November 2015

20 Lowcountry Gifts for $20 or Less

Author: Kent Thune

Are you starting to panic about your holiday shopping? Well you can stop your worries now, because we have plenty of gift ideas for you! Here are 20 Lowcountry gifts you can buy for $20 or less:

1.Salty Dog T-Shirt: The two biggest icons of Hilton Head Island are arguably the lighthouse at Harbour Town and the Salty Dog Café T-shirt. But only the latter can be bought and given as a gift! Short-sleeve and long-sleeve tees in various sizes, colors and themes range in price from $15 to $20. Buy them online at or at the Salty Dog Café T-Shirt Shop.

2. Hilton Head Island: Time and Tide: Get a copy of this book written and published by our own Island Writers Network. As the back cover of the book says, “Celebrate the joy of living in the Lowcountry with this most recent anthology from a talented local group of poets, writers, and photographers.” The book can be purchased on for $15. Copies can also be found at the Coastal Discovery Museum.

3. Gullah Fuh Oonuh (Gullah for You): A guide to the Gullah Language: This is an interesting and insightful book about the Gullah language, which was developed from the blending of the African tribal languages spoken by slaves and the various Creoles and languages spoken in the New World. The book provides translations of Gullah words and phrases that the author, Virginia Mixson Geraty, commonly heard around her grandmother’s house growing up on Yonge’s Island, South Carolina. Here’s a sample: “f’um dayclean tuh fus’ daak” is translated as “from sunup to sundown; the entire day.” The book is available on for up to $16.95 (plus shipping) and locally at the Coastal Discovery Museum Gift Shop for $19.95.

4. Birder’s Guide to Hilton Head Island: This book makes a good gift for nature lovers of all ages. As the title suggests, readers are given instruction on where to find the birds of Hilton Head Island and how to identify them. Copies of this paperback fifth edition are available at the Coastal Discovery Museum Gift Shop for $10.

5. The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes and Stories of My Life: For the foodies on your gift list, this cookbook combines the creativity and favorite dishes of the famous Lowcountry author, Pat Conroy. The stories about his development as a cook are entertaining enough that readers will enjoy the book, even if they don’t use any of the recipes. Paperbacks can be purchased online at for $16.95 or at local bookstores.

6. Your Mom’s Bloody Mary: Justin Johnston, a local bartender and budding entrepreneur, has created a premier Bloody Mary mix, designed around his idea, “add nothing, taste everything.” Ingredients such as rosemary, fennel, and horseradish provide layers of flavor that not only make an outstanding Bloody Mary drink but can also put a distinctive spin on favorite food dishes and marinades. You can purchase the mix online for $6.99 at or you can find it at Rollers Wine & Spirits and Piggly Wiggly.

7. Palmetto Farms Stone Ground Grits: You can’t say you’ve truly experienced southern living without eating shrimp and grits! A two-pound bag of stone ground grits from Palmetto Farms will only set you back $5.95 if you purchase it online at For convenience, and a slight mark-up in price, you can get these grits at the Coastal Discovery Museum Gift Shop at Honey Horn Plantation.

8. American Classic Tea: This tea is made at the Charleston Tea Plantation on historic Wadmalaw Island. With its sandy soils, warm climate and average rainfall of 52 inches per year, Wadmalaw possesses ideal conditions for tea production. Cans of tea are $9.95 online at, or you can often find it available at the Coastal Discovery Museum.

9. Lowcountry Produce Jellies, Preserves, Marmalades and Butters: Do you think anyone on your holiday gift list will like peach, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, or ginger pear preserves? For other flavorful gift ideas, consider garlic pepper jelly, mint jelly or sweet potato butter. 9-ounce jars of any of these range in price between $8 and $9. Buy online at Lowcountry Produce also has a Hilton Head Island store at The Shops at Sea Pines Center.

10. Lowcountry Produce Chutneys and Relishes: For more gift ideas at the same Lowcountry Produce locations and price ranges, you can also wake up someone’s taste buds with several kinds of chutneys, including peach, green tomato, pear and orange. Or you might consider green tomato, corn or pepper relish.

11. “We Island” Gumbo: Residents and visitors of the Lowcountry may have seen the founder of “We Island” Gumbo N’ Tings, Rowland Washington, happily serving samples of his gumbo at various street locations and events around Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and Beaufort. “We Island” is an old and endearing term for his home, Saint Helena Island, South Carolina, where Washington created his delicious gumbo. You can buy the gumbo for $16.95 at the Coastal Discovery Museum.

12. Honey Horn Honey: Produced by Hilton Head Honey on Hilton Head Island, this honey is 100% pure, raw, and chemical free. So it’s local honey that comes right from the bee! You can buy it for $12 at the Coastal Discovery Museum, or you can stop by 13 Marshland Road and buy it directly from master beekeeper Jeanne Thomas.

13. Baby Cakes: You may have already eaten one or more of these delicious miniature cakes at any of a dozen or so restaurants around Hilton Head Island. Baby Cakes come in two sizes: Big Bites (3.5 oz.) and Baby Bites (2 oz.). Available in a wide variety of flavors, customers can also request their own flavor. You can buy gift card, starting at $10, or you can special order them and have them shipped almost anywhere in the Southeast. For information about ordering, shipping or locations, visit

14. Benny Hudson Seafood: Friends don’t let friends buy imported shrimp! Buy fresh seafood caught here in the Lowcountry. A $20 gift card from a local seafood market like Benny Hudson Seafood will buy a delicious seafood meal for two to four people, and the money will go to support a local business.

15. Music by Cranford Hollow: For the music lover on your list, you can add a Lowcountry dimension to his or her collection with the latest CD, Spanish Moss and Smoke, from local music favorites Cranford Hollow. You can buy the CD, plus MP3 downloads, for $7 on their website at

16. Flowers: Giving something alive and colorful like flowers never goes out of style. However, if you want to stay within a $20 budget, your best bet for a seasonal arrangement in that price range is going to be at a local grocery store.

17. Shell Crafts: Who doesn’t like to receive handcrafted gifts made by people they love? Collect shells around the beaches of the Lowcountry and create whatever comes to mind. If you’re short on ideas, do a web search for “shell craft ideas” or check websites such as Pinterest, or The cost of supplies will likely range from zero to $10.

18. Tip Your Waiters, Waitresses & Bartenders: The holiday season is a great time to remember our friends who work hard to make our wining and dining experiences outstanding. An extra $10 or $15 or $20 added on to your usual tip is always much appreciated (and often needed) by our awesome food and beverage family in the Lowcountry.

19. Give to the Animals: Twenty dollars can go a long way to help the people who help the animals of the Lowcountry. And what better way to avoid the materiality of the holiday season and start a new tradition of donating to a charity in an animal lover’s name? Donations can be made quickly and easily to Hilton Head Humane at, or you can visit them personally at 10 Humane Way, Hilton Head Island.

20. A Handwritten Letter: Who writes letters anymore? If you do, consider yourself wonderfully abnormal. In a world of e-mails, texts, and social media messages, putting your feelings into words with pen and paper can be the best possible gift to someone you love. The cost? Forty-nine cents for a stamp. The value? Priceless. 

Kent Thune is a money manager and the owner of a Hilton Head Island investment advisory firm, Atlantic Capital Investments. He is also a freelance writer and is currently working on a book to be published in 2016. You can follow his musings on mind, money and mastery of life at or follow on Twitter @ThinkersQuill.

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