10 Distinctively Charleston Holiday Gifts

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A visit to Charleston is the perfect time to do some holiday shopping for friends and family. Choose from specialty food items, arts and crafts, jewelry and other items completely unique to Charleston. We’ve selected a few favorites for our Holiday Gift Guide we think would make great presents. And be sure to pick up a little something for yourself!

Charleston Oyster Shucker
photo by Jessica Paulsen

The Charleston Shucker Oyster Knife is a must-have for any oyster shuckin’ aficionado. Use this knife so you’re all set to spend more time eating steamed and raw oysters and less time shucking. Price: $32 (included engraving on both sides of the blade and shipping). Add a Charleston Shucker Holster for an additional $5. Fish fillet knives and gift sets also available. Order online at charlestonshuckerco.com.


JK Designs necklaceJK Designs is an interactive handmade jewelry company in Charleston where customers can select their own gemstones for a truly one-of-a-kind piece. Earrings, rings, bracelets and necklaces are available. Price: $25-$250. Find JK Designs at the Charleston City Market in downtown Charleston.


Mary Edna Fraser silk scarfLocal artist Mary Edna Fraser, a master of the ancient medium of batik, transcribes aerial perspectives of the earth onto silk. She photographs the terrain seen out the window of her grandfather’s vintage airplane and creates vibrant and colorful works of art that are collected and exhibited worldwide. Fraser’s work, “Charleston Runner,” part of the permanent collection of the Gibbes Museum, can be purchased as a silk charmeuse scarf in the museum’s store. The museum store also carries two other scarves featuring Fraser’s “Edingsville” and “Selenga Delta” batik works. Price: $175. Purchase at the Gibbes Museum Shop, 135 Meeting St. in downtown Charleston (gibbesmuseum.org).


Ants ‘N’ Uncles by Clay RiceWhat happens when Uncle steps on an ant hill? The ants in his pants make him dance, of course, and his dancing skills become famous around the world. From award-winning author and silhouette artist Clay Rice comes the rhyming tale of an accidental hero. Ants ‘N’ Uncles” is filled with scenes from countries and cultures around the globe. This lively, silly story is sure to delight children and parents. Rice’s landscape scenes and children’s illustrations are sought after by collectors worldwide, and his work is on permanent display at the South Carolina State Museum. Price: $16.95. Available at Buxton Books, 2-A Cumberland St. in downtown Charleston, and online at familius.com.


Dacuba’s Fine JewelryThis pendant is fashioned after Charleston’s majestic Angel Oak Tree located on Johns Island. Dacuba’s Fine Jewelry also carries rings, earrings, bracelets and charms inspired by the ornate gates found throughout downtown Charleston. Price: Pendant $19 – $59, Rice Bead Necklace $39 – $47. Available at 84 N. Market St. in Charleston (dacubasjewelry.citymax.com).


Element Candles

Element Candles are handcrafted in Charleston with 25 unique candle varieties. Each all-natural candle burns for about 50-70 hours. Because they are made with soy wax and wood wicks, you get a solid burn with no tunneling or wax left over. Price: White candles are $30, and black candles (with 50 percent more fragrance oil) are $35; votive candles are $10. Element Candles are available at Maris DeHart, 32 Vendue Range in downtown Charleston, and online at elementcandles.com. Also look for the candles at the Charleston City Night Market and at the City Market on Sundays.


Deep Water VineyardAt Deep Water Vineyard on Wadmalaw Island, you’ll find vines filled with muscadine grapes, a fruit native to the Southeastern United States. Those grapes are turned into authentic muscadine wine – five different labels from four varieties of grapes. Pick up a few bottles for friends or as a holiday party hostess gift. Deep Water Wine is available at retail locations around the Charleston area and at the vineyard; see deepwatervineyard.com for details (tours and tastings also available).


Take home a bag of grits so good they are served in some of Charleston’s finest restaurants. At Geechie Boy Grits, Greg Johnsman uses historic working mills to creGeechie Boy Gritsate white and yellow grits plus Jimmy Red Cornmeal. Geechie Boy Grits are available online and at a number of retails locations around Charleston; see geechieboymill.com for details. Or stop by the farm and market on Edisto Island.


A Lowcountry Christmas by Mary Alice MonroeNew York Times bestselling author and Charleston area resident Mary Alice Monroe has released her first holiday novel, “A Lowcountry Christmas.” In the book, Marine Taylor McClellan returns home from Afghanistan to his financially-stressed family. Taylor’s struggle with PTSD and his family’s lack of understanding further strain the holiday spirit. Through the miraculous gift of a service dog, Taylor and his family are lead on a journey to rediscover their strengths, family bond and the true meaning of Christmas. Available at bookstores and online; visit maryalicemonroe.com for more information.


Hook N HideWhat man doesn’t need a fish belt buckle that doubles as a bottle opener? Hook N Hide buckles are handcrafted in Charleston by Tom Mauldin, outdoorsman and artist. Choose from the bull dolphin, Mako shark, rainbow trout, redfish, tarpon or sailfish. The buckles are made of tumbaga, a mixture of different metals including brass, copper and gold, which gives each buckle a rustic and attractive patina. Price: $90-$120. Available at select retailers and online at hooknhide.com.

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Charleston FAQ's

Choosing a hotel and where to stay in Charleston all depends on your budget and goals. Do you want to stay Downtown, at the beach or in the outer areas such as North Charleston where you have to drive to get everywhere? For more help on deciding: https://travelerofcharleston.com/articles/hotels/

Charleston has 3 main public beaches which are: Folly, Isle of Palms and Sullivans. Each beach has it’s own atmosphere. The most common beach that people visit is Folly Beach and then Isle of Palms followed by Sullivans Island. For more info on Charleston’s beaches visit: https://travelerofcharleston.com/guide-charlestons-beaches/

Charleston, SC is full of historical things to do. Everything from museums, to public sites and free landmark sites such as Rainbow Row and the Battery can be seen. For more info on Charleston’s top historical sites visit: https://travelerofcharleston.com/places-to-learn-about-charleston-sc-history/

There are many things that will keep the kids and family entertained and educated in Charleston. There are historic sites such as Fort Sumter, a Children’s Museum, Aquarium and the USS Yorktown…a WWII era aircraft carrier you can tour. For more info visit: https://travelerofcharleston.com/charleston-family-fun-activities/

There’s so many  things you could do in Charleston it can be overwhelming. We recommend that first time visitors, checkout the ultimate first-time visitor guide here: https://travelerofcharleston.com/charleston-first-time-visitors-guide/

Spring in Charleston, SC is an amazing time of year to visit. The flowers are blooming and the weather is mild and sunny. For more info, check-out our spring guide to Charleston here: https://travelerofcharleston.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-springtime-in-charleston/

Summer in Charleston is a great time to visit. There’s plenty of things to keep you busy and visiting the beach will probably….or should be on your short-list. Also water-based activities and tours are popular. Checkout this summer guide to Charleston for more info: 

Our 10 Favorite Summer Activities in Charleston

Fall is one of the best times to visit. The weather cools down a bit and the skies are typically blue and clear. In addition there are many great events, festivals and the large crowds of summer have gone back to school or work. For more info on visiting in the fall, checkout this article: https://travelerofcharleston.com/charleston-12-things-to-do-fall/

There are so many great things to do that it’s difficult to narrow the list down. This article does a great job with figuring out the must do things to do in Charleston

7 Can’t Miss Reasons to Visit Charleston, SC Now

The consensus is a minimum of 3-days is needed to settle in and experience Charleston. For instance, many people take 2 days exploring downtown and another day visiting sites outside of downtown such as the plantations, Angel Oak Tree or beaches. Checkout this page for a list of tours and attractions: 

Charleston’s Top Tours & Attractions | Things to do

Downtown Charleston was made for walking and for sure one of the best way to soak up and experience the history first-hand. This article goes over getting around Charleston with and without a car as well: 

Getting Around Charleston, SC

We’re of course partial to Charleston, but here’s the truth. There are many similarities however there are some differences in our opinion: 

  • Both cities are historic and beautiful. 
  • Both cities are extremely walkable. Savannah, with it’s park-like squares maybe more walkable than Charleston. 
  • Charleston has a more established and food scene with many more options. 
  • Charleston has better hotels and shopping.
  • Both cities have equally good tours.
  • Charleston has better beach options. Savannah has Tybee which is great, however it’s 1 beach vibe versus Charleston which has 3 beaches with different vibes. Checkout this Charleston beach guide article: https://travelerofcharleston.com/guide-charlestons-beaches/
  • In Savannah you can walk with alcoholic beverages on the street. This is not allowed in Charleston. This can be good or bad depending on your stance. 
  • Savannah is more affordable.
  • TourPass offers all-inclusive passes in both cities: https://tourpass.com

There are always great and world-class events happening in Charleston. For a calendar of events and things to do in Charleston, checkout our online calendar of events: https://travelerofcharleston.com/events/

Of course there are free money-saving coupons that you can use. Visit the coupons page for a bunch of ways to save: https://travelerofcharleston.com/coupon/

Charleston has some fantastic can’t miss tours such as Fort Sumter, carriage, ghost, harbor, historic and culinary tours. For a full list with more info visit: https://travelerofcharleston.com/attractions/

Checkout the Charleston Relocation Guide page which will guide you during your move: https://travelerofcharleston.com/charleston-sc-relocation-guide/

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