If you’re here in one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals during this last week heading into Christmas, you may still have a little shopping or gift-making to do.

Ever year that goes by, there seem to be more and more notifications, messages and breathless emails about online Flash Sales, Cyber This and Black That, and oh yes – this is the last possible day to order in time for Christmas with extra prime expedited shipping!  Whew.

Yes, this is the time of the year when shopping tends to be on the brain.

Good last-minute shopping near our Isle of Palms luxury rentals …

If you are coming to one of our rental homes South Carolina, be it one of our Isle of Palms vacation rentals or a Folly Beach house Charleston, you probably know that among Charleston’s many charms, it’s a terrific shopping destination.  Spend an afternoon strolling King Street downtown and you’ll see just what I mean.  It has been named one of the top ten shopping streets in America.

You don’t have to go downtown to do your holiday shopping, however.  In Mount Pleasant, just over the IOP Connector from all our Isle of Palms luxury rentals is Towne Centre, a nice outdoor mall anchored by Belk’s very large, recently remodeled and expanded flagship store.  It’s literally minutes from your luxury house on Isle of Palms.

This will do the trick if you’ve missed the online deadlines for Christmas delivery.  Here is a full directory of the shops in Towne Centre:  http://www.mtpleasanttownecentre.com/directory/

A little bit further toward the peninsula, the former Kmart in Mount Pleasant, where I-526 meets Highway 17, has been transformed into a new more upscale shopping area called “Bowman Place.”  New tenants are being added all the time, but the anchor stores are Nordstrom Rack, DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, J. Crew Mercantile, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Kitchen & Company.

FYI, K&C is a 19,000 square foot gourmet kitchen store complete with free weekly cooking demos as well as craft beer and wine sales.  This is the chain’s very first location in the state of South Carolina.  In this one strip, you can shop for gals, guys, kids, foodies, home chefs, sport nuts, weekend warriors all in one shopping stop.

Great gift ideas abound near our Isle of Palms luxury rentals

Great gift ideas abound near our Isle of Palms luxury rentals

But back to your current Christmas list… there are some people who really have just about everything they need, and yet you still would like to give them a gift.

Well, everybody’s gotta eat, and giving something homemade shows how much you care.

Or try some homemade edible treats you can make in one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals …

Homemade goodies are a holiday standby, and they really come in handy when unexpected company drops by.  Give them some of your grandma’s great cookies, or those things your Aunt Edna would only make for the holidays.  And there’s always fruitcake (or not).   Pick your favorite recipe and make multiple batches to have on hand just in case.  My holiday standby is an Almond Danish Pastry that is made with marzipan, and the smell of it instantly transports me to my childhood.

Taking this idea a step further, a while back I saw an article with a neat gift idea   —  recipe starters that come in Mason jars, along with the recipe attached.  This way you start them off on a great dish  —  but they can keep it in their pantry to make later, whenever the mood strikes, after all the holiday treats are gone and they’ve craving something special.

In Isle of Palms luxury rentals? Get creative with Mason jars

In Isle of Palms luxury rentals? Get creative with Mason jars

Mason jars have a nice retro, old school vibe, and you can dress up the jar with fabric tops, special tags, labels, measuring spoons, a nice mixing spoon or ladle attached.  Michaels in Mount Pleasant (in Wando Crossing near WalMart) is a great place for some of this, along with the recently referenced Kitchen & Company.

The classic example is a cookie recipe.  Pick your favorite one, then layer all the dry ingredients like “strata” in a quart-sized Mason jar.  Write the recipe with what wet/fresh ingredients they will need to add (eggs, butter, vanilla, etc.) along with cooking directions, and attach it to the jar with a ribbon, some twine or bit of raffia.

This might be a fun project to tackle while staying in one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals.  It’s a great way to get the kids involved.  Make a little assembly line and crank out the Christmas gifts on the kitchen counter of your Charleston beach house.

For your healthy friends, here’s a link to a good (yes, really) vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe you can put in a Mason jar, or just bake straight away:  http://craftingagreenworld.com/2008/11/26/handmade-holidays-vegan-cookie-mix/

Some other edible options while in one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals… 

Considering that it’s winter (though it doesn’t always feel like it at our beach house rentals Charleston SC), a couple other ideas seem especially well-suited to a Mason jar Christmas present.

Number one is SOUP.

Soup is good, whether at home or in one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals

Soup is good, whether at home or in one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals

Here’s a good recipe for a Curried Lentil Soup, from care2.  It looks particularly festive, what with the combination of red and green lentils layered in the jar:

Get a pint-sized Mason jar, and layer in the following dry ingredients:

  • ½ cup green lentils
  • Custom spice mixture  (for each jar, mix up ½ t turmeric, ¾ t ground cardamom, ¼ tcinnamon, ¼ t cloves, ¼ t fresh black pepper, and 1/8t ground nutmeg  —  or a curry blend of your choice)
  • 1 c jasmine or basmati rice
  • enough red lentils to fill the jar the rest of the way

Then, attach a card to the jar listing the following fresh/wet ingredients and cooking directions:

You will also need:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 c water
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Salt, to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onions for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook for a total of about 10 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the water and soup mix to the pot and bring to a simmer. Turn down low, and cook until the lentils and rice are cooked and very soft (approximately 45 minutes).

Stir in the coconut milk.  Bring back to a simmer, adding salt to taste, and serve hot.  Bon appétit!

Make some great hot cocoa while in one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals

Make some great hot cocoa while in one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals

Another good holiday Mason jar gift idea is hot cocoa mix.  Here’s a link to a terrific recipe for Vanilla Hot Chocolate Mix, along with instructions to write on the card:



Come to think of it, those last two gifts would be great things to bring along on your visit to one of our luxury beach house rentals SC.  Nothing like coming back to a fragrant pot of soup cooking on the stove after a long walk on the beach.  Or, whipping up a cup of hot cocoa.  The weather varies a lot these days, but at the moment, the temps near our Isle of Palms luxury rentals feels perfect for either soup or cocoa.

The friendly folks at Health Ambition recently posted an interesting, well researched piece about something I knew absolutely nothing about.   It touts the many very positive health benefits of onion juice.   Who knew?   I just may try it next time I fire up the juicer.  They also suggest some other ways to get the benefits other than drinking it, like adding it to salad dressing (yum) or soups.  It also links to many recipes for onion soup, which is such a classic I love it in any kind of weather.  To read all about it, go to:  https://www.healthambition.com/health-benefits-onion-juice/

So good luck with the last minute holiday shopping, or maybe even homemade present-making.  And as always, remember to call EP when you are looking for SC vacation rentals, namely beach rentals Charleston.  Our Isle of Palms luxury rentals are the best, and a perfect place to spend the holidays.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger