Start Christmas at Home-Shop Local

Between all the news media warning that shipping, trucking, and factory slowdowns all point to difficulty in having gifts purchased for Christmas giving arriving in time, coupled with the hard news that many museums, historical societies, and other educational and recreational non-profits have been severely hurt by the Covid restrictions, it’s time to rethink Christmas and holiday giving and concentrate on helping some of those who have been severely hurt.

Think of it as giving gifts twice. If you make a purchase from a museum or historical society, you’re giving that non-profit a bit of funds to keep their facilities in order, while at the same time making a purchase of something unique and special.

Just in Highlands alone, look at both the Highlands Historical Society and the Twin Lights Museum Store.

The Highlands Society has a limited number of recipe books which it created in 2004 which would make a great gift for either the cook, or anyone who simply likes to keep a piece of the old Highlands and remember some of the names from the past. The book has some recipes from Marion and Andy Daino, Frank White, Judith Patterson, both Art and JoAnn Frielinghaus, Bernice Reynen and Judy Tomasulo to name a few, along with Carol White, Kay Guenther and the much beloved Mae Rugg. There’s even a recipe for apple carrot and nut muffins from Sea Scape Manor. The book is only $10, is coil bound, so it’s easy to fold back for easy reading, and if you e-mail me at, I’ll be happy to save a copy for you.

The Twin Lights Museum has so many things to choose from, for all ages, with prices that range from less than a dollar to around $50 or so. My favorites this year are the beautiful gold-colored Twin Lights ornament, which shows the lights both individually and joined and the array of books by local authors not only about the Twin Lights but about the surrounding area and people through the ages as well. There is some terrific jewelry, many with nautical designs from sailboats and anchors to starfish and sea horses. For the home bound, perhaps the $13.95 jigsaw puzzles that, when finished, depict everything from Sandy Hook to sea gulls, or the tee shirts or sweatshirts that range in price from under $20 to $40. Ed Asner’s DVD on the Pledge of Allegiance and how it was first recited at the Twin Lights is a great historic and nostalgic piece, and there are all kinds of glasses for party-going friends, together with some really neat coasters in the shape of ship’s wheels. The Museum Store is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the online museum store is at

A membership in either society, or any of the other fine historical societies in the area is another great family gift.

Shopping in local stores is also an opportunity to pick up unique items or items directly related to the Bayshore area. Restaurant gift certificates are always appreciated, as are gift certificates to many other shops. Bayshore Pharmacy decks out their shelves with all kinds of holiday specialties, many of which can’t be found anywhere else and of course always carries a broad array of books by local authors.

In Atlantic Highlands, there’s a brand new Children’s shop on First Avenue that needs to be explored, as well as a great shop featuring all manner of indoor plants and everything to go with them. The Atlantic Highlands Arts Council is bound to have unique art work for sale, and the First Avenue Playhouse has a great play on stage now with a cute Christmas story coming up next at this more than three decade old dessert theater that is always great.

Thinking local, thinking supporting history and museums, makes Christmas giving a great opportunity to give twice with a single purchase.


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