12/24/06 — Replacement gifts can have local appeal

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Replacement gifts can have local appeal

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on December 24, 2006 2:12 AM

If what you wanted for Christmas isn't under your tree Monday, you might be able to find a perfect replacement right here at home.

An elephant stapler, dancing Santa Claus, bamboo arrangement and a Goldsboro Christmas ornament are just a few of the items offered at some of the city's local merchants -- the perfect solution to that tired old sweater or tie.

Just ask Valerie Gleason. The Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. administrative assistant said each year, staff from her office design an ornament that depicts something special to the city and its residents.

And almost every year they sell out.

The 2006 design features historic trolley tours downtown and the Paramount Theater facade as a backdrop.

"It's one of our most favorite downtown buildings," Mrs. Gleason said. "When we did the design, we didn't even know (the City Council was going to approve reconstruction of the theater). The timing just worked out."

The Paramount is the star of another must-have gift, she added -- paintings created by local watercolorist Brenda Behr. In fact, several of her local landscapes are available for purchase at the DGDC office downtown.

And if you aren't looking for something that says, "Goldsboro," you might try dropping by Goldsboro Dollar and Gift to see proprietor Danny Chen. His dancing toys, misting fountains and bamboo pieces offer a departure from the ordinary.

For more traditional touch, try the Seabrook Collection on Spence Avenue.

In addition to a variety of bath items, jewelry and home decor choices, the store offers some items that come with an unexpected bonus.

Monkey tape dispensers, elephant staplers, cheetah wine glasses and other exotic animal-inspired gifts help preserve nature, too. Store owners Steve and Margie Clark said a portion of the proceeds from the sale of these items goes to African wildlife preservation.

And for those who are anxious to add the smell of the holidays without all the work, Coker Candles has just the thing -- candles that look and smell like cakes, pies and other baked goodies.

Brenda Coker learned the art of candle-making while doing research for her daughter, Lori Cerullo, who was making soaps and lotions at the time.

While her daughter was making soaps, Ms. Coker said she would use the same fragrances and colorings to make the candle cakes and pies.

So, if you don't feel like braving the crowds at the mall Tuesday, take a minute to take a tour around Goldsboro, but don't wait too long, the merchants say.

Special items and bargains don't last forever, Mrs. Gleason said.

"When they're gone, they're gone," she said.