Except for the year our daughter, Kayden, got the flu and we had to make the best of spending Christmas at home with one of our youngsters battling a fever of 102, our kids are accustomed to hitting the road pretty early on Christmas Day. Ordinarily, they have no more than a couple of hours to marvel over their presents from Santa before they have to strap in and nestle in the backseat of the car for a long winter’s nap of three hours or so, about the time in takes to get to my hometown of Sparta.
Growing up in Weaverville and living in Waynesville, I’m very comfortable with small town Christmases. I wouldn’t know how to do Christmas in a big city, although I love the thought of trying. Traditions are a big part of anyone’s holiday, but in small-town America where visions of Norman Rockwell permeate the psyche, traditions seem paramount.
A crew of more than 50 volunteers from the community decorated Lake Junaluska for the holiday season, including the Rose Walk, the Bethea Welcome Center, the gazebos along the walking trail, the Inspiration Point garden and more.
I don’t like following crowds and have a naturally occurring cynicism of trends. That said, there’s one holiday promotional movement that strikes a real chord with me.
I’m talking about the “Small Business Saturday” or “Shop Small Saturday,” whatever name one chooses as a label. It’s this Saturday (Nov. 27), and the concept is to shop at the privately owned businesses in large and small towns across the nation as a way of supporting all they do to help their local communities.
It seems the holiday shopping season comes sooner and sooner every year. Before the turkey has even cooled people are lined up outside the big box retailers waiting for their chance to snag the best deals of the season.
The holiday season is upon us and shoppers are crowding malls and discount stores to buy the latest gadgets and find the best deals.
Dogs don’t require much to fulfill their material needs — food, water, a comfy napping spot and regular outdoor excursions, and they’re good to go.
If battling the crowds on Black Friday doesn’t appeal to you, or if you just can’t seem to find the perfect gift for the family members who already have everything, consider making a donation to a local charity.
Throughout my entire life, I’ve awoken on New Year’s Day energized to be more, do more, see more. This year was very different. I woke up wanting to do less, to simplify everything. I woke up feeling steadfast, reflective.
My mom’s been by my side for 36 holiday seasons, so the first one without her felt strange and melancholy. Thinking back on the last couple of months, there are some bright spots like snuggling on the couch watching movies under the glow of the Christmas tree, making gingerbread houses with the whole family, and visiting my sister and niece in D.C. for a mommy and kid weekend.
Standing in the lobby of North Canton Elementary School last Friday morning, one could hear and witness the frenzied nature of students and faculty alike, all eager for the upcoming holidays. And though Christmas is just around the corner, one might think otherwise with the unusually green front lawn and warm sunshine cascading across the mountains of Western North Carolina.
Passing by doorways full of smiling faces, the cinematic sounds of “The Polar Express” and Christmas music echo down the hallways. Turning into Mrs. Christina Roberts and Mrs. Carol Harkins kindergarten classroom, the teachers are wrangling all 15 of their students that day in preparation to get the space in order for their special guests.