The holidays are quickly approaching and many of us will flock to stores to pick out the perfect gift for all those special people in our lives. I took a mini-trip around Savannah to check out the fabulous array of gift-giving possibilities in my area. My focus was inexpensive, clever gifts that could be given to neighbors, teachers or hostesses.
I started at Byrd Cookie Company, and owner Stephanie Lindley greeted me. Lindley is the great-granddaughter of founder Benjamin Tillman and has recently returned to the company. While cookies are a big focus at Byrd, Lindley has brought in new items and has a wide variety of gifts, including a big selection of Paula Deen’s fabulous products and books. When I asked her how it felt to be back at her family business as CEO she said, “The first day, after being away for 11 years, was like coming back to school: excited and nervous.”
My journey continued at Sweet Tea, a Savannah gift shop located in a neighborhood known as Sandfly. This store feels new and different each time that I visit. It’s cozy, yet it is filled with gorgeous items that anyone would love. I sat down with owner Lisa McCaslin, who has a clever knack for making anything look extraordinary. McCaslin believes that “presentation can make all the difference.” She manages to make a simple soap look spectacular with mere ribbon and cellophane!
Here are a few gift-giving ideas from two of Savannah’s most charming merchants:
McCaslin says a hostess gift is an opportunity to show your appreciation for being included at an event. She advises, “People are busier than ever, and a hostess gift is a wonderful way to say thank you for taking the energy, time and thought for including me at their party.”
I met with Byrd’s vice president, India King, to discuss the “perfect” hostess gift. King, the consummate hostess, recommends simple gifts that do not require the hostess to stop and “tend to the gift.” For example, King’s favorite hostess gift is a vintage tin, hand-packed with Byrd’s signature scotch oatmeal cookies.
Scotch Oatmeal Cookies in tin $19.95
A host or hostess would love the smart cocktail shaker from Byrd filled with a savory cocktail snack.
Savory Cocktail Shaker $14.95
Both King and McCaslin agree that a hostess gift does not have to be expensive: It just needs to be a thoughtful gesture on the part of the guest. Luckily, it is easy to turn a small, simple gift into a spectacular one. McCaslin showed me a fabulous miniature butter dish that she recommends for a hostess gift. She suggests filling it with a chocolate truffle, small soap or candle. Wrapped with cellophane and a pretty ribbon, it makes a lovely, inexpensive gift that is also practical. McCaslin advises, “Whatever the budget may be, the presentation will make your selection extra special.”
An array of inexpensive gifts from Sweet Tea, which are versatile, clever and fun.
It is always fun to prepare a little special something for neighbors. It does not need to be fancy or expensive. With our busy lives, King recommends purchasing raw, refrigerated cookie dough and keeping it on hand for a semi-homemade gift. It could become an easy baking project for your children. Whether packaging cookies in a cute bag with ribbon or on a silver tray with cellophane, you will have a personal gift to present from your family.
Try some of these sweet packaging ideas.
It is nice to help your children come up with something special for their teachers during the holidays because they learn early about showing appreciation for the important people and role models in their lives. At Sweet Tea I found the perfect old-fashioned Christmas ball that opens to hold a trinket. Place a sweet treat, a gift card, or just a special letter inside and brighten up any teacher’s day. This type of holiday ornament is only $5.
No matter your budget, with some smart shopping and clever presentation, you will be able to find wonderful gifts for all the people on your list.
Wishing you all the joy and happiness that Christmas brings!
As always, thank you for reading.
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Join Paula and Bobby for a book signing at Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House in Savannah from 10 am to 12 pm. Trolley service available in Johnson Square from 8:30 AM to 1:30 PM. Only 350 tickets will be given out starting 1 hour before the book signing. No cameras permitted; a professional photographer will be on site to take your photo.