Holiday Guide to Gifts that Give Back – Supporting Historic Preservation in Charleston, SC

Finding the perfect holiday gift for everybody on your list can be a challenge.  To help with this endeavor, I complied this holiday gift guide – best of all, these gifts support the preservation and research work being done by three of my favorite organizations here in Charleston, SC: Drayton Hall, The Charleston Museum and Historic Charleston Foundation

My goal was to include items that are unique to the organizations offering them, but I did make a few exceptions for some of my favorite books and a great gift for furry family members.  These gifts are available online through the organizations’ websites (links provided in most instances to the exact item) and I have detailed special offers and member discounts below.  All proceeds go directly to each organization and since they are all non-profits, purchases are tax-free.  From building your own Palladian dream house to hostess gifts under $20, there is something for everybody and all for a great cause! 

Special Events and Membership Discounts

Drayton Hall – Holiday Sip and Shop on Sunday, December 2, 12-4 pm.  Vendors will be on hand with samples of their products along with holiday music and a calligrapher penning place cards and gift tags.  Members receive a 10% discount at the Shop and Café year-round. 

The Charleston Museum – Now through December 9, members receive 30% off merchandise and 25% off publications at the gift shops at the Museum and the Heyward-Washington House. Throughout the year, members receive a 10%-20% discount depending on membership level. 

Historic Charleston Foundation – Memberships at the $150 level and above receive a 20% discount on purchases. 

Great Gifts Under $20

Whether you need a hostess gift or a stocking stuffer, these are bound to please.  You might want to pick up some extras to have on hand – or keep for yourself! 

Floral Notecards by Jane Pelland

Charleston artist Jane Pelland’s flowers have such a dreamy quality to them.  Pick up a set for yourself as well as somebody on your list – they are perfect for jotting post-holiday thank you notes.  Three styles are available online with more in the store including enclosure cards.  $17 for a set of 10 notecards with envelopes at Historic Charleston Foundation

Drayton Hall Bottle Stoppers

Some of the best bottle stoppers that I have ever seen feature Drayton Hall and the 19th century ceiling medallion from the Great Hall.  Perfect for those leftover bottles of wine – or so I hear since that never seems to happen at the Chancognie House….  $9 each at Drayton Hall

Charleston Ironwork Coasters

Save your furniture from glass ring marks in style!  These coasters feature four different images of Charleston ironwork gates from local artist George Roberts.  $15 for a set of 6 coasters at Historic Charleston Foundation

Color Charleston Tea Towel, Mug and Coloring Book

Designed by the incredibly talented architect and graphic designer Mary Mac Wilson as part of her Color line, her mugs and coloring books feature beautiful drawings of iconic buildings in Charleston.  Exclusive to The Charleston Museum are her Joseph Manigault and Heyward-Washington tea towels which might just inspire you to volunteer to wash all those holiday dishes.  Tea Towels, $15; Mug $12; Coloring book, $14 at The Charleston Museum

Books You Will Want for Your Own Library

Photographed in the galleries of The Charleston Museum. 

Stolen Charleston: The Spoils of War by J. Grahame Long

Chief Curator of The Charleston Museum, Grahame Long, will keep you captivated with tales of what was lost from Charleston during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.  It certainly gave me a greater appreciation of what has survived. $19.95 at The Charleston Museum and Historic Charleston Foundation

Photographed in the galleries of The Charleston Museum

Charleston: An Archaeology of Life in a Coastal Community by Martha A. Zierden and Elizabeth J. Reitz

Curator of Historical Archaeology at The Charleston Museum, Martha Zierden has co-authored a fascinating look into the archaeological record of the city.  Whether you have a degree in archaeology or not, Martha’s book will make you think anew about the history lying beneath your feet the next time you walk down a street in Charleston.  $34.95 at The Charleston Museum and Historic Charleston Foundation

Photographed in the galleries of The Charleston Museum. 

A Gallant Defense: The Siege of Charleston 1780 by Carl P. Borick

Charleston Museum Director Carl P. Borick has penned an in-depth study of the 1780 British siege of Charleston.  His book sheds new light on a critical event during the Revolutionary War that has been overlooked to a great extent.  After you read the book, be sure to sign up for one of Carl’s walking tours of the siege lines, usually offered in the spring and fall.  $21.95 at The Charleston Museum

Photographed in the upstairs parlor of the Chancognie House. 

The Preservation of Charleston

With stunning photography by N. Jane Iseley and insightful text from Charleston archivist Harlan Greene and writer William Baldwin, this book features some of Charleston’s best-preserved private homes as well as plantations such as Drayton Hall.  It is an honor to have the Chancognie House featured in this beautiful book!  $75 at Drayton Hall and Historic Charleston Foundation

For Furry Family Members

These blankets get two paws up from Cape, Drayton Hall’s favorite pup (you can follow his adventures on DH’s Instagram and Facebook).   Made in Charleston, SC from American-made materials, for every five blankets sold, one is donated to a pet shelter or rescue.  Assorted color combinations – $39 for a 30” x 40” blanket, $59 for a $48 x 60” blanket at Drayton Hall

More Great Gifts

Build Your Own Palladian Dream House

You too can build that architectural masterpiece you have always wanted and all it takes is a sharp pair of scissors and some glue!  If the model of the original design of the house with flankers (image at top) will take up more space than you can spare, the later version without flankers, pictured here, is also available.  $21 at Drayton Hall.  

Charleston Sweetgrass Scarf

This lovely silk chiffon scarf features a design by Charleston artist George Roberts that was inspired by the sweetgrass baskets that have been crafted by artisans in and around the Lowcountry for centuries.  $140 at Historic Charleston Foundation.

Wooden Book Ends

These wooden book ends are a great way to incorporate a little historic detail in your home.  Featuring the beautiful design of the hand-carved staircase brackets at Drayton Hall, they are the perfect addition to any library or bookcase.  Sold individually.  $32 each at Drayton Hall.  Also available painted white – $34 at Drayton Hall

Ironwork Gate Placemats

The perfect accompaniment to the set of six coasters listed above, these placemats feature ironwork gate images by Charleston artist George Roberts.  $40 for 4 placemats at Historic Charleston Foundation

Handblown Glass Ornaments

These beautiful hand-blown ornaments come in two different shapes and each one is unique.  Crafted by One Eared Cow Glass in Columbia, SC, the color was inspired by the interior paint at Drayton Hall.  $35 each at Drayton Hall

Happy holidays and happy shopping!


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