and now I feel old. As in previous years, I will devote one entire entry to local products, merchants, restaurants and causes. This is it. I hope it helps you get some ideas.

First up we have some opportunities for you to partonize local artists at special events. Today and tomorrow at UUC we have the 12th annual River Arts Show and Sale. This evening from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM and tomorrow from 10:00 am to 4:00 PM you can find an instant Holiday Gift Boutique in a setting with wonderful ambiance and atmosphere featuring over 25 Artisans and great live music throughout. Admission is $2, and that includes one Raffle Ticket for a chance to win work by selected artists. Friday evening hosts a wine and hors d’oeuvres for an artists reception and the official CD release by singer songwriter (and RFC guest), Dina Hornbaker.

Saturday’s open fair features a gourmet lunch.Childcare will be offered for children under 7 on Friday from 6:30-8:30pm and on Saturday afternoon, 2:30-4:00pm. At this sale you will find Gift Certificates for local business and Music CD’s by local artists. Plus there will plenty of art, jewelry and more so you can spread good will and support our local economy.

Holiday-Bazaar-2014-Logo-283x300You also have three more chances to attend the East End Holiday Bazaar at The Clay Center. December 6, 13 and 20, from 10 AM to 3 PM you can peruse even more offerings from local artists. The Bazaar will showcase 17 registered East End Bazaar vendors in the front lobby and lower level lobby of the Clay Center every Saturday until Christmas. Various Bazaar artisans will showcase their one-of-a-kind wares, including locally made jewelry, bath soaps, clothing, visual art, and much more, providing wonderful and local gifting opportunities for the Holiday season!

artwalkiOf course, there’s also the Downtown Charleston ArtWalk on December 18 for you last-minute gift procrastinators. For more information visit the ArtWalk website.

Aside from the above events, you can always shop local and purchase gift certificates from cool area merchants like Collage, Stray Dog Antiques, The Purple Moon, Taylor Books, Sullivan’s Records, Budget Tapes & Records, Cornucopia, Lost Legion Comics & Gaming, and Kid Country Toys and Rival Cards and Games.

10387125_706589062745408_4185056839506769851_oI’d also like to mention a new local business in Milton, Hillbilly Toy Chest at 876 E Main St. Melanie and I just wandered into the place last weekend and we were mightily impressed. They have tons of vintage and new toys and comics, going back to the 1980s, with a few older items too, and it’s just a really cool place loaded with fantastic gift ideas, plus they will do gift certificates. Look for a photo essay about them in PopCult in the near future.You can also check out their eBay store.

If, instead of some sort of nifty trinketry, you’d like to treat your loved one to a nice meal, you can buy gift cards of certificates for Bluegrass Kitchen, Tricky Fish, Starling’s Coffee and Provisions, Mission Savvy, Mi Cocini De Amor, Black Sheep Burrito and Brews at The Brewery, Pies & Pints, Lola’s, Bridge Road Bistro, Adelphia, Fazio’s, Mayberry’s and Taste of Asia. These are the stores that we know off the top of our heads offer gift certificates or cards. You might want to ask around to see if your favorite local restaurant also offers gift certificates. If they do, please feel free to tell us about it in the comments section.

If you want to treat your loved one to some professional tender loving care, we can recommend Amy Williams Wellness, Visions Day Spa or Neu Asthetic. If your chosen gifting target is a reader, visit Woodland Press for an enormous selection of books by local authors. You also want to make sure to support our local graphic novelists. I’m sure there are plenty of folks who’d love to find the latest from Danny Boyd, Jason Pell and others under the tree this year.

thecompanystores_largeOf course, I also have to recommend that you support the local music scene. Several local musicians have released great CD’s this year. The Company Stores, The Big Bad, Kevin Scarborough, The Renfields, Diablo blues Band,The Jasons, Spencer Elliott, Trielement, The Nanker Phelge, Paul Callicoat, and many other local artists have great new music.

As usual, I’m certain that I’ve forgotten some other fine local music and book releases, so please, if I missed any, feel free to tell me and leave a link in the comments. You should also check out Empty Glass Records for news on their latest releases. Their entire catalog would make a great gift, and they might cut you a deal if you buy one of each release.

10688047_10204499100029489_8531705613567407614_oPlease also consider giving the gift of live music or theater. Tonight and tomorrow you can take someone to see “MARY” at The Capitol Center Theater, and starting next week you can see Limelight Theater’s “Old Fashioned Christmas and a Movie” will be in that same theater the next two weekends. At The Alban Arts Center in Saint Albans, a very cool production of “A Christmas Carol” opens next week for a two-week run. Kanawha Players will present a different take on Dicken’s tale with “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol” at the LaBelle Theater in South Charleston for two nights only, on December 18 and 19. Opening December 19, Charleston Light Opera Guild will present a musical adaptation of “Miracle on 34th Street” at The WV Culture Center on the grounds of the State Capitol. If you prefer improv comedy, then tomorrow night you should head to The Alban for The No Pants Player’s annual Joytacular.

Plus you can almost always find live music at the many venues in and around Charleston. Sometimes the gift of an experience will create longer-lasting memories than a physical object.

It may take a little more work on your part, but it’s very easy to keep the money local when giving gifts this holiday. I hope you take my advice and help make Charleston a stronger place by keeping the local economy growing.

Tomorrow we wrap up our tenth PopCult Gift Guide with the really weird, stupid and strange gift ideas…the one’s I’d probably like for myself.