While searching for a unique present that isn't available on every retail shelf across America, McDuffie County residents need only to head into town.
The perfect gift could be right around the corner if shoppers are looking for a Christmas present that reflects the local community while serving a decorative or functional purpose.
Local veterinarian David Reuhle holds a Thomson High mini-helmet. Part of the proceeds from the sales will go to the THS booster club.
Photo by Janet Wells
One of the newest items is a colorful throw, or afghan, that has been popular since its introduction a few weeks ago.
The afghans feature landmarks and events unique to McDuffie County that showcase the area's history and charm, said Thomson-McDuffie Tourism Director Gerald Baygents.
Another gift featuring some of the area's historic sites is an Ornament of Hope Christmas tree decoration. There are 12 ornaments picturing McDuffie County landmarks, and each ornament is gold on brass and comes with a certificate of authenticity. Made available through Easter Seals to support its programs, the ornaments are available through that organization and at the following Thomson locations: The White Columns Inn, Century 21, local banks, The Frame Gallery, the Chamber, Curves, McDuffie Animal Hospital and Weathervane Antiques.
Those who love fine dishes and ceramics can check out the selection at the Chamber. The county's historic sites are depicted on decorative plates and tea pots which are manufactured in Staffordshire, England using a hand tooled engraving transfer technique.
The newest plate in a series of four features Hickory Hill and a limited number have just arrived in time for Christmas. The plates, available in both blue and pink are $35 each.
For the avid sports fan, there is plenty of memorabilia reminiscent of glory days at The Brickyard.
Football fans can enjoy their very own helmet just like those worn by the Bulldogs when they step onto the gridiron, only this one is smaller. An exact replica of the Thomson High School helmets is available online at www.sportmounts.com. Click on category, select helmets, then Georgia High Schools, then Thomson High School. Buyers can also contact David Ruehle at 595-5386 for a paper order form. For every helmet purchased, the company will donate $5 to the Thomson High School Athletic Booster Club, Dr. Ruehle said.
Also for those who faithfully follow the Thomson Bulldogs, there are t-shirts, hats, jackets and smaller items like refrigerator magnets at Thomson Sporting Goods. The shop offers a unique license plate for die hard fans of local high school sports.
"The most unusual item we carry with Thomson Bulldogs on it is a gold car tag with 'Thomson Old Dog,' on it," said Dick Fellers, owner.
For those wanting something traditional, golf shirts are always a welcome gift. They are available at the Chamber with the Thomson catchphrase Bass, Bridles & Blues logo, or a logo of the annual Blind Willie Blues Festival.
Also for music fans, a poster from past Blind Willie festivals would make an unusual gift. Each year the festival features a new poster, and some from previous years are still available.
A good book makes the perfect gift for an avid reader, and three local authors offer a variety of choices. Belle M. Neal of Dearing has written Poems of Inspiration and Life, Yvonne Thompson of Warrenton has written two children's books about the adventures of Miss Tilly the loveable cow, and Cynthia Hogan Dent of Thomson has written a suspense novel, Yesterday's Rain. They are all available at Richards' Flowers and Gifts and some other locations as well.
"These authors offer a lot that we can be proud of," said Elizabeth Richards of Richards' Flowers and Gifts. "All three have given much to the community through their writings."
If writing notes and letters is a passion for someone on the gift list, then a heavy-polished pen made with oak salvaged from the historic Thomson Depot would be a distinctive present. The pens are available at the Chamber.
Marie Stephens of Stephens Jewelry and Gifts also offers some oak products with a unique McDuffie County twist. The business has decorative photo frames that feature laser carved images of Thomson including the Belle Meade Fox Hunt and fishing for bass on Clarks Hill Lake.
They also have refrigerator magnets and mirrors with Thomson logos.
For the music lover, the fine china collector or the avid sports fan, Thomson offers a selection of gifts that are unique to the area.