Of course, these gifts don’t have to be wrappable — tickets to museums or historical tours are splendid options. Here are a few not too far from anywhere in Calhoun County.
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute:
No history buff in Alabama should turn down a visit to the state’s foremost museum that honors those who fought for racial equality. Admission is $12. www.bcri.org. 205-328-9696.
The Victoria Inn:
What better way to get in tune with Anniston’s 1800s beginnings? Treat your spouse to a night in some of The Vic’s original guest rooms, and imagine living along Quintard Avenue before the turn of the century. Call 256-236-0503.
Day trip to Montgomery:
The wise move would be to plan the trip for February, when visitors could take in a Black Heritage Tour in the Capitol City, as offered by Old Alabama Town. Call 888-240-1850. The first White House of the Confederacy and the state Capitol are worth a look while you’re in Montgomery, as well.
The Berman Museum:
Let the history geek in your family get lost among the countless historical displays at the Berman in Anniston, from World War II uniforms and weapons to collections of artifacts from several different foreign dynasties. Ticket prices start at just $5.
The Anniston Museum of Natural History:
It’s a different type of history — natural history — but it’s a can’t-miss, nevertheless, and it’s next door to the Berman.
Household memberships are only $42.
As for reading materials, here are a few of the best Alabama-related books that have recently been released or are scheduled for release early in the new year.
These are but a few, obviously; history books are like books on Crimson Tide football — virtually endless. So be discerning and pick out a good one to put under the tree.
• Birmingham 1963: How a Photograph Rallied Civil Rights Support, by Shelley Tougas.
• Fighting the Devil in Dixie: How Civil Rights Activists Took on the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama, by Wayne Greenhaw.
• Dixie’s Big Heart: A Story About Alabama, by children’s author Nancy Tuminelly.
• Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family, by Condoleezza Rice.
• Scout, Atticus, and Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird, by Mary McDonagh Murphy.
Phillip Tutor is the Star’s commentary editor and a local history buff. His column appears every Friday on the opinion pages.