Our toughest Gifting Challenge so far. Dion Lim’s mother.

by Susu Bear

You’d think a shopper like Dion Lim, news anchor and consumer reporter at WCNC-TV would have no prob snapping up any number of great gifts for her mother.  Not.

Dion’s mom is a tough one….old school, independent, thrifty, and resourceful.  For example, her most recent purchase was lumber to build her own chicken coop.   I’m so jealous (but my neighbors are not).
She’s not much for clothing or jewelry and really doesn’t embrace the whole gifting thing.  Our only clue?  She enjoys cooking & gardening – and clearly doing things herself.  So, we went out of our shopping box for gift ideas to give Dion for this challenge…..and straight to Blackhawk Hardware in Park Rd Shopping Center.

The first thing that caught my eye is also the most expensive on this list and probably over the limit (ain’t that always the way……).  I’m thinking a small Weber grill for the patio table could be fun – works in a condo or apartment and is easy to move/manage.  The electric version doesn’t even need gas.  Although what makes this better from your kitchen oven will no doubt escape Mom Dion as it does me….I guess it’s the great outdoors!

Electric Table Top grill by Weber from Blackhawk $299

Table Top Gas Grills at Blackhawk Hardware $199 - $249


Next up, in case she needs to rest from all that chicken coop building, is a Pawley’s Island Hammock.  I know, I know, she never naps.  But a backyard just needs a hammock and these Pawley’s Island ones last FOREVER.  Rain and shine.   And you never know how peaceful your garden is until you enjoy it from a hammock.

A Pawley's Island Hammock from Blackhawk


The next thing I found at Blackhawk which is super-practical and not something a woman normally buys for herself is a Leatherman tool – they have a wide assortment in a range of prices.  Dion’s mom probably already bought hers; I know I love mine!

a leatherman type tool from Blackhawk - prices vary


I decided to stick with the gardening theme rather than cooking, since folks can get really picky about their pots and pans.  So my next option is a deluxe Squirrel Proof bird feeder that looks decent and costs way more than a seed carrier should.  But squirrels are deterred, so it’s worth every penny.

A Squirrel Proof Birdfeeder from Blackhawk $60


Ok, I was starting to feel a little too practical at Blackhawk and thought I might need to shop for at least a couple of pretty, semi-indulgent things for Dion to consider.  Every gardener worth her salt tries to grow orchids, and while I have never met an orchid I can’t kill off, I’ll bet Dion’s mom is great at them.  Only one place in town worth going for those….Campbell’s Greenhouse in Dilworth.  They will Hook. You.  Up.  Take a look:

photo of Campbell's Greenhouse

Equally challenging (at least when it comes to over-wintering) but a real delight is a Meyer Lemon tree.  Or two!  Also at Campbell’s.   While I’ve been able to get these thru the amazing blooming stage and onto fruiting for a year, I always kill them in the house over winter.  But they are a plant that keeps on giving if you can handle them!

Meyer Lemon Trees


What, when I said indulgent did you think I meant perfume?  Naaah.  I’m taking pretty and practical seriously, and found this Wall Herb Garden – slash – chalkboard at Williams Sonoma online (not in stores unfortunately).  Pretty, practical, gardening, cooking.  Check.

Chalkboard Wall Planter from William Sonoma online $130



One last thought – I think a gift of several hens (designer breeds, natch) for the soon-to-be chicken coop would be a great and unexpected gift for Dion’s mom.  I found a supplier of these pretty Dominique chickens in  the Great Smokies in Topton, North Carolina – Dion can order them now and pick them up in the spring – although she’ll have to make a weekend of it!

Dominique Chickens!




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Retail marketer who loves shopping, fashion, design, travel and dining out. NOLA native, Francophile, and DC-lover living in Charlotte since 1998. Married to a die-hard Wahoo for over 25 years, mother of one Princeton Tiger, a labradoodle and two cats. I'm the creator & editor of scoopcharlotte and scoopthelake - if you think you'd like to join our program, email me at scoopcharlotte [at] gmail.com today!