published Monday, December 12th, 2011

Off the Couch: Two more days to buy local

LISA DENTON: Barry, if you missed going by the Chattanooga Convention Center this past weekend to pick out my Christmas gifts, you're in luck. Chattanooga Market's Holiday Market Too will be open this Saturday and Sunday as well.

You did get my list, didn't you? I sent you a text message and an email, then left a printout on your desk. And there's a voice mail on your phone reminding you to look for it. I didn't want to be so bold as to tell you what I want. There's something to be said for subtlety.

BARRY COURTER: I got all those lists but was still surprised to find you had registered with several vendors at the market. That did seem a little over the top.

I've heard a lot of people mention how glad they were to hear the market was moving indoors. They love the weekly market, but that concrete floor does hold in the cold. I spoke to market director Chris Thomas last week, and he said he capped the number of vendors at 120. He could have gone bigger, but that is the number that best fits into the 36,000-square-feet they booked. Next year, if more vendors sign up, they will go bigger.

LISA: I do like the indoor temps and the extra shopping days. Last year, when it was at Warehouse Row, I bought several gifts. This year, with 120 vendors, I'll probably make an even bigger dent in my bank account. Oh, well, it is the season of giving.

This weekend also is the final time to see Holiday Lights at Chattanooga Zoo. If you're so inclined, you can even bring a gift for the critters. The zoo's 12 Days of Animal Christmas is asking for donations of enrichments items like burlap bags, soccer balls and assorted fruits that the animals enjoy.

BARRY: That zoo program is a pretty cool idea. I looked over the lists on their web page, and Coby the cougar's shopping list looks somewhat familiar. He wants pigs ears, rawhide, catnip, wild animal urine, frozen chicken, beef or fish, heavy-duty plastic barrels and brooms. Now, there is a boy who knows how to party.

Let's don't forget also that Brainerd High graduate George S. Clinton will be doing his Santa Claus Suite as part of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera's annual "Home for the Holidays" concerts Friday and Saturday at the Tivoli.

LISA: He's not the only one headed home. Dollywood favorite James Rogers is planning a "Home for Christmas" show at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Catoosa County Colonnade in Ringgold.

Plus, "American Idol" fans can catch Season 2's winner for free Thursday in "An Evening of Praise With Ruben Studdard." He'll be at Olivet Baptist Church on M.L. King Boulevard for a 7 p.m. show, with donations going toward prevention of sickle cell anemia.

I hope all these concerts won't hinder the time you can devote to shopping. Just try to focus. Would it help if I whittled down my suggestions to a Top 10? Just trying to be helpful.

BARRY: You are always thinking of others, aren't you? By the way, adding an index and a map with indicator marks to your list was a nice touch this year.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or ldenton@timesfreepress.com.

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