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The gift that keeps on giving

giftedWITH THE PANDEMIC PUTTING US IN A NEW LOCAL FRAME OF MIND, THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO BROWSE GIFTED HILTON HEAD’S AWARD-WINNING SELECTION.

It goes without saying that this has been an unusual year. In a year where so much has changed, and uncertainty still looms large, it’s nice to be able to count on some things never changing.

The sun will rise tomorrow. The tide will ebb and flow in the same rhythm it has for ages. And as long as there is a “Favorite Gift Store” category in the Readers’ Choice Awards, the win will probably go to Gifted Hilton Head.

And while the Village at Wexford shop has won the award every year since its inception (10 straight this year), the thrill is the same this year as it was the first.

“We don’t ever take for granted how grateful and humbled we are to win,” said Meredith Taylor, owner at Gifted Hilton Head. “We love our customers for showing their support, especially this year with everything going on.”

And while this year has presented its challenges, it has instilled in each of us a renewed appreciation for the small businesses that make up our community.

Supporting small businesses and buying American is more important than ever,” said Taylor. “We’re proud of the huge number of local products we carry, and how much of our stock consists of items made right here in the USA.”

Taylor has worked tirelessly to bring her customers the best from around the country, heading as far north as the frigid tundra of Minnesota for Thymes’ exquisite Frasier Fir-scented candles. Much of her jewelry comes from Rhode Island, a state that has become famous for hand-made jewelry, including Dune jewelry made with Hilton Head Island sand and John Medeiros sparkling creations.

“They’re still making these pieces one at a time,” said Taylor. “It’s classic jewelry that’s easy to wear.”

You’ll find the South particularly well-represented among the many shelves at Gifted, whether it’s the Mississippi-crafted McCarter Coasters (including the wine bottle coaster co-developed by Taylor), the Texas-made Consuela handbags or the gorgeous Lifetime Candles made in Arkansas. Closer to home, you’ll find Charleston companies like Grit and Grace well represented with their stunning gilded oyster shell dishes. Another Charleston company, MacBailey Candles, even incorporates tabby into its designs.

“We’re always trying to find the best that the region and the country has to offer in terms of quality,” said Taylor. “We firmly believe in buying as much American-made or locally made as we possibly can and offering it at the best possible prices.”

That even goes for our area crafters, with several Lowcountry-based businesses contributing to the local flavor at Gifted. You can deck your halls with ornaments from Flip-Flop Pottery, made with real Hilton Head sand, or stuff your stockings with jewelry from J. Mills, towels from Lowcountry Linens or beer-scented soaps from Beaufort’s Bootlegger Soap Co. When it comes time to send out thank you cards, you can keep it local with Sweet Pea Designs stationery, designed in Sea Pines and sold at Gifted.

Then there are the always-popular novels from author Kathryn Wall or a gift item boasting designs from artist Carla Marshall.

“We love their work,” Taylor said. “They both have a huge following.”

Ultimately, that’s part of the winning formula at Gifted Hilton Head, something that we may have taken for granted in years past. When you buy that perfect present and have it wrapped (for free, naturally) in that signature Gifted Hilton Head style, you’re not just supporting one local business — you’re supporting local businesses all over the country, the region and the island.

It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.