CHRISTMAS VILLAGE & REINDEER

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The days are flying by as Christmas approaches and people are busy getting ready for their own special celebrations. As you are doing this, don’t forget to enjoy each day. On Saturday, December 16, you can purchase those last minute decorations and gifts while enjoying the day at the same time. Just head into Shallotte, NC to the new Christmas Village in Mulberry Park at 123 Mulberry Street. From 11 Am until 3 PM you can visit 50 vendors and purchase holiday decorations, gifts, veggies, cider and more. Santa will be there and there will be hayrides, children’s crafts, and a big band Christmas show. The contact for information is Emilee Sinclair at: 910-754-4032 or esinclair@townofshallotte.org.

Got an ugly Christmas sweater? Want to show it off? Like to run races? Check out the Southport Ugly Sweater 5K and Reindeer Run (a 1 mile walk/run) with or without antlers. The run begins Saturday, December 16 at 8 AM on Bay Street in Southport, NC, so signup at coastalraceproductions.com (use code Southport20). Coffee, hot chocolate and cookies will be available after the race and the event supports the NC Fourth of July Festival.

VANCOUVER, CANADA - DECEMBER 13, 2014: Hundreds of runners and walkers celebrated Christmas by participating in The Ugly Sweater Run 5K in Vancouver, Canada, on December 13, 2014.

If you are yearning to attend just one more Christmas Parade, you are in luck.  Bolivia, NC will hold its Christmas Parade beginning at 6 PM on Saturday, December 16. The parade will begin at the Brunswick County Government Center and follow Old Ocean Highway to Bolivia. Enjoy!

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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THANKSGIVING, ART & A FLOTILLA

I am sure most people are busy with Thanksgiving preparations, or looking forward to sharing the day with family, friends and loved ones. But don’t forget to be thankful for those family members, friends, or even acquaintances who are alone. This time of year can be a bit sad for them. Give thanks for their presence in your life by including them in your celebration. Invite them to share the day in your home, or take a plate full of Thanksgiving goodies by their homes and spend some time with them.

The day after Thanksgiving, of course, has become known as Black Friday, and the day after that as Shop Small (or local) Saturday. Please remember when you are planning your holiday gifts that a gift of art is a gift from the heart and it helps to sustain the artists who made it. There is a number of places in Brunswick County, NC where you can shop for original art. One of them is the annual Smith Island Art League Thanksgiving Show, which will be held on Friday and Saturday, November 24th and 25th, at the Bald Head Island Association Center in Bald Head Island, NC. Browsing is welcomed as well.

Flotillas are some of the loveliest of parades – parades on the water – that are held during the holiday season. The first flotilla of the season, the Ocean Isle Beach Flotilla, will be held on Saturday, November 25, in Ocean Isle Beach, NC, beginning at dusk. This flotilla will include a party afterwards as well as an auction to benefit a local Brunswick County charity.

If you decide to skip the shopping on Friday, you can take the kids and head on over to Wilmington, NC – just across the Cape Fear River. There you can enjoy the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA Battleship Ho Ho Ho. This event promises to be interesting and fun for adults and children alike. Be sure to take your camera for greats pics.

Santa at the Battleship

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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GIVE THANKS – SHOP SMALL

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us and people are rushing around finishing their last minute grocery shopping or starting their cooking for the big day. We all have so much to be thankful for though we sometimes lose sight of that fact, so having a day set aside for giving thanks is helpful to get us remembering those things. Many people will be getting together with friends and family to share a bountiful meal, love and laughter. I would like you to remember that there are those who live alone and/or are ill who may be spending the day by themselves. What a lift it would be for them to receive a phone call – just to say I am thinking of you – I am thankful for you. While you are at it, be sure to thank the water and the earth and the ocean and the sky and the sun – and don’t forget the turkey.

The day after Thanksgiving, as you well know, is known as Black Friday. All the major stores have huge sales and it is recognized as the beginning of Christmas shopping. Yo may be big into Black Friday, but I would suggest that you think about the Shop Small weekend. Instead of fighting the crowds at the big stores, take a look at what your small shops have to offer and support your neighbors at the same time. Here is a list of shops you might want to check out:

Angelwing Needle Arts

Boo & Roo’s

Bullfrog Corner

Cape Fear Jewelers

Lantana’s Gallery & Fine Gifts

Ocean Outfitters

Bald Head Blues

Coastroad Hearth & Patio

Mystical Reflections

The Blue Heron Gallery

Franklin Square Gallery

Artshak

 

A CRAFTY WEEKEND

Today is the first Friday in November. That means the First Friday Gallery Walk will be taking place this evening from 5PM until 7PM in Southport, NC.  Each gallery will be serving food and drinks and offering arty stuff for sale as well as a fun social experience. The walk includes: Art@211/The Ricky Evans Gallery, Lantana’s Gallery & Fine Gifts, and Franklin Square Gallery. Franklin Square Gallery will be featuring their annual Holiday Treasures Boutique where you can begin your local shopping for unique gifts and decorations. Can’t make the gallery walk? The boutique will be open Mondays through Saturdays, 10AM until  5PM through December 14.

The annual Holly Days Event will be held at the Southport Gym on Saturday.
Arts by the Shore will be held today, tomorrow and Sunday at the Recreation Center in the Town of Oak Island, NC – giving you three days from which to choose – or you can visit all three! Art in many genres will be entered into the show by local artists. The show will be judged and winning artists will be awarded ribbons at the reception on Sunday at 2PM.

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/)