Celebrate the season in WNC

A WINTER WONDERLAND OF GIFTS — Give gifts that celebrate the great experiences in our own backyard. 

Sitting at home, snowbound for the past four days has given me a new perspective on Christmas giving. It’s even changed my mind about one decorative item that I always thought was overdone around our house — candles.

My very own Christmas Carol is a candle-holic, and this is her season. But throughout our Winter Storm Diego experience, I am grateful we had candles everywhere.

So, I will now admit that  candles make great gifts — along with batteries, flashlights and ice melt.

Scented candles enhance the home experience — be-it in the bedroom, dinner table or guest bathroom. And I’m all about experiences — they make great Christmas gifts.

This year for Christmas, Carol and I gifted ourselves tickets to the touring company performance of the Broadway musical, “Hamilton.” It was a memorable experience, and let the record show — I did something educational.

To the Viaus, memorable experiences are lasting gifts that ‘stay in our hearts’ — enhancing our shared life experiences. With that thought in mind, here are some experiential gift opportunities available in this treasured place we call WNC.

Staying with the Snowmageddon theme, things that got us through the storm included comfort-food casseroles from Kanini’s restaurant and take-out in Waynesville. Visit www.kaninis.com.

Carol stocked up ahead of the storm. So don’t forget gift certificates for food items that just might save the day, someday — including Kanini’s, Sunburst Market, Sentelle’s Seafood Market, Ingles Markets, etc. Just remember to, ”Keep it Local.”

Here’s another idea for you — Why not expand everyone’s concept of “local,” by gifting friends and family some unexpected local experiences.

Waynesville’s Leap Frog Tours specializes in taking people on adventures throughout Western North Carolina — from shuttles for Asheville Tourists “Thirsty Thursday” games to a variety of craft beer, distillery, ghost, history and elk sighting tours. Leap Frog has a great experience for everybody on your list. Check it out on www.leapfrogtours.com.

Another gift idea is an evening of fun and creativity with acclaimed Waynesville master artist, Jo Ridge Kelley. Her “Paint and Sip” evenings at Bosu’s Wine Shop and other local venues are the talk of the town, inspiring artists and wine lovers alike. Visit www.joridgekelley.com.

Finally, tickets are on sale for Lake Logan’s third annual Cold Mountain Music Festival, Friday, May 31 - Saturday, June 1, 2019. It promises to be a great mix of musical talent with a backdrop of pure WNC Mother Nature. For information, visit www.lakelogan.org.

Paul Viau is an award-winning creative director, with a 30-year career in advertising and marketing. Originally from Denver, Colorado, he met his wife, Carol, when they worked for rival advertising agencies in Miami, Florida. They became permanent residents of Haywood County in 2008 and reside in Waynesville. 

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