Everyone has heard that there’s no such thing as free money. So you may be surprised to hear what The Destin Log and The Walton Sun are offering this holiday season.



The newspapers, along with their sister publications at Halifax Media Group, launched the second annual Emerald Coast Holiday Bid and Buy auction Dec. 1. More than 100 local businesses are offering nearly $150,000 in gift certificates. >> Start bidding now!



“There are hundreds of perfect gifts at great prices for everyone,” said Donna Talla, advertising director for the Northwest Florida Daily News. “This is our second annual online auction that is a win-win for the participating local retailers."



Bidding on the certificates starts at 50 percent of the actual value. People can view and bid on the certificates by clicking on the banner atop the websites for The Destin Log (thedestinlog.com), Walton Sun (waltonsun.com) Northwest Florida Daily News, the Crestview News Bulletin, or Santa Rosa Press Gazette.



Hotel stays, dining cards, retail gift certificates and massages are just a few of the available bidding options. Several people from all around the Florida Panhandle have already begun bidding.



“I like the ease of it,” Greg Rengert of Navarre told The Log. “I did it last year and it was easy. I’ve had trouble with Groupons before, where they don’t take them. With these, they take them.”



Along with the ease and value, another big draw for some is that the certificates make great stocking stuffers for those who like to buy local.



“I like to do things like this around the holidays to help give back to the community,” Sharon Feazell of Navarre told The Log. “I really like spa certificates that I can give away as gifts.”



Bidding ends Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. Go to auction.thedestinlog.com to register and begin bidding.



Dusty Ricketts assisted in reporting this story.