Fishing for that unusual gift

By Clay Wilson

Cam Richey and company claim they have just the thing this holiday season.

"Can't find Nemo? We have the perfect gift," proclaims a sign at the front of Aquatic Pets in McDonough. The sign stands beside an aquarium full of percula clown fish – real-life counterparts to the animated hero of Disney's summer smash, "Finding Nemo."

For $250, fans can replicate the movie with a saltwater aquarium complete with a clown fish, a blue tang (like "Dory" in the movie), sand and coral.

"The kids are going crazy for (clown fish)," said Richey, who owns the six-year-old fish store that moved from Stockbridge to McDonough three months ago.

Although fish may not rank as high as ties and turtlenecks on the list of common holiday gift items, Richey said they are consistenly good sellers during the holidays.

And while some of the sales are to people who are trying to add some pizzazz to their houses before holiday parties, others are to gift-buyers, Richey said. He added that gift certificates are particularly popular with holiday shoppers.

"They don't know what will go with the fish (the recipients) have, so they just buy a gift certificate and let them pick (the fish) out," he said.

At the Road to Tara Museum in Jonesboro, those shopping for an uncustomary Christmas present can get a "gift certificate" of sorts to five area historical attractions.

With the Clayton County Convention and Visitors Bureau's "Premier Pass," "Gone with the Wind" fans or Civil War buffs can visit the museum, Stately Oaks Plantation, the Margaret Mitchell House and the Cyclorama in Atlanta, and participate in a 90-minute "Gone with the Wind Tour."

"We have had people purchase them for ?Gone with the Wind Fans," said Clayton CVB employee Elaine Lane. "It's an excellent gift."

The pass costs $34.95, which according to Lane saves purchasers up to $12 off buying admission to all the attractions separately.

At the Road to Tara Museum itself, the gift shop sells "Gone with the Wind" memorabilia ranging from books to purses.

"If it's ?Gone with the Wind,' just about, we have it," said Lane.

For those for whom a driving tour of the area's GWTW attractions just doesn't cut it, a lap or several around the 1.54-mile oval of Atlanta Motor Speedway might hit the spot.

AMS hosts four companies that conduct driving schools. One of them, the Richard Petty Driving Experience, offers packages ranging from a $99 ride-along with a professional driving instructor to a $2,999, 40-lap learning and driving experience.

Outdoor lovers likely would appreciate an Annual Park Pass to Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites. The pass provides unlimited access to all 48 state parks. Normal parking fees at each park are $2 to $4. The pass is $25 - $12.50 for seniors 62 and older.

But for those who want to really get out there – way out there – the best gift may be a star named after them, and a deep-space radio message announcing the name. At callyourstar.com, consumers can name a star after themselves, a friend or loved one, then broadcast a message to deep space. Prices range from $24.95 to $88.