Where to go to buy an out-of-the-ordinary Christmas gift

sokamoto@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 11, 2013 

Everyone has that hard-to-please family member. So what kind of Christmas present do you buy?

Here are a few suggestions that may make opening presents Christmas morning a pleasant experience.

Columbus Symphony Orchestra

Does this family member enjoy classical music? Whew! The Columbus Symphony Orchestra comes to the rescue. The symphony has several gift ideas. There's a three-concert BOGO (buy one, get one) package. Buy tickets to the final three concerts of the season and get a free ticket for each one. The package includes "Wagner & Strauss" on Jan. 18; "Khashimov Plays Tchaikovsky" on March 22; and "Beethoven and Sibelius" on May 10. The March 22 concert is a special one, featuring Nadir Khashimov, a violinist who graduated from Columbus State University. He is the only CSU grad to be a guest artist with the CSO. This package costs $75.

The CSO Flex-Pass BOGO is a real deal. Buy six tickets and get six more free. These tickets can be used in any combination. This one costs $168. The concerts are in the Bill Heard Theatre, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts.

The ever-popular "Champagne and Dessert" concert this year is "A Viennese Valentine" on Feb. 14. Tickets are $35. It's in Legacy Hall, so it's best to buy tickets for this one soon.

Buy advance tickets for the 2014 Taste of the Town, which features an appearance by the Lee Brothers of Charleston. Matt and Ted Lee will be part of the Chef's Tent, which costs $150. The Grand Tasting is $85. TOTT is March 14 in the RiverMill Event Centre. Call 706-323-5059.

Springer Opera House

If you want to buy someone a ticket for the four remaining shows of the Springer Opera House's 2013-14 season, give box office manager Izzy Brown a call.

As of press time, the Springer, 103 10th St., had not set the price for the four-show package.

But with the much-anticipated "Les Miserables" coming up in March, it will probably be a good price to see that show, along with "A Raisin in the Sun," "Oops ... I Tweeted Again" and "The Odd Couple." Call Brown at 706-327-3688.

For unusual theater-related gifts, check out the Springer's Emporium or gift shop.

It's open during shows and regular tours (Monday and Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.).

Several local books are on sale, including Springer artistic director Paul Pierce's ghost book and Clason Kyle's book about people who have performed on the Springer stage. Another book, "Oliviatown," was the basis of the popular stage adaptation.

There are reusable grocery-type bags with the Springer logo, as well as some sweatshirts.

Columbus Museum

Another gift shop is at the museum, 1251 Wynnton Road. This one is filled with art books and art-related paraphernalia, including bridge cards, greeting cards, postcards and T-shirts. Look for some one-of-a-kind jewelry, scarves, ties and pocketbooks. There's also a great area that sells children's items. Call 706-748-2562.

Military museums

The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center and the National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus have extensive gift shops that offer military-related goods.

Port Columbus has some replicas of Civil War-era uniforms as well as a large selection of books about the Civil War navies and nautical-themed items. Not to leave women out, the gift shop has a selection of Victorian-era music boxes. Little boys might like the toy pop guns and models of ships and boats. There are also some musical instruments for sale that will be easy for youngsters to learn to play. Tell the box office that you don't want to tour the museum, but just want to go to the gift shop and it's free. Call 706-327-9897.

The National Infantry Museum's Soldier Store features a lot of different items including T-shirts in all sizes. There are magnets, books, teddy bears in uniform and ties and belts with the insignia of the various branches of the Army including Airborne, Ranger, Armor, Infantry and artillery. The "Challenge Coins," which have the insignia of various branches that people carry around, are very popular. Right now, pewter Christmas tree ornaments are selling well. Call 706-685-5819.

Elsewhere

Check out the "100 Under $100" exhibit at the Joseph House Art Gallery, 828 Broadway. The Joseph House artists have created small paintings that have been priced for less than $100 so you can take home an original work for a good price. It's open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 706-321-8948.

Maybe a ticket to Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens will be a gift someone will like. "National Geographic Traveler" calls FIL one of the "10 Best Places to See Holiday Lights." The Southeast Tourism Society has named it a "Top 20 Event." It will run through Dec. 30.

The Christmas Village near Robin Lake has all sorts of Christmas-related items. Some of them can be personalized. There's always the annual pass for the nature lover in the family. Call 800-225-5292.

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