There are few things better than watching a loved one’s eyes light up when she opens your holiday present. This year many arts organizations are giving gifts that will keep on giving even after Christmas morning, and the best part is that none of them are video games.
Gift certificates are a popular choice and readily available regardless of your artistic medium. The Henniker Youth Theater will once again be offering holiday gift certificates for its summer theater camps, for ages 6 to 19, according to Tom Dunn, artistic director. Shoppers looking ahead will get a 30-percent discount if they purchase the gift certificates up until midnight on Dec. 24. Dunn said everything is done electronically, so the gift can be received up until the last minute. No credit cards are accepted, but Dunn said he trusted people to send him checks. Besides admission to the four-week camps, which are full- or half-day, the recipient will also receive a sampler CD that includes songs from all the shows that might be performed, including Through the Looking Glass and Fiddler on the Roof, Jr.
“As a director I was worried that there is six months between Christmas and the summer and that we may lose some people because stuff would come up,” Dunn said. “But we didn’t. We typically get 80 kids each summer and I would say last summer 21 or 22 used the gift certificates.
“It might have to do with the economy,” Dunn said. “Whereas people would have just sent kids to summer camp now they’re making a gift out of it.”
Dunn said it was win-win because the parents got a discount and he got the money up front, which helped pay for expenses. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Theater companies haven’t cornered the market on gift certificates. People can purchase gift certificates of any amount to the Manchester Community Music School, www.mcmusicschool.org. These can then be used toward lessons, classes and summer camps, according to Jeanine Tousignant, CEO of the music school. The gift certificates come in gift bags so they are ready to give.
“Quite a few grandparents buy them as presents for their grandchildren,” Tousignant said. “If you know someone already enrolled, it can help with tuition.”
Tousignant said if the shopper in you is also a bit of a gambler, the music school is also offering a Holiday Raffle. If tickets, which cost $10 for one or $25 for three, are purchased before Tuesday, Dec. 21, winners could win two flex passes to the Boston Symphony Orchestra (valued at $324) or an acoustic guitar or Nashua Symphony Orchestra tickets or a $100 iTunes Gift Card.
“It’s not a guaranteed present but could lead to a great one,” Tousignant said.
Seeing a live show is also fun and the Actorsingers of Nashua, www.actorsingers.org, are offering vouchers, which are good for any performance. All you have to do is send a check or cash to Actorsingers and they will send you a voucher — then when the show time draws nearer simply call the box office at 320-1870.
While a show provides a wonderful night, a work of art can be enjoyed year-round, according to Sarah Chaffee, gallery director of McGowan Fine Art in Concord.
“I think sometimes people are uncomfortable buying art because they’re afraid it won’t be exactly what the person likes,” Chaffee said. “They may know the person’s taste but not the exact painting.”
That is not a problem. Any piece of art work can be brought back and traded in for the perfect piece so it guarantees a successful purchase. Another misconception about buying art, according to Chaffee, is that it is expensive. She said you could buy a nice framed piece of art for $50.
“And there are always gift certificates,” Chaffee said. “Art is a fun thing because it shows you’re thinking. It’s a little bit harder but also different.”
If $50 is out of your price range, you might be interested in a free gift. Chaffee said anyone who takes 10 minutes to fill out the Creative Concord survey at www.creativeconcordnhsurvey.org before Tuesday, Dec. 21, could win two free tickets to Cinematic Titanic at the Capitol Center for the Arts.
The king of art in New Hampshire is most likely the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, www.currier.org. The museum shop is full of fun gifts for anyone on your list.
“The first thing people need to know,” said Heidi Norton, manager of the museum shop, “is that you don’t need to pay the museum admission to go into the museum shop.”
Inside the shop, if shoppers purchase a museum membership for someone else before Dec. 31, they will also get a Currier tote bag or a stainless steel mug. There is also a discount of $5 off any poster in the shop, even if it is on sale. Besides jewelry, sculptures, paintings and ceramics there are fun, functional gifts. There are fine art umbrellas, which keep you dry and show off that you like the work of Van Gogh or Monet. For kids there is the magic water kit, which allows the young artist to work on the go without making a mess, and Food Face, which is a set of fun plates with faces on them that encourage kids to eat their vegetables and be creative.
“We pride ourselves on having fun, creative and practical gifts,” Norton said. “We don’t want people going to the mall and saying, ‘I saw that at the Currier.’”