Beaufort worth the trip to view “A Nativity Celebration”

By Deena C. Bouknight/Photography by Sissy Perryman

unnamed (4)For the last eight years, First Presbyterian Church of Beaufort – a two-hour drive from Columbia – has hosted A Nativity Celebration, featuring 100-plus unique and artistic natvity scenes hand-made in various spots around the world. Perusing the creches during the three-day event, from December 7-9, is like taking a visual global tour. Each is distinct and many convey aspects of a country’s culture.

The nativities are shared by local residents and church members as well as provided on loan from others outside the community. Each stands alone as an aesthetic vignette narrative of the birth of Christ. Styles range from whimiscal snow globes to eleborate porcelain sets. Some natvities make repeat appearances each year, while others are new. Some are so small they fit in a matchbox, while others sprawl across an entire table. Most are traditional table displays; a few hang.

They might be constructed of bent nails, recycled metals, or even local oyster shells.

There are German Hummel figurines as well as sets from Vietnam, Phillipines, Cameroon, and many other countries.

“It is amazing to see how the Christmas story is depicted by artists from all over the world,” says Donna Sheetz, FPC’s volunteer nativity coordinator. “Whether they are made from banana leaves or oyster shells, wood or fine porcelain – each nativity tells a story unique to the artist’s culture.”

Nativity photos by Sissy Perryman-Beaufort

The three-day event draws school children, assisted living and nursing home residents, tourists, locals, and more.

The goal, explains Donna, is to show the true meaning of Christmas through the eyes of the world. A Nativity Celebration is located in First Presbyterian Church of Beautfort, 1201 North Street, and is a “gift” to the public – free of charge.





Confession: I have never been a good speller. I struggled at least as much with spelling in fourth grade as I did with chemistry in 10th. One word, among many, that has always perplexed me is the word “receipt.” Why is the “p” silent? Just to add to my confusion is the word “recipe,” which also does not follow any English phonetic rules (if there even are any). Yet, both words sound and look similar to each other.

Upon investigation, it turns out that receipt and recipe used to have the same meaning and derive from the Latin word recipere, which means to receive or take. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1386) contains the first known use of the word receipt and is in reference to a medical prescription formula. The use of receipt as a slip of paper acknowledging the receipt of goods in exchange for an amount of money did not begin until the early 17th century.

The word recipe is first recorded about 15 years after Canterbury Tales in a book on surgery. The imperative form of the original Latin verb meaning “take,” recipe was an injunction and frequently the first word used in a prescription (receipt), followed by the list of ingredients the patient was to consume. An abbreviation in the form of the letter R with a bar through the leg still appears on modern medical prescriptions.

Food and medicine have a long history together, as many of the same ingredients used for food preparation were also key in a physician’s practice. Receipt was first used in a culinary sense in 1716, and recipe was similarly recorded not long after. Recipe has gradually replaced receipt for cooking instructions over the decades since.

Surprisingly, the United States has preserved this original use of “receipt” the longest. Upon digging through old cookbooks for “Heirloom Recipes” on page 54, we came across many old, traditional “receipt” books from Charleston and Savannah. We hope you enjoy this article sharing traditional recipes from families across Columbia and its surrounding cities. Perhaps it will conjure up favorite, or forgotten, memories of your grandmother teaching you her favorite receipts!

From all of us at CMM, a very Merry Christmas and happy holiday season!

Gift Giving 101

By Kirstie Boone

Excitement fills the air as the holidays draw near. As the holiday season arrives, we anticipate fabulous parties, beautifully decorated homes, delicious food, the best of winter fashion and, of course, the joyous tradition of gift giving. Choosing the perfect gift can add stress to an already busy time of year as gift giving can be quite tricky and even frustrating at times. We are counting down our top 10 favorite gift ideas to give you inspiration for the gift giving season!

10. Picture this! A camera is the perfect gift for someone who truly values the little memories in their everyday life. In a world where iPhone cameras capture our every move, we often forget about the variety of high quality cameras to choose from. Cameras are perfect for capturing special memories especially during the holiday season. Polaroid cameras have recently seen an upgrade, and can be found in a variety of colors in a fun, new shape.


9. Date it! For a mom, sister or coworker who is always on the go, now is the perfect time to give her a new planner or calendar for 2017. The new year is almost here, and she will be filling up a new calendar with dates and to-do lists in no time! Lilly Pulitzer planers are always a favorite (check out Pink Sorbet or Invitation Station for adorable planners in all shapes and sizes).

Pink Sorbet

8. Personalize it! Men can often be difficult to buy for, but a genuine leather monogrammed wallet is the perfect gift for any man in your life. You can personalize it with a name, phrase or monogram if you’d like. Whether you are buying for your dad, brother or husband, this gift is one that will be put to good use for years to come. Check out Initially Yours Columbia Luggage on Lady Street for all of your monogrammed needs this holiday season!


7. Organize it! For the “techie” in your family or friend group, this charger roll-up will keep the chords for all of their gadgets organized. Perfect for storing chargers and headphones, this gift can also be personalized with a monogram. Its compact size allows for easy storage in a purse or glove compartment, and it’s a great way to keep all of your cords untangled and separated.


6. Smell this! Who doesn’t love a delicious smelling candle? Pair the yummy fragrance of Rewined candles with the fact that they are handmade out of recycled wine bottles, and you have the perfect gift. Not to mention that the company began in Charleston, South Carolina. The names and fragrances of the candles are inspired by various wines and include scents such as Pinot Grigio, Champagne, Merlot, Cabernet and Pinot Noir. Rewined also makes soaps and glassware which make wonderful gifts! You can find Rewined candles and other Rewined products at local boutiques throughout the Midlands.


5. Drink it! Tumblers make excellent gifts for anyone on your list whether you are purchasing the gift for a male or female. For this reason, they seem to be a favorite for Secret Santa gatherings and Chinese gift exchanges. Our favorite tumblers for this holiday season are Yeti tumblers and Corkcicle tumblers. Yeti tumblers are extremely durable, and Corkcicle tumblers keep beverages cold for nine plus hours and hot for three hours. Both tumblers come in various sizes and colors, and can be personalized by adding a vinyl or engraved monogram or name. Tumblers make a great gift for the hot chocolate lover or coffee addict, as well as someone who loves to keep ice cold water close by throughout the day. Check out your local hardware store for Yeti tumblers and local gift shops for Corkcicle tumblers!

Don’t Break it! Looking for the perfect gift for the wine lover or hostess in your life? Govino stemless wine glasses are made of shatterproof, recyclable material and are BPA and BPS free. Govino also makes champagne flutes, cocktails, beer glasses and decanters, all perfect gift options for a friend or family member who loves to entertain. These “unbreakable” wine glasses are great to have on hand during the holiday season, especially during busy holiday parties. They also come in handy in the spring and summer months when drinks will be sipped poolside.


Serve it! The holiday season is the perfect time to give someone special a festive serving tray. A serving tray makes a wonderful gift for a friend or mother-in-law who loves to entertain. With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, this thoughtful gift is sure to be put to good use for the parties that are in store. We love this festive serving tray with a matching cheese board and coasters!

Note it! You can’t go wrong with stationary during the holiday season. Correspondence cards or notepads are the perfect gift for a sister who loves to write letters or a coworker that likes to take notes or doodle. A thank you note never goes out of style, and a beautiful set of thank you notes makes a wonderful Christmas gift. We love the classic style of Kate Spade’s correspondence cards and thank you notes! Many gift stores in the Midlands carry an assortment of Kate Spade stationary.

Read it! Give the gift that’s a perfect fit for everyone on your list, a subscription to the city magazine for the capital of South Carolina, Columbia Metropolitan Magazine. We may be a little biased, but a subscription is a gift that will keep giving throughout the year. Click here to subscribe to CMM and receive free perks such as gift cards to restaurants and Pure Barre classes, tickets to ballets and a free Columbia Metropolitan t-shirt!




A Thoughtful Touch

By Kirstie Boone

With the holiday season quickly approaching and the atmosphere becoming more festive by the minute, it’s time to begin planning for your fabulous holiday parties. Between the cooking, cleaning, planning and decorating, it’s easy to overlook the small details involved in party planning. Decisions such as which color tablecloth to use, how many seats to plan for each table and what the menu should be often overshadow smaller, more personal aspects of party planning. However, the small decisions are just as important as the big details. Little things such as creative, personalized place cards can easily take your party from ordinary to amazing, and we’ve gathered our favorite place card ideas for holiday inspiration!

Add a pine cone to your place setting to display your place cards. Wrap wire in a circular shape then attach the wire to the top of the pine cone to hold the place card. For a creative twist, paint the pine cones a festive color like gold or red.

Visit blog.simplelittledetails.com for more information.

These gorgeous pumpkins are the perfect place setting for Thanksgiving dinner! Use twine or ribbon to tie the place card to the stem of a pumpkin. Bonus points if you use a fall-themed shape for your place card.

Your guests won’t “be-leaf” their eyes when they see this stunning place setting. Start by gathering large leaves or buying decorative leaves from your local craft store. Use gold spray paint to coat the leaves. Let dry, then write each guest’s name on the leaf and place at each setting.

Visit mylifeandkids.com for more information. 

Use a small, potted succulent for each place setting. Attach each guest’s name to a short skewer to stick in the soil of the succulent. This place card holder doubles as a unique party favor that guests will be able to take home with them!

Ruffled - photo by http://shewanders.com/ - http://ruffledblog.com/malibu-calamigos-ranch-wedding/
Visit ruffledblog.com for more information.

For a more rustic place setting, use a cross cut of a branch or tree for your place setting. Use a marker to write your guests’ names on the wood. If you don’t have access to tools to cut up a branch, these cross cuts can usually be found at craft stores.

Visit tarateaspoon.com for more information.

Use rosemary or pine sprigs to add a natural, simple touch to your table. These place settings not only look gorgeous, but also smell amazing! One option is to place the sprigs through the card, or wrap the springs into a wreath shape to place on top of a napkin or dish.


Jingle bells! Use bells to hold your place cards. This simple yet creative place card holder is sure to spread good cheer (and maybe a few jingles) around the dinner table.

Visit jacolynmurphy.com for more information. 

Remembering the small details during the busy holiday season will make any party complete. With these adorable place settings, guests are sure to remember your holiday party as being the best of the season. Happy Holidays from all of us at Columbia Metropolitan!

Ex Libris Online: Sense and Sensibility; A Memoir of Jane Austen


Review: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen; A Memoir of Jane Austen by J. E. Austen-Leigh

“The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!” –Marianne Dashwood

“It is not everyone,’ said Elinor, ‘who has your passion for dead leaves.” – Elinor Dashwood

ex Libris MC (2)

Jane Austen continues to resonate in our culture 200 years after her stories were first published, with more adaptations and variants seeming to release yearly… from novels like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, to Bollywood films like Bride and Prejudice, to modern perennial favorites such as Clueless (based on Austen’s Emma.) The Folio Society has released a collection of fine editions of Jane Austen’s work, two of which are recently released in time for Christmas.

The two fabulous quotes above from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility illustrate so well the poles at which the two central characters — sisters — reside. It comes as no surprise, even and especially in today’s world, that two siblings, while close and intimate friends, can be complete opposites, and Austen takes delight in portraying this phenomenon. She explores the ramifications of each contrasting disposition in two women who otherwise have the same opportunities and acquaintances.

S&S 1Elinor quietly conceals her opinions and emotions, filtering her behavior through proper and polite etiquette, Marianne refuses to veil her thoughts and insists in openly expressing her emotions. While the narrative is told from Elinor’s perspective, it is Marianne who exhibits the most character arch, growing and maturing through the consequences of her choices, to become more like her sister in the end. Marianne does not lose her open vivacity, but rather grows to a maturity and discretion that tempers and softens her bluntness. However, she does not adopt Elinor’s strong reserve but retains her animation, thus proving that good manners do not intrinsically inhibit the expression of feelings, but can be creatively coupled through discernment. Thankfully, in true Austen form, both ladies find their “happily ever afters,” despite their differences in disposition. They both retain their tight-knit bond and marry their own Prince Charmings.

S&S 2The novel concludes, “And among the merits and the happiness of Elinor and Marianne, let it not be ranked as the least considerable, that though sisters, and living almost within sight of each other, they could live without disagreement between themselves, or producing coolness between their husbands.”

In the introduction to The Folio Society edition, novelist Elena Ferrante writes, “The relationship between the sisters is full of perils, and if we read the novel attentively we realize this, thanks to the skillful play between what is said and what is not said… The relationship that has been at the centre of her novel, the relationship that is the hardest to examine truthfully, [is] the relationship between sisters. But [Austen] does it lightly, and only to emphasize the fact that, thanks to the careful management of sense and sensibility, Elinor and Marianne, although they will live for the rest of their lives within sight of one another, have overcome that dangerous obstacle as well.”

JaneAustenCassandraWatercolourJane Austen’s own life is sadly much more obscured than any “Janeite” enthusiast would prefer. Her sister, Cassandra, dutifully burned nearly all of their letters at Jane’s request upon her death at age 41 following an illness, and the only picture of her that is completely confirmed to be her portrait is a watercolor by Cassandra, painted from behind and thus obscuring her face. Her work was not well known in her lifetime and only achieved the fame and popularity with which it is so well acquainted today after her death. One catalyst for the surge in popularity of her work was her nephew’s memoir of her life, published more than 50 years after her death in 1869 by James Edward Austen-Leigh.

He writes, “I have a distinct recollection of her person and character; and perhaps many may take an interest in a delineation, if any such can be drawn, of that prolific mind whence sprung the Dashwoods and Bennets… Aided by a few survivors who knew her… I am the more inclined to undertake the task from a conviction that, however little I may have to tell, no one else is left who could tell so much of her.”

Austen-Leigh then undertakes to share not only stories about his famous aunt and to sketch her personality and character, but also to reflect on the changing ways, customs and culture of the 19th century.

In this new edition published by The Folio Society, Fay Weldon writes, “The volumeMJA_S_03 is, of course, more than a mere memoir of Austen, though that would be rewarding enough. It is a look back over an urbane mid-Victorian shoulder to the customs and manners of Georgian times, and we must thank the Gods of chance and literature that James Edward Austen-Leigh who, just happening to be Jane Austen’s nephew, also happened to take such an informed and lively interest in the changing face of England, and to write with the same kind of diligent clarity and descriptive grace as his more famous aunt.”

SSB_S_01Both of these volumes, as well as the others published so far in this collection, Pride and Prejudice and Emma, would make wonderful Christmas gifts. The watercolors by Philip Bannister in Sense and Sensibility are simply breathtaking.

MJA_S_01*Do take note that as these editions ship from London, the cutoff for receiving by Christmas is this Wednesday, Dec. 9th and this Monday, Dec. 14th for standard and expedited shipping, respectively.

 Buy Sense and Sensibility here, A Memoir of Jane Austen here
Illustration from The Folio Society edition of  Sense and Sensibility © Philip Bannister 2015

Ex Libris Online: John Abbot’s Birds of Georgia


Review: Birds of Georgia by John Abbot

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During the Christmas season, there is the ubiquitous question of what to buy for the many different people in your life — from immediate family to the colleague you see in the break room during coffee breaks. Picking out gifts that people will value is tricky, but fortunately, a book can be the perfect gift for literally anyone!

The Beehive Press is a Southern book publisher in Savannah, Ga., making it possible to give a book while also shopping local. The Beehive Press specializes in immortalizing Southern literature in beautiful editions. Their books range from Southern classics to books on architecture, history and even nature –– such as the new limited edition of John Abbot’s Birds of Georgia, featuring the very first publication in book form of any of his bird drawings.

Self Portrait

John Abbot was born in London in 1751 but moved to Virginia in 1773 to further his study and artistry of entomology as well as ornithology. Three years later he moved to Georgia whereupon he served as a private in the Third Georgia Continental Battalion in the Revolutionary War. Following America’s victory over the British, he was endowed with a plantation of several hundred acres and taught school.

A contemporary of John James Audubon, Abbot spent more than 60 years collecting and drawing the birds and insects that he found in southeastern Georgia, documenting them with beautiful watercolors. His work can be found at the Natural History Museum in London, the British Museum, Houghton Library at Harvard, and Johns Hopkins to name a few, as well as at our own  USC.

Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker










This new volume published by The Beehive Press is elegantly bound in linen and is also presented in a linen slipcase. As the birds of eastern Georgia nicely overlap with those of central South Carolina, these 25 watercolors from the Houghton Library collection showcase our favorite local birds beautifully. They are presented as exact reproductions in both color and size (about 10 x 12 inches).

Birds-of-GA-BookThis book would make a wonderful Christmas gift for anyone who loves observing nature
and being outdoors. The Beehive Press also has a lovely selection of other fine editions, all which cherish Southern history.

Buy this book here.