Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Gift Giving Guide

Posted November 26, 2007
Updated December 2, 2007

What’s number one on your holiday gift list this year? What do you really hope Santa Claus will leave under your tree this December?

The Carolina Conversations blogger with the most interesting gift idea will win a copy of the red hot CD “Holly Raleigh Christmas” featuring 14 tracks of holiday music including an orchestral piece I wrote called “Wintercolors.”

Here’s my list. I really want the new Karl Campbell book Senator Sam Ervin, Last of the Founding Fathers. Sam was "family" and one of my idols growing up in Morganton.

Two other books I'd really like to receive are Tilt 68 by Asheville native Sarah Colton and Cradles of Eminence by Victor Goertzel. Colton's book is about the radical changes of the late 60's from a Southern perspective. Goertzel's book profiles the childhoods of 700 famous men and women.

As a family gift I'd like to go with a portable GPS system. With four cars in the family and lots of traveling on the horizon I'm ready to take the plunge. Any suggestions on which unit to buy?

Other items on my list are subscriptions to two magazines - "Our State" and "Blue Ridge."
Plus, a basketball jersey from my alma mater would be nice along with an Appalachian State University sweatshirt as the Mountaineers push toward a third consecutive national championship.


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  • Travised Nov 30, 2007

    Bill, the Garmins are good units. We had a 396 (color) same functions as the 296 (greyscale). Those units had Hookups for the computer, can't remember if they were USB or Firewire, so you could make markings or install additional maps if you are going to say California. We used it in Car, Air, and boat!

    We sold the 396 and the toys with it. The beanbag for the dash was GREAT when driving, as was the speech option when you programmed in your destination. It would adjust route if you took a different turn.

    We purchased a different one used mostly for boats (greyscale) uses AA batts. Has the USB hookup, and purchased a CD of lake & topo maps (detailed, shows rings of depths) for landing on floats. The salesman said only a few states (rescue) have bought the maps for use in aircrafts or rescue opps.

    Myself, I'm not huge on asking. I skipped on the other years gift, didn't give them the list. So I am taking it up this year in an upgrade to replace old photo gear.

  • feistync Nov 30, 2007

    I'm hoping for a dslr! I think it would be so fun to take a photography class and become a better photographer. It'd be especially nice for my blog! (

  • dont-be-a-hater Nov 27, 2007

    The best gift that our family has given is making gift bags for the homeless that we see on the street around the holiday. We include gloves/mittens/socks and food that can easily be eaten out of the can or fruit cups- fruit drinks etc; snacks- it really warms the heart.

    I ask from my kids for them all to make me something- they are that is asking a lot- but they come up with some great things- one of my most treasured is a treausre box they made together covering it with pictures of them and I together with cut out words that they thought described me.
    Now they have their 2 yr old brother to include in the craft! I can't wait :)

  • wp Nov 27, 2007

    As far as in gifts that I would like, I've already asked my family to help me out with a vacation I'm taking right Christmas with money or a gas card.

    As far as giving gifts, I am making my Mom, sisters, and nieces/nephews some of their gifts. The main one item is a small accordion scrapbook album featuring pictures of my Dad who passed away two years ago. The pictures are of him working (painter/carpenter) and of doing this he enjoyed like fishing. I think they will enjoy looking at it and remembering him.

  • lornadoone Nov 27, 2007

    BrianShrader - going to the museum stores to shop is an excellent idea! I've been at a loss as to what I should get my parents and a few others who have "everything they want/need". Thank you for solving that puzzle for me :)

    My only real wish is for a gift certificate to an airline. I use this toward a trip I want to take, and I've asked for it the past few years. I try to take a trip somewhere "new" every 4 months or so (usually a little weekend getaway - nothing major), and with gas prices going UP, every little bit helps.

  • curiousgeorgia Nov 27, 2007

    What I really want for Christmas this year is for the drought to be completely broken and that we don't get another for many decades. I worry so for the beasties and the trees and plants.

  • Legswilson Nov 27, 2007

    Bill, I think you've done a superb job of dropping subtle hints to your family about what you'd like for Christmas!

    As for me, I don't know of much that I need. I enjoy the company of family and friends and the best part of the holidays is the eating, drinking and being merry! If only folks could be as kind as they are during the Christmas season all year round.

    Christmas Carol

  • allison842 Nov 27, 2007

    Oh, and gifts from a Southern Season are always yummy and popular too.

  • allison842 Nov 27, 2007

    What I really want are two tickets to see my Tar Heels play in the Dean Dome -- on the lower level. As a student, I got to sit down there in the rafters a few times, but mostly it was upper deck. I've checked some internet sites and the prices are outrageous! eBay may be the best bet, but it's still pretty tough.

    My sister wants several diffusers, so that's funny that you mentioned that. And we are taking my family to see the musical White Christmas at the BTI Center, or whatever it is called these days. Merry Christmas to all!

  • The Librarian Nov 27, 2007

    My husband recently bought the MIO DigiWalker. He loves it. In his job he has to travel from Cherokee to Camden, Warren to Robeson, so this is a great gadget for him. I agree with whomever said to make sure you get one that offers spoken directions.

    Good luck finding a Wii, Riverracer. I feeeel your frustration. I went out on Black Friday and found one for my son, but it was an adventure. (I posted the story here:

    As for me, I can't think of a thing I want other than having quiet time to read a book.




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Bill Leslie