Santa Claus and his reindeer star in many a song and story, but people don't give the jolly old fellow the credit he deserves.
To most people, finding the perfect gift is a chore that has them hopping from store to store, searching between the pages of catalogs and possibly surfing the Internet.
Bulging inside Santa's pack, however, are countless gifts, one for every person in the world, assuming the person made the grade after Santa's fact-checking.
Whether large or small, expensive or not, the perfect gift is personal. It shows knowledge and appreciation for the intended's interests.
Here are some suggestions from Augusta-area religious goods stores that also are faith-affirming.
Shoppers might succeed in finding the perfect gift, but when it comes to on-time, every-time delivery, Santa is unbeatable.
Reach Virginia Norton at (706) 823-3336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
THREE KINGS GIFTS ($75): For grown-ups, a red-satin lined box of authentic gold, frankincense and myrrh makes a unique keepsake. Items also are sold separately in round gift boxes. Available: Saintly Gifts, LaPetite Plaza on Washington Road
SHEPHERD ($17.50); SHEEP ($10): A pair of sheep and a shepherd with his staff can be purchased as a grouping or individually. Available: The Parsonage at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church.
CHILDREN'S DVDS ($14.99, AGES 2 AND OLDER): Nicholas, The Boy Who Became Santa, Juan Diego, Messenger of Guadalupe, and the singalong A Christmas for Little Children are popular sellers, especially at Christmas.
Available: Saintly Gifts, LaPetite Plaza on Washington Road
SOUL-WINNING TIES ($11.99): It's the Scripture verse from Isaiah 40:31, "mount up with wings as eagles," that wins men over to the tie displaying an eagle, said Dianne Brady, the owner of Heavenly Resources in North Augusta. The ties come in several patterns.
Available: Heavenly Resources, North Augusta
HOODIE ($29.99): Wayne Tapley, the manager of Family Christian Stores, has this soft red hoodie on his Christmas wish list. The shirt says "He died 4 me" on one side and "I live 4 him" on the other.
Available: Family Christian Stores
AHAVA skin care (price varies): People often first experience Ahava products on visits to Israel. The lotions, soaps, creams and cleansers are made from minerals found in the Dead Sea. Available: Judaica shop at The Walton Way Temple-Congregation Children of Israel
WHAT GOD WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS ($14.99, AGES 3 AND UP): A pop-up stable, which is peopled with plastic figurines of Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph and other characters from the Nativity story, comes with suggested family activities. Available: LifeWay Christian Stores
MESSIAH COLLECTION ($9.99): The Messiah Collection of antique silver-plated ornaments is LifeWay Christian Stores manager Hal Perdue's favorite this season. Each ornament explains something about who Christ is with an illustration on one side and a verse from Scripture on the other. Available: LifeWay Christian Stores
PORCELAIN DREIDEL ($40), MENORAH ($40): It can be "all" or "nothing" when Jewish families spin the dreidel beneath the light of the Hanukkah menorah.
Available: Judaica shop at The Walton Way Temple-Congregation Children of Israel
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