North Carolina Holiday Gift Guide

Michele Walker

Looking for a unique gift for the artist, scientist or historian on your gift list? Maybe you’d like to give experiences this year instead of yet another sweater or video game. Let us help you find just the right gift at NCDNCR venues around the state. From museum, aquarium and zoo memberships to specialty items celebrating North Carolina history, art and culture, we’ve got it all.

Gifts for the artist or art lover

Membership to the N.C. Museum of Art -
A year-long membership lets you enjoy free admission to exhibitions, invitations to special events, discounts in the Museum Store and Iris restaurant, discounts on summer camps, and so much more! $50 and up

Find art-inspired gifts at the N.C. Museum of Art store. The museum store includes a fine selection of design objects, art books, home accessories, artist-crafted jewelry, apparel, educational toys and more. The museum’s online store offers a featured selection of gifts for the art lover on your list.

The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art gift store in Winston-Salem offers publications, collectibles, posters and more. Check out their online store for a selection.

Give the gift of music with tickets to the North Carolina Symphony. From traditional classical music, to young people’s concerts, to music from favorite movies such as Star Wars and Harry Potter, symphony tickets make fantastic gifts for the music lover in your life.

Gifts for the outdoor adventurer

For the outdoor lovers on your list, an Annual Pass to N.C. State Parks is good for entrance into Jordan, Falls and Kerr lakes, ferry transportation at Hammocks Beach State Park and swimming at any of our state parks lakes or pools. $60-100.

Celebrate your favorite state park with a Christmas ornament, coffee mug or t-shirt from the NC State Parks online store. You’ll also find beautiful parks posters to frame and display, books about state parks and outdoor pursuits, bumper stickers and more.

Gifts for North Carolina history buffs

Membership to the N.C. Museum of History (, Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum ( or Tryon Palace Foundation (
Museum memberships provide year-round fun and benefits such as gift shop discounts, free or discounted admission to ticketed events and exhibits, summer camp discounts, invitations to members-only events and so much more!

The N.C. Museum of History’s Museum Shop offers items that reflect the museum’s collections and tell the story of North Carolina. Choose from handmade pottery; ornaments; books, videos and music; children’s toys; North Carolina specialty foods; jewelry and accessories. Visit the online shop for a selection of the items available in the Museum Shop.

North Carolina Maritime Museums offer historical and nautical themed gifts in their onsite gift shops.

Many of our state historic sites offer merchandise related to their individual missions. While they don’t have an online store, you can stop by anytime to see what’s available onsite.

The Tryon Palace Museum Store offers a wide assortment of specialty products, including books, food, plants, pottery and fine crafts, jewelry, tabletop objects, and toys.

Books about North Carolina

UNC Press carries an array of books published by the N.C. Office of Archives and History, on topics from the Civil War to Blackbeard to the upcoming Grand Illusions and This Day in North Carolina History. (Order soon, to take advantage of their 40% off holiday offer!)

Here are some upcoming and recent titles you’re sure to enjoy:

Grand Illusions (April 2018) - With Grand Illusions, Laura Phillips brings to readers her findings after decades of study of decorative interior painting. The chief focus is on the walls of North Carolina residences in the nineteenth century with nods to examples in nonresidential and out-of-state structures. This beautiful volume is a perfect gift for anyone who loves art or interior design. $40; preorder for April 2018 delivery.

This Day in North Carolina History (March 2018) - A day-by-day chronicle highlighting topics of importance to North Carolina history, from sensational crimes to top-selling records to homegrown businesses. This keepsake illustrated volume, fun and informative for all ages, had its genesis as a blog on our website. $30; preorder for March 2018 delivery.

North Carolina and the Great War - With stunning images and imaginative design elements, North Carolina and the Great War, 1914-1918 brings the World War I story to modern readers. $30

The North Carolina Civil War Atlas - Ninety-nine highly-detailed maps, many spanning a full 17” x 11” page, were created for this landmark study of the impact of the Civil War in the Tar Heel State. Every significant Civil War military engagement in the state is highlighted in this lavishly illustrated, full-color, 200-page, hardbound volume. $85

We Who Believe in Freedom: The Life and Times of Ella Baker - The second volume in the True Tales for Young Readers series, this short biography of the civil rights leader is intended for middle school and high school readers. $17

Gifts for animal and nature lovers

Membership to the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences -
Membership includes free or discounted admission to featured exhibitions, museum store and café discounts, access to members-only events, and much more depending on membership level. $55 and up.

Membership in the N.C. Zoo Society
Enjoy free admission to the zoo for one year, special prices on programs and camps, members-only events, discounts at zoo gift shops, and more. $59 and up.

Membership in the North Carolina Aquarium Society
Enjoy free admission to N.C. aquariums, program and gift shop discounts, and more with your membership. $50 and up.

The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences has two museum shops filled with nature-inspired gifts. You’ll find toys, games and stuffed animals; sharks teeth and rock collections; beautiful jewelry and accessories; home accessories; books and music; t-shirts; calendars and ornaments. The items are not available for purchase online, but you can take a look at some of their offerings on the museum’s website.