It’s easy to say you want to make changes to your life in the new year, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to figure out how to make those changes. Think small at first — maybe try a new hairstyle — and then work up to bigger-picture makeovers like weight loss or cosmetic surgery.

 

We’ve got a sleigh full of the hottest presents this side of the North Pole. It might not all fit under the tree, so we recommend getting a bigger tree.

FOND MEMORIES OF TIME WELL SPENT OFTEN MAKE THE BEST GIFTS

The thing about giving a gift is that eventually that very thoughtful, one-of-a-kind, must-have item will one day become a thing. As in, “put it over there with the rest of my things.” Eventually, that thing will become stuff, as in “why do we have so much stuff?” And it’s only a matter of time before it ends its lifespan as clutter, as in, “I’m making a run to the dump to clear out some of this clutter.” 

 

MONTHLY CELEBRATES LOCAL BUSINESSES AND COMMUNITIES WITH THE 2018 READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS.

Are you looking for the best of the Lowcountry? You’ll find it here. These are the “best of the best” places to shop, dine, live, party and more, as voted by you, our readers. If you don’t find your favorites here, make sure to cast your ballot next year. Congratulations to this year’s winners, and special thanks to all who voted.

FEEL-GOOD GIFTS SUPPORT LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS 

This holiday season, look beyond the usual gifts of gadgets and gizmos in favor of something with a little more meaning.

‘Tis the season for the age-old question: What to give the person on your list who has everything? Here’s one idea: The great feeling that comes from supporting local nonprofit groups in the valuable work they do all year. 

BERKELEY HALL CHARITABLE FOUNDATION HELPS BLUFFTON KIDS

Many students who attend Neighborhood Outreach Connection’s after-school programs are behind in reading and math, but not because they and their parents don't care about education. Some of the children struggle in school because their English is limited, while others have parents who only speak Spanish and can’t help with homework. But a new grant from the Berkeley Hall Charitable Foundation will help the Bluffton locations of this Lowcountry nonprofit group better help these at-risk students. 

Dr. Joan Apple Lemoine of Hilton Head Island could be described as a one-woman think tank. She spent her entire career working as an educator at the local, state and national levels, working as the chief student affairs officer at three universities before moving to Port Royal in 2003 with her husband, John, to take the same position at the University of South Carolina Beaufort.

Like thousands of other people, Jim Ritterhoff fell in love with almost everything about Hilton Head Island when he first began visiting years ago — the island’s natural beauty, the unhurried way of life and the warmth of the local people he befriended. Being on a Sea Island whose residents cared about protecting the environment was a good fit for Ritterhoff, who leads an organization dedicated to saving one of the planet’s most precious natural resources: coral reefs.  

Billed as the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine, Florida, is rich in history and filled with old-world charm. Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, the city’s National Historic Landmark district features narrow cobblestone lanes, unique shops, innovative dining, museums and activities on every corner. Lace up your walking shoes and get ready to explore the hidden gems of this walkable city.