Experts at 14 area businesses suggest their favorite things to give for the holidays.

"If they need a gift, we have it," reports Joel Ashenbaum, who owns Walnut Street Variety, Batesville, now located at 33 N. Main St., despite the name, with Bob Ferrell.

"We have thousands and thousands of items," including some obtained after the duo went to a gift show in the Great Smoky Mountains a couple of weeks ago. Their two best sellers are Melissa and Doug toys and a premiere line of CBD oil. Of the toys he notes, "Their stuff lasts forever. They're well made and thought out and make kids think."

The oil, made from hemp, not marijuana, has been purchased by about 125 customers so far. "It's working magic on their pain, sleep, calming them down if they're anxious or tense."

Other offerings are STEM-related toys, antique and vintage collectibles, toys, books, games, puzzles, three new lines of jewelry and even pet gifts. Ashenbaum believes, "This is the most interesting and exciting store within 20 miles of Batesville. People are awed, taken aback by the variety and quality. Once people come in here, we know we've got them as customers."

Want to create a memorable holiday? Batesville Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep has employee pricing on select model vehicles now through the end of the year, says general manager Cory Fletcher. This includes 2020 Dodge Ram 1500 trucks, 2020 Jeep Cherokees, 2020 Chrysler Pacificas, as well as some 2019 models. "Customers can get thousands of dollars’ worth of savings."

Enhanced Telecommunications Corp., with offices in Batesville, Sunman, Brookville, Liberty and Greensburg, offers the latest in cellular devices, including versions of the Apple iPhone 11 and Samsung Galaxy 10, according to Jenni Hanna, marketing and public relations coordinator in Greensburg. Medical alert systems are available for anyone looking for personal peace of mind while staying at home unassisted.

Specials include a $150 gift card of choice with a select new bundle, $75 gift card with a select new service or $50 gift card for converting an old bundle to a current version; $250 in bill credits for any new cellular line or $200 for those who upgrade their device; free security system Dec. 16-20 for new residential security customers. Offices close at noon on Christmas Eve.

Gifts given to the Southeastern Indiana YMCA, Batesville, will offer wellness and social experiences rather than things.

"You can buy gift certificates for personal training, gymnastics and other programs," including children's swim and dance classes, points out marketing coordinator Kathleen Bohman.

Annual memberships also can be purchased for these monthly fees: family, $63.25; adult, $45.25; senior adult, $41.25; senior couple, $57.50; youth 8-18, $18.25. After age 8, kids can be anywhere in the Y (gyms, pool and rec center) on their own. They must be 12 to access the wellness center (weight and cardio equipment).

Nonmembers can come in and purchase daily passes ($22.75 for a family) if they would like to experience everything the facility offers, including swimming, group exercise classes and working out. They can even leave and come back that same day. "We do have a member referral. If a member brings a guest, it's a much reduced rate" — $12 per family, $8 per adult or $5 per child. "If you're a member, once a year you can buy five guest passes for $25."

Weberding's Carving Shop, Batesville, has many gift items available in a variety of price ranges. "The most popular are our wood ornaments, which are priced at $5.99-$9.99," reports office manager Marilyn Weberding. Other sought after presents are Nativity sets, $19.99-$199.99; creches or stables for the Nativities, $49.95-$159.95; Last Supper plaques, $89.95-$325; cutting boards, $15.99-69.95; and wood boxes, $24.99. 

The Sherman Shop, Batesville, specializes in exclusive German articles, reports Peyton Hughes, who co-owns the business with husband George Heringer. Most novelty gifts that people can't find anywhere else, not only in Indiana, but in the U.S., are directly imported from the Munich area with no middle man. 

German attire includes well-priced dirndls for $59-$149, lederhosen for $159 (short) and $179 (longer style), and a broad range of jewelry that complements the outfits.

German steins range from $18-$79. The pricey ones come with lids, which date back to the Bubonic plague. Hughes explains that a laborer would buy a mug of beer and drink it all day, but open mugs would attract flies and make people sick, so a law dictated that mugs had to be made with lids. "A lot of men get a kick out of them and may even collect them."

Woodturning products made by a Texan artist include sets of bowls, cool salt and pepper shakers and even pet urns. Each holiday season the shop's tree ornaments have a theme. "This year, we went with little stuffed animals." Shoppers also will find German cheeseboards, spoon rests and coffee cups.

Ritzi Jewelry, Brookville, has "nice stuff, not junk," says Teresa Lubic, who co-owns the store with husband Jim. Gift ideas include diamond earrings; gemstone, sterling silver, Twinkles (line of dazzling accessories), Sorrelli fashion and religious jewelry; watches; engagement rings; wedding bands; personalized and engravable Christmas ornaments; and Candleberry Candle Co. products.

"We're not a high-end jewelry store," so prices begin at $9.99. Customers can opt for free gift wrapping and during December's third week will receive a free gift with purchase of $25 or more. "We want customers to be happy," she observes.

Matt Nobbe, 5 Oaks Lawn and Garden Center, Batesville, owner, notes, "We have gift certificates, and they can be spent on anything. We have everything gardening." In addition, he says in demand items that people purchase for holiday gifts are birdhouses, along with bird seed and feed. "We have bat and butterfly houses ... (and) wind chimes are popular, too."

"We have a lot of brand new items" at Twice Blessed Resale of Oldenburg Academy, Batesville, says manager Tonya Hudepohl. "There's a rack of ladies clothes right in the front door ... with tags still on them." Other new items range from David Bridal bridesmaids' dresses to stuff donated by managers of two former Batesville stores, JayneBugs and Shopko. "We have tons of jewelry and candles, never been used."

Other options? "We get lots of antique dolls and dishes, vintage handstitched linens and handmade quilts. "They look really nice." She announces, "We now carry scrubs and athletic wear." Recently four or five boxes of new nurse's shoes arrived. The shop is known for its gently used clothes, shoes, toys, books, linens, housewares and furniture. Profits of the store, open about 15 years, go to help Oldenburg Academy students with tuition assistance.

Gift sets, such as shampoo and conditioner bundles, are popular at Guys & Gals Quarters Salon & Day Spa, Batesville, reports salon coordinator Elizabeth Haeufle. Straighteners and curling irons are more options.

Two technicians now offer dermaplaning. She explains, "It gets off all the dead skin cells and baby fine hair, leaving your face really smooth. It's like a fresh canvas to put your makeup on."

"The gift cards are our big thing." In addition, "we offer holiday packages throughout the season" at reduced rates. They range from four nail shellacs to facial specials and the luxurious Afternoon Affair Package (manicure, pedicure and either a one-hour full body massage or Bioelements facial).

An employer who wants to give something different can plan a corporate outing to the salon for manicures, pedicures, massages, facials or blowouts, "whatever they would enjoy. We can customize it" at a discounted rate. "We provide snacks, a fruit and cheese platter and orange juice. It's just a nice treat for little offices to come in." 

Beautiful and unusual hues of nail polish can be stuffed in stockings as well.

For someone with a sweet tooth, Schmidt Bakery, Batesville, has "a lot of gingerbread boys and all kinds of the little Christmas cookies," from Mexican wedding cakes, almond crescents and cutout iced sugar cookies ("Everybody loves those") to four o'clocks, butter daisies and the German jan hagels, according to co-owner Bertie Schmidt. "We have fruit bars also. They're just delicious with cinnamon and nutmeg. We do have the holiday stollen, too." New this holiday season are Cranberry Thing-a-Lings.

Specialty items include salt rising bread; whopper pecan rolls; alligator (long braided Danish), cinnamon crumb and old-fashioned coffee cakes; sugar-free items; and dog biscuits.

"We don't put any additives (or preservatives) in our products," making them healthier. One more gift idea: "We have our cherry jelly" created from juice remaining after making those thing-a-lings.

Daffodilly's Flowers & Gifts, Batesville, stocks ornaments, home decor, candles, candies, wind chimes, Willow Tree figurines and "all kind of Christmas items," says owner Jolene Struewing. "We have many gifts under $25 and others $25-$50 and up. We have gift cards in any amount." 

Gift certificates, car wash and emergency roadside kits and winter tires are gift options at Koch Auto, Batesville. Co-owner Kirsten Koch adds, "WeatherTech has a ton of items for vehicles that we can order, including floor mats."

Reliable Chimney Sweep, Batesville, owner Chris Muckerheide reveals, "I have free estimates and $140 chimney sweeps."