The only thing better than a discounted gift certificate is a discounted gift certificate from a local retailer.



Toward that end, The Destin Log and its sister Halifax Media Group newspapers in the area have launched the first ever Emerald Coast Holiday Auction. It’s billed as the largest ever gift certificate auction on the Emerald Coast.



The gift card has become a staple of the gift-giving Christmas season. And Destin Log readers now have a chance to purchase nearly $150,000 worth of gift certificates from more than 90 local businesses.



The auction is perfect if your shopping list includes jewelry, high fashion, furniture, a remodeled kitchen or bathroom, professional photos, a new vacuum, or surfing gear. For the more active among us, consider bidding on a gift certificate for some rounds of golf, a personal trainer, dance lessons, a gym membership or even martial arts classes.



If you’d rather give the gift of relaxation in the form of good Emerald Coast eats, a spa treatment, a professional mani/pedi or a hotel vacation package, we have you covered there too.



People can view the selections online now at thedestinlog.com before the bidding begins Nov. 25.



The idea for the auction originated with Steve Krammes, advertising director for the Northwest Florida Daily News, who organized similar auctions while working at the Fosters Daily Democrat in Dover, N.H.



“People love gift certificates for Christmas presents, and we worked the timing so the bidding will start on Sunday, Nov. 25, just a couple of days after Black Friday and the day before Cyber Monday,” Krammes said.



Area businesses have pledged a combined $148,453 in gift certificates for the auction, which launched online at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 25. Bidding will end at 8 p.m. Dec. 2. The minimum bid for each gift certificate will start at 50 percent of its actual value. People will be able to go to www.thedestinlog.com and click on the auction banner to register and begin bidding.



Click here to begin bidding.



Krammes said the program is designed to promote local businesses while minimizing the cost to them.



The Log has already started promoting the businesses participating in the auction and will publish a special section on the program in the Nov. 24 edition of the paper.



Regardless of how much the gift certificate sells for in the auction, as long as it does sell, the newspaper will provide the business the full retail value of the gift certificate in advertising credit, while the newspaper will retain the revenue from the actual auction.



“I’ve always thought of it as a win-win-win for the retailers, the customers and our company,” Krammes said.