December 2012

Christmas Stories: Original fiction by North Carolina’s best writers. Christmastown USA. Our recipes for Holiday Sweets.


  • Our State Readers’ Choice 2012: Vote for your favorite cover, story, photo essay, recipe, and video of 2012. We’ll post the winners the last week of December!
  • December Issue Premiere: See video highlights from the premiere of our December 2012 issue at a special event in Hillsborough.
  • Breakfast Recipe Exchange: Send us your favorite breakfast recipes and we’ll share a selection at and in our January recipe newsletter. Email your recipe to
  • Featured Author Reading List: Print a complete list of work by the 7 authors whose original Christmas stories are featured in this issue.
  • Holiday Soundtrack: Hear North Carolina recording artists’ renditions of holiday favorites.
  • More McAdenville: If you can’t make it to see the lights at Christmastown USA this year, enjoy a slideshow guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit.
  • Making of the Issue: Pen & Ink: Our State’s editorial designer and artist Jason Chenier shows you how he created the illustrations you see featured in each of our Christmas fiction stories.
  • Making the Issue: Food Photo Shoot: Go behind the scenes at this month’s recipe photo shoot as photographer Matt Hulsman and recipe tester Wendy Perry aim for the perfect mouthwatering shot.
  • Orchids: Wondering about the orchids featured in this month’s gardening story? See the official names of all 18 plants in the opening photograph.
  • Sweepstakes & Giveaways: Click for a listing of current sweepstakes.


Christmas at the Grove Park Inn

Photography by Stacey Van Berkel
On the eve of its 100th birthday, The Grove Park Inn in Asheville invites you to come. Next year, this mountain resort will celebrate a century of playing host to millionaires, ambassadors, and presidents. Although it’s as grand today as it was when the doors opened in 1913, it is not exclusive. Inside the granite walls, the inn is rich and warm and welcoming. And this time of year, it glows with the adornments of the season.


The Civil War: A Family’s War by Philip Gerard

Illustration by David Stanley
Seven Men from Alamance County fight under the same flag, not only as soldiers, but also as family.
Volume 2, Part twelve

It Takes an Orchestra by Michael Graff

Photography by Travis Dove
The North Carolina Symphony celebrates its 80th season with a colorful cast of characters, a complex composition, and an ear for yesterday.

The Lights of McAdenville by Ryan McGee

Photography by Emily Chaplin
A half-century ago, residential goodwill and the generosity of a local textile mill owner put this little Gaston County town in the Christmas spotlight.

Christmas Fiction

Photography by Brent Clark
North Carolina has many gifts, one of which is the many gifted people living within our borders. Seven of them – seven of our state’s finest writers – wrote original, never-before-published stories just for us. And these stories are our gift to you.

One Particular Christmas… by Allan Gurganus

Holiday by Jill McCorkle

Christmas Eve 2012 with the Funeral Militia in Listre, North Carolina by Clyde Edgerton

A Cedar for Christmas by Margaret Maron

Three a.m. and the Stars were Out by Ron Rash

Christmas Longings by Elizabeth Spencer

The Replacement by Daniel Wallace



A Handmade Christmas by Elizabeth Hudson

Photography by Sara Brennan-Harrell

Our State Quiz

County Superlatives by Alan Hodge

Photography courtesy of Chowan County Tourism Development Authority
From west to east, almost every North Carolina county has something to brag about.

Carolina Culture

Magnificent Stitches by Kristin Davis

Photography by Bill Bunting
The Calvary Church Needlepoint Guild creates brilliant images of animals and nature that are sometimes years in the making.

A Forgotten Star by Josh Shaffer

Photography courtesy of North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library
Kay Kyser once was the darling of Hollywood, but his name faded from radio charts after he returned to his North Carolina home.

Spreading the Secret by David Hall

Photography by Bert VanderVeen
The North Carolina Literary Review incorporates photos and art with stories and poems and takes a scholarly publication one step further.

Book Review

  • Sending Christmas Cards to Huck and Hamlet by Joseph Mills

Tar Heel Town

Maggie Valley by Michael Graff

Photography by Emily Chaplin
An eccentric town in a mysterious mountain setting bursts with individual flare. And its residents, both old and new, have happily decided that works for them.

Tar Heel History

The Father of Vicks by Jimmy Tomlin

Photography courtesy of Greensboro Historical Museum
We know it for its smell. We know it for its healing powers. Vicks VapoRub has been a household staple for a century, but the man who made it famous is still a mystery.

Good Food

Biscuits, Hayrides, and Christmas Trees by Jeffrey Turner

Photography by Joshua Curry
A farm in Back Swamp has a collection of country comforts that make it worth a stop.

Stack Cake Christmas by Jeffrey Turner

Photography by Matt Hulsman
For four generations, one family has relied on one recipe to create a 10-layer tradition.


  • Old-Fashioned Stack Cake
  • Sweet Cinnamon Biscuits
  • Corn Fritters

Sweetest History Lesson by Leah Hughes

Photography by Joey and Jessica Seawell
Crumbly, thin, and fragile, Moravian cookies pack a lot into a little disk.

Carolina Gardening

Wall of Orchids by Caroline McMillan

Photography by Emily Chaplin
Inside a glass house in Belmont, these finicky flowers find an ideal environment.

Mistletoe by Leah Hughes

Photography by
This plant remains hidden most of the year, but come Christmas it’s a symbol of the season.

Dates and Events

Christmas on Sunset by Chip Womick

Photography by Joey and Jessica Seawell
Asheboro celebrates Christmas the old-fashioned way.

5 Christmas Things Every North Carolinian Should Do This Month

Shiloh Christmas Tea, Sanford Christmas Parade, Edenton Christmas Candlelight Tour, Singing Christmas Tree, and “Musical Holiday”.

Tar Heel Image

Christmas Carriage by Gail Jones of Winston-Salem

Historic Bethabara Park, Winston-Salem