A new year brings us much to think about. We need to decide to let go of those things that have not served us well in the past; to consider with what things to continue to move forward and improve; and what new things we might enjoy learning to do that will also expand our lives in some way. This is what new year resolutions are really about. Letting go is usually the most difficult decision and yet it needs to be the first step because trying to move forward with heavy baggage dragging us down is next to impossible. However, sometimes it is easier to first think about what we really want to do, which will in turn give us the impetus we need for letting go. There are numerous opportunities in Brunswick County, NC for learning new things – for turning our lives around – for learning who we are and how we can be an integral part of other lives.

A good place to start is at Brunswick Community College ( At the college you can learn just about anything from learning to paint, to playing the guitar, to earning a GED or an associates degree, to estate planning and much more.

If you have an interest in local history, you might consider becoming a docent at the Old Brunswick Jail in Southport, NC ( The jail is administered under the auspices of the historical society and is a good starting place to more information.

If you have always wanted to learn to surf or to sail a boat, check out The Sail Shop on Bald Head Island, NC (



Christmas is a time for giving. We gather together with family and friends. We give tangible gifts. We give gifts of ourselves. We give gifts of time. It’s also a good time to think of giving to the community at large. It’s a good time to understand that giving to the community does not have to be financial giving. There are many people who are struggling not only through the holidays, but throughout the year. It is the giving of ourselves – of our time – that can often be most beneficial. Think about how you might be of help. There are many agencies in Brunswick County, NC that rely on the public to help the individuals and families that they serve. Here are a few to consider:

Providence Home in Southport, NC: (

Brunswick Family Assistance Agency (

Hope Harbor Home (


One of the main reasons immigrants to the new world gave up most of their worldly possessions and endured treacherous voyages across the wild and green Atlantic Ocean was because of their search for religious freedom. And so, many original towns were either established around churches or churches were built there soon after the towns were established. Religious freedom is an important part of life in the United States. Though the original churches in Brunswick County, NC are Christian churches, you will find Jewish Synagogues in nearby Wilmington, NC and a Buddhist Temple on Midway Road in Bolivia, NC. You will also meet people who find their spiritualism next to the sea. There are many spiritual places on Oak Island which are recognized by those who tune themselves in to the universe. Because the first European settlers were Christian, the historic churches are Christian churches. They are interesting to people of all faiths because of their architecture and their beauty. Here are a few that you may enjoy visiting:

St. Philip’s Parish at Old Brunswick Town State Historic Site in Winnabow, NC ( is the oldest and the only Colonial church in southeastern, NC.

Photo by Alice Paul Gray

The Chapel of the Cross at St. Philip’s in Southport, NC (

Trinity United Methodist Church in Southport, NC (


December is zipping by at lightning speed and most of us are busy decorating, making and purchasing gifts, wrapping gifts, planning menus, baking cookies, trying to figure out how we will fit everyone at the table, sending greetings, making travel plans, and on and on. It can be fun if we don’t allow it to become stressful – and it gets us in the mood of the season. Don’t let all this busyness stop you from enjoying yourself – from taking time to participate in the many events that celebrate the season. Brunswick County, NC offers so many events that you can pick and choose which ones to enjoy. Many of these events are free and those that are not often benefit less fortunate children and families so, please, give generously. Here are a few coming up this weekend:

On Saturday, 12/13, the Southport Winterfest Christmas Tour of Homes ( allows you a peek into seven lovely homes in Southport where you can get decorating ideas for your own home. The proceeds benefit student scholarships.

On 12/12, 13 & 14, Brunswick Little Theatre ( presents ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’ in their theater on River Road in Southport, NC.

On the afternoon of Sunday, 12/14, you can experience An 18th Century Christmas ( at Brunswick Town/ Fort Anderson State Historic Site in Winnabow, NC, which ends with a candlelit service in the ruins of St. Phillips Anglican Church.


Christmas means many things to many people and the diversity of celebrations is what brings us together. The significance of the holiday, itself, is new hope for each of us and for the whole world. We celebrate giving – the giving of gifts – the giving of the gift of ourselves. We share food and love and family and memories – some of them joyful – some of them sad – and yet they all bring us closer. Most of us, especially those of us with children, enjoy tree lightings and almost every community stages a parade. A parade means music and fun and in the NC Brunswick Islands, it also means golf carts and, sometimes, boats. Here are just a few of the parades you might want to attend – after all – they are held on different dates or at different times, so why not fill your days with fun and attend all of them?

Oak Island, December 6, 2 PM – Christmas by the Sea Parade: (

Calabash, December 5, 6 PM –¬†Calabash Tree Lighting & Spirit of Calabash Parade (

Southport, December 13, 7 PM – Christmas Flotilla: (