TREE LIGHTINGS & PARADES

Tomorrow is December 1st, the Christmas season is upon us and it will be starting with a busy first weekend. The Oak Island Christmas Tree Lighting events will begin at 5:30 PM tomorrow at Middleton Park in the Town of Oak Island, NC. If your kids participate in the Gingerbread Beach House Contest (four divisions: ages 6-12, 1-17, 18 & up, and families) at the Oak Island Recreation Center, they will receive their prizes at the tree lighting and their gingerbread houses will be on display from 12/1 through 12/56.

The last 1st Friday Gallery Walk of the year will take place in Southport, NC on Friday as well Beginning at 5 PM you can stroll the streets enjoying the holiday decorations and stop in each gallery for food, drink and that special Christmas gift you have not been able to find anywhere else.

If you live in or near Calabash, NC, on Friday evening you can enjoy the Calabash Tree Lighting & Spirit of Calabash Parade all rolled into one.

On Saturday, December 2, you and your family can head out to Oak Island, NC to enjoy the Christmas by the Sea Parade beginning at 2 PM. You can head on out to the Boiling Spring Lakes Community Center at 5 PM to take part in their Christmas Festival until 8 PM. Don’t forget the Sea Notes Holiday Concert, Peace on Earth. Don’t worry if you can’t make the 3 PM Concert on Saturday, December 2 at the Odell Williamson Auditorium in Bolivia, NC – they will be doing it all again on Sunday December 3, same time, same place.

Also, on Sunday, December 3, the Oak Island Beautification Club will hold a holiday bake sale and craft bazaar at the Oak Island Recreation Center in Oak Island, NC, from noon until 4 PM.

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ART, ART & ART

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No, I’m not stuttering. This weekend seems dedicated to the arts in Southport, NC and Oak Island, NC, and good timing, too. All of a sudden it’s November and we all wonder where the year went. Many of us have not even thought about Christmas shopping yet, much less having started to find those special unique gifts for our loved ones. If unique is what you want; if handmade is what you want; if local is what you want, then the best place to find it is where you find art. After all, art is not just paintings. Check out Arts by the Shore in Oak Island, NC this weekend and you will see just what I mean. There will be a reception and awards ceremony on Sunday afternoon where you can meet the artists who created your favorite pieces. You can even vote for a People’s Choice award.

Tonight, Friday, is the first Friday of November. The First Friday Gallery Walk in Southport, NC gives you another chance to search for those special gifts, or, perhaps something for yourself or your home. The galleries involved in this event offer yummy munchies and drinks free of charge as well. So, take yourself down to Franklin Square Gallery for paintings and pottery; to Ricky Evans Art @ 211 for paintings, pottery, stained glass and more; and to Lantana’s Gallery & Fine Gifts for a whole range of interesting things.

Franklin Square Gallery will be featuring the opening of their Holiday Boutique. If you don’t find what you are looking for, come back again and again. Admission is free and the items in the boutique will be changing as local artists bring in more and more.

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CHRISTMAS GIVING

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: (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/volunteer/children-services/providence-home-of-the-family-emergency-teen-shelter-inc/profile/)

Brunswick Family Assistance Agency (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/volunteer/human-services/brunswick-family-assistance-agency/profile/)

Hope Harbor Home (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/volunteer/human-services/hope-harbor-home/profile/)

EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE!

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: (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/annual-events/december/christmas-by-the-sea-parade/profile/)

Calabash, December 5, 6 PM – Calabash Tree Lighting & Spirit of Calabash Parade (http://oceanislebeach.insiderinfo.us/annual-events/december/calabash-tree-lighting-and-golf-cart-parade/profile/)

Southport, December 13, 7 PM – Christmas Flotilla: (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/annual-events/december/southport-winterfest-christmas-flotilla/profile/)

Nuts to You!

Nutcrackers - christmas Wallpaper

Do you know that nutcrackers existed as far back as 8,000 years ago? Well, yeah, they were stones, but those were the original nutcrackers. Metal, brass and iron nutcrackers came along much later and were designed for usefulness rather than beauty. It was not until the 15th and 16th centuries that woodcarvers began carving beautiful nutcrackers. The carving of nutcrackers in the likeness of animals and humans began in the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1872, the first commercial production of nutcrackers was begun by Wilhelm Füchtner, the “father of the nutcracker.” And now we find many styles available, especially during the Christmas season, and many people collect these interesting, decorative objects. 

Today, when I think of nutcrackers, I think of the decorative toy soldiers. But as a child, I did not know of such things. Walnuts were a staple in the six Christmas stockings that hung in our home, but even using the metal nutcracker was beyond our strength. Daddy became our nutcracker – literally – because he had such strong hands he could crack the walnuts without the use of a tool. So, here’s to the family nutcracker whose hands are now at rest. 

I’ll be Home for Christmas

You can visit seven homes besides your own on December 14 in Southport, NC. The Southport Tour of Homes sponsored by the Southport Historical Society will be held on that day from 2 PM until 7 PM. Proceeds will go to scholarships for seniors at South Brunswick High School. This tour will be held early enough for you to get some decorating ideas for your own home. The homes on the tour range from the Asa Dosher House built in the 1890s and on the National Register of Historic Places, to a new home built in 2012 and designed by local architect, Rich Bandera. In addition to the holiday decorations, you will enjoy the architectural elements of these homes including;
handmade doors
heart pine floors
a claw foot tub
a masonry fireplace
a deck built around a live oak tree
a handmade pine counter top
banks of windows
views of the Cape Fear river
reclaimed hardwood floors
Southport bows
hand-worked carpentry
old barn board floors
an arched brick fireplace
So, come to these homes for Christmas and walk on down to the waterfront for the flotilla afterwards. Make some more hometown memories again this year.

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly…..

…and the Old Sunset Beach Bridge, too!

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From 1958 until the construction of a high rise bridge in 2011, a one lane wooden slat pontoon bridge, opened and closed by way of hinges and cables operated by winches, served as the only route to and from the Island of Sunset Beach, NC. The bridge had several incarnations as repair work required that it be removed from the water on several occasions leaving crossing by boat the only way of crossing the waterway. In the 1980s discussions began concerning the building of a new high rise bridge. Some home owners objected because they liked the easy pace of living required by the very nature of the bridge and the sound of the horn announcing the opening and closing of the bridge to boat traffic on the Intracoastal Waterway. Some thought a new bridge would lead to more development. Others were concerned about environmental damage. Eventually, progress won out and the new bridge was finished in 2011. Residents were concerned about what would happen to the old pontoon bridge and formed the Old Bridge Preservation Society. This group, with the help of Ronnie and Clarice Holden who donated the land, arranged for the old bridge to be relocated to a lovely spot under the live oak trees. The bridge that sat so many years in the brackish water, now rests on a shady spot of land.

So what does all of this have to do with a Christmas Carol?  The Old Bridge Preservation Society holds events at the bridge throughout the year for fun and fund raising. The next event upcoming is: 

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