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Unique Holiday Gift Ideas and Fun Things in Knoxville

Festive wreaths and sparkling lights have been hung in downtown Knoxville, marking the start of the holiday season in East Tennessee. Nearly all that stands between Knoxvillians and Black Friday, the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season, is a big turkey dinner and a good night's sleep. Then the countdown of shopping days until Christmas begins.

Whether you're searching for the perfect gift for that person who has everything or trying to make sure the busy holidays don't fly by without spending time with your loved ones, Knoxville has plenty to offer.

Unique gift ideas for the person who has everything

There may be a friend or family member on your shopping list who doesn't have any special wants or needs. For those who would rather that you pay it forward by giving back, here are some neat gift ideas.

• Make a donation in your loved one's name to Catholic Charities and help the needy in East Tennessee during the holidays. Catholic Charities serves 27,000 people each year, only 4 percent of which are Catholic, and focuses on meeting unmet needs in the community. Contact Freddi Birdwell at 865-684-1881 for more information.

• Blood donation is a gift almost anyone can give. And MEDIC's Individual Coverage Plan, which exempts the donor and their IRS dependents from paying blood supplier processing fees anywhere in the country, allows you to extend that gift. Make a donation in honor of another person and that coverage is transferred to them, which can result in substantial savings if a transfusion is needed. Give the gift that saves a life. For more information, contact 865-524-3074 or

• Honor the animal lover in your life by giving a "Furry Friend" sponsorship in his or her name at Young-Williams Animal Center. You can sponsor an adult animal by pre-paying its adoption fee, allowing a family to adopt the pet at no charge. Your gift can help a wonderful pet find its new forever home. Contact 865-215-6599 or

• In addition, you can make a donation in your loved one's name to the PetSafe Ethos Fund, which supports animal welfare groups in their care of homeless pets and rehabilitation of pets with behavioral issues. For a minimum $25 donation, you'll receive a PetSafe "Happy Dog" T-shirt that your gift recipient can wear proudly to show off his or her support of animals in need. To learn more, check out

Gift ideas for every member of the family

Whether they're a technology geek, a music lover or a theater enthusiast, we've got you covered.

• For the bookworm on your shopping list, stop in at Union Ave Books. This holiday season receive a free Union Ave Books book bag with purchases over $100, and if you buy a $50 or $100 gift card, receive an extra $5 or $10 card respectively. Free parking in the Locust Street and Market Square garages is available with any purchase. Plus, free delivery is available for downtown customers with a purchase over $20 and Knoxville metro area customers with a purchase over $50. Learn more at

• If you're shopping for a gadget guru, check out U.S. Cellular's Motorola ELECTRIFY. This Android-powered smartphone is packed with multi-media features and makes a great gift for tech lovers. Stream HD movies, multi-task with seven home screens and take pictures with dual LED flash cameras. This high-performance smartphone is available in U.S. Cellular stores or online. Visit your local U.S. Cellular store or

• For the foodie in your family, give them a unique quality dining experience they'll enjoy. Purchase a gift card at the pan-Asian restaurant Wok Hay, and your loved one can experience cuisine from across the Asian continent without leaving the city limits. Visit for location and menu information.

• Let the theatre buff you love dream the dream this holiday season. The 25th anniversary production of Les Misérables is coming to the Tennessee Theatre this January. With glorious staging and dazzling re-imagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, Les Misérables is the biggest Broadway production to play the Tennessee Theatre. Give an unforgettable experience this holiday season with tickets to Les Misérables at the Tennessee Theatre. Call the box office at 865-684-1200 or visit for tickets sales.

• When attending holiday parties, take care of your host or hostess and bring them a bit of extra holiday cheer. Cherokee Distributing Company recommends Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale, a malty brew topped with spices that vary yearly so it's always unique, and Shiner Cheer, a festive seasonal with jolly holiday packaging that doesn't require gift wrap. Check out the On Tap blog at for more beer tips and advice.

• If you've got a music aficionado on your shopping list, give a gift this holiday season that will last all year long with a ticket subscription to the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. Enjoy world-class musicians led by Maestro Lucas Richman performing works by legendary composers throughout the year. Visit or call 865-291-3310 for more information.

• For the pet lover on your list or the furry members of your own family, give a gift that will help keep cats and dogs healthy and hydrated. Developed by a veterinarian, the PetSafe Drinkwell Multi-Tier Pet Fountain ensures pets have an ample supply of fresh, filtered water. And, don't forget to stuff pets' stockings with the PetSafe Lickety Stik, an innovative liquid pet treat in a pocket-friendly, compact size. It's an all-natural healthy treat with just one calorie in every 10 licks. To learn more, visit

• For health and beauty mavens, give the gift of lasting beauty with a gift certificate for sclerotherapy from Premier Vein Clinics. Sclerotherapy is a lasting, non-surgical procedure that makes spider veins fade away. Contact 865-588-8838 or visit

• For the business traveler, student or road trip enthusiast in your life, why not give them a Pilot gas card this holiday season? Not only a useful gift but one that your loved one will appreciate and certainly use as they're redeemable for fuel, merchandise and coffee. Next time you stop by your neighborhood Pilot for coffee, pick up a gas card for your loved one. Check out for location information.

Holiday fun for the whole family

While you're busy shopping, decorating and planning, don't let the holidays pass you by without spending time with loved ones. Enjoy these Knoxville holiday activities and soak in the joy of the season.

• Enjoy the sights and sounds of Market Square as you join family and friends for a holiday tradition – ice skating! Every day from Nov. 25 through Jan. 8, Knoxville's Holidays on Ice offers affordable family fun for all ages. Admission prices include entry fee, skate rental and unlimited time on the ice. For more information, call 865-215-4423 or visit

• Celebrate the Christmas season in the grandeur of the Tennessee Theatre as Home Federal Bank presents "It's a Wonderful Life" on Sunday, Dec. 4, with showings at 1 and 5 p.m. The movie is free and no ticket is required. For more information, visit

• Don't leave the furry family members out of the holiday fun! Take your pets to have their photos taken with "Santa Paws" at Young-Williams Animal Village at 6400 Kingston Pike on Dec. 3 and 4 from 1-4 p.m. Photo packages and holiday gifts are available for purchase, and all proceeds benefit Young-Williams Animal Center. Check out for more information.

• It's fun for the whole family at the 25th Annual Clayton Holiday Concert, featuring four performances Dec. 16-18. East Tennessee's favorite holiday tradition continues as Maestro Lucas Richman leads the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Knoxville Choral Society, Sound Company Children's Choir, Go! Contemporary Dance Works and special guests Hallerin Hilton Hill and Logan Murrell in your favorite songs and carols. And, Santa will make an appearance! For ticket information, call 865-291-3310 or visit

Published November 23, 2011

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