Holiday Time

Only in the South: Celebrate the Arrival of 2020 with Unique New Year's Eve Drops (December 2019)

Log on to Cyber Monday Deals (December 2019)

Southern Hospitality Traveler's Favorite Things About October (October 2019)

Honor the Red, White and Blue in the South with Independence Day Celebrations (July 2019)

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler! Celebrating Mardi Gras 2019 (February 2019)

Pickle, Pelican or Peach: The Many Unique Ways the South Welcomes in the New Year (December 2018)

Get Into the Holiday Spirit with the 29th Annual Smoky Mountain Winterfest (November 2018)

17 Celebrations Honoring the Red, White and Blue (June 2018)

Celebrate Mom this Mother's Day with Getaways and Experiences (May 2018)

"Throw me Somethin' Mister!" Celebrating Mardi Gras 2018 (January 2018)

Beach Ball, Fleur-De-Lis, MoonPie: Unique New Year's Eve Drops in the South (December 2017)

25 Festive Events to Keep that Holiday Feeling Through the New Year (December 2017)

Awe-Inspiring Gingerbread Displays at Various Hotels and Resorts Around the South (December 2017)

Fun and Fireworks: 14 Events Celebrating Independence Day (June 2017)

Celebrate 2017 Mardi Gras in the South (February 2017)

Three Festive Ways to Avoid Going Stir Crazy Before the Holidays (December 2016)

30 Ways to Get Your "Jingle" On in the South (December 2016)

Five Ways to Experience the Holidays "Louisiana-Style" (December 2016)

"Brighten Up" Your Holidays with These Holiday Light Displays (November 2016)

Red, White, Blue and You: Fourth of July Celebrations in the South (July 2016)

Drops, Celebrations and More: Memorable Ways to Welcome in 2016 (December 2015)

Spark Your Holiday Spirit with the Many Events Happening Around the South (December 2015)

Six Places to Celebrate the Holiday Season (December 2015)

So Many Ways to Kick Off the Holiday Season in the South (November 2015)

14 Dazzling Holiday Light Displays Throughout the South to Enjoy Now (November 2015)

Celebrate the Holidays in Minden and North Louisiana with the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights (November 2015)

New Twist on an Old Favorite: Amping Up the Grilled Cheese (April 2015)

Celebrate National Soup Month Anytime with Recipes from Benchmark Resorts & Hotels (January 2015)

Move Over Ball Drop - This is How the South Welcomes in the New Year (December 2014)

Ways to Get Your Holiday On in the South (December 2014)

Liven Up Your Thanksgiving Meal with Some Myrtle Beach, S.C.-Style Comfort Foods (November 2014)

Warm Up the Days and the Nights with These Chili Recipes (October 2014)

Creating the Perfect Cheeseburger with Crawford Ker on National Cheeseburger Day (September 2014)

Celebrate National Martini Day with these Recipes (June 2014)

It's Great to be King...Celebrating Mardi Season with King Cake Creations (February 2014)

Celebrate Your Valentine with a Getaway (February 2014)

A MoonPie, Pickle, Red Stick and More...Welcoming in the New Year in the South (December 2013)

Celebrate the Holidays with a New Orleans' Reveillon Dinner (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide...Packages and Escapes (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Books (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Food and Beverage (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Made in the South (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Experiences in the South (December 2013)

End Your Holiday Meal on a Sweet Note courtesy of Chef Sara Thomas (November 2013)

From Their Table to Yours: Holiday Recipes from The Carolina Inn (November 2013)

Firing Up the Grill: Tips and Recipes for a Successful and Tasty Grilling Season (May 2013)

Breakfast for Mom, Southern-Style (May 2013)

Mom-Worthy Hotels in the South (May 2013)

Talkin' Mardi Gras, Shreveport, La. Style (February 2013)

Southern Style: 13 Things You Must Do in 2013 (January 2013)

Holiday Joy: Tips for Creating the Perfect Gingerbread House (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Secret is in the Sauce at Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Make It Memorable and Give the Gift of an Experience (December 2012)

8 Reasons to Visit Louisiana’s Holiday Trail of Lights this Season (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Chef's Table at Emeril's Delmonico (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Simply Ballastone Cookbook (November 2012)

Treat Your Mom to One of These Eight Southern Destinations (May 2012)

Seeing Various Shades of Green: St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in the South (March 2012)

It’s Mardi Gras Time in the South (February 2012)

Celebrate Elvis Presley’s Birthday in the South (January 2012)

A MoonPie, a Pickle, a Horseshoe and More: Ringing in the New Year Southern-Style (December 2011)

Celebrate the Holidays New Orleans-Style with a Reveillon Dinner (December 2011)

"Treat" Yourself this Holiday Season with (November 2011)

Holiday Fun in the South After Thanksgiving (November 2011)

Holiday Fun at Gaylord Opryland (November 2011)

Tours and Treats Along Virginia’s Inn to Inn Cookie Trail and Tour (November 2011)

Celebrating Milestones in the South (August 2010)

5 Activities that Add a "Sizzle" to Your Summer Vacation (June 2010)

Forget Gifts, Give Experiences This Mother’s Day (April 2010)

Celebrating Mardi Gras 2010 (February 2010)

Published: December 2012
Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Make It Memorable and Give the Gift of an Experience  

Perhaps you have someone on your list that is hard to buy for or has done everything; or may be you are looking for a special gift that’s more than an gift, but an experience they’ll always remember.

Here are a few options that'll make any gift recipient smile.

- For the thrill-seeker on your holiday list (or if you need to give a hint to someone about the perfect present for you), consider a gift certificate from Historic Banning Mills Adventure Park in Whitesburg, Ga. Home of the world’s largest continuous zip line and eco-canopy adventure tours, and well as the world’s tallest free-standing climbing wall, they offer adventures for all ages.  The Level 1 adventure tour is great for novice adventurists who weigh 50 lbs or more. Levels 2-4 are for weights of 90 and above, and the difficulty increases with the levels. For extremists, Banning Mills offers an all-day rush where guests can enjoy each level of the tour for an all day thrill ride. Prices vary.

- Animal lovers will enjoy Audubon Aquarium of the Americas’ new experience,Backstage Penguin Pass. The New Orleans-based aquarium offers the opportunity to go behind the scenes for an up-close encounter with an endangered African penguin. Along with member of the Aquarium’s husbandry, they’ll be able to meet with a penguin up close, learn more about them, visit the Aquarium Prep Kitchen where food is prepared for the penguins and many of the Aquarium’s animals, and receive a penguin painting created during the experience along with a photo to capture the unforgettable moment. Backstage Penguin Pass is $125.

- Give the gift of learning how to cook- Italian style to your favorite foodie/gourmand with Tour d’Italia at Ariccia Trattoria & Bar. Led by Chef Garry Anderson, classes focus on traditional Italian dishes from various regions in Italy. Participants receive hands-on instruction on preparing various pastas, sauces and entrees.  Throughout the class, they will be able to sample their creations in different courses, paired with select wines. At the end of the evening, everyone receives a take-away basket containing fresh pasta, basil pesto (made with basil from the Ariccia herb garden), Ariccia’s traditional tomato sauce, a small block of cheese from the featured region, and a signature Ariccia apron.  The classes take place on the first Wednesday of every month and cost $100 per person. To reserve, visit the website or call 334-321-3179.

For those who’ve nearly done everything, give the experience of a Moonshine Distilling Class at Dark Corner Distillery in Greenville, S.C. Led by Richard Wenger, the creator and co-founder of Dark Corner Distillery, the seven-hour experience is a hands-on training course. Spirit lovers will learn grain science, fermentation, filtration, distillation, proofing, bottling and aging. Lunch and plenty of samples are provided. Upon graduation, participants receive an official Dark Corner Distillery certificate of completion, a bottle of unaged corn whiskey (moonshine) and a Dark Corner Distillery t-shirt. Classes are $195.

- A perfect gift for either outdoor lovers or water sports enthusiasts is stand-up paddle boarding, or YOLO boarding as it’s called in South Walton (Florida). Learn to paddle on one of 15 rare coastal dune lakes, a favorite activity of South Walton locals and visitors.  Companies such as 30A Paddle Supply, YOLO Board and South Walton Outfitters rent YOLO boards and provide lessons for all skill levels. Prices vary.

photos: (top right) courtesy of Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, (bottom left) Dark Corner Distillery