In December, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. The simplest things — a fir tree, a sugar cookie, a string of lights — transform (poof!) into symbols of the season. This month, we share the festive traditions and events that spark holiday magic in your family — and in ours.
Our editor in chief receives an unexpected Christmas gift — one rooted in a family legacy that continues to live on.
by Alan Hodge
When the folks at the North Pole need a little help, they head to North Carolina Christmas shops and craft fairs for toys, trimmings, and lots of holiday spirit.
We Live Here
by Jodi Helmer
Horse-drawn carriages, carolers on the sidewalks, storefronts aglow with Christmas lights: In December, downtown Statesville is full of comfort and joy. Even after the season ends, the magic lingers.
Christmastime at the Sanderson farm brings family, friends, and neighbors together to craft wreaths for the holidays.
A coffee shop in Cleveland County satisfies cravings for caffeine, conversation, and good company.
by C.A. Carlson
A near-fatal accident led Katye Fredieu to soapmaking to care for her wounds and her community.
by Drew Perry
After five years and countless journeys around North Carolina, The Toad, The Wee, and their parents look ahead to new adventures.
by Sheri Castle
Cherished family recipes, passed down like prized heirlooms, seem extra special on the holiday table. One bite, one whiff, is time travel.
Creating Christmas Magic
Charlie always liked building small towns. Very small towns. Small ceramic towns, to be exact. During the holidays, he has a kindred spirit at the governor’s mansion.
During the Berlin Blockade in 1948, a young pilot launched a mission to drop parachutes of candy to the hungry children of the city. Each December, that same pilot takes to the skies over Manteo to show that one generous gesture is as powerful as ever.
by Jimmy Tomlin
In the 1960s, the Belk department store windows in Thomasville were a Christmas wonderland. Today, a real-life Geppetto brings the wonder of festive shop windows back to life.
Hidden in the woods, McGaha Chapel helped bridge a community’s divisions nearly 150 years ago. At Christmastime, folks still come together here to lift their hopeful voices in holiday song.
Watching the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra play holiday standards never gets old — even when the kids do.
Charlotte Motor Speedway turns into the slow lane at Christmastime, when even NASCAR drivers downshift to take in the sights.
Every Christmas, the jolly man with the white beard collecting mail at the Glen Alpine Post Office dons a red suit and becomes Postmaster Santa.
by Katie King
What began as a hobby to help Judy Barnhardt out of a rough patch became a house full of jolly ol’ St. Nicks — and a way to say thank you.
by C.A. Carlson
Tinsel and twinkling lights, cookies and hot chocolate, and a visit with you-know-who. All aboard the Craggy Mountain Line!
by Drew Perry
A quirky exhibit dedicated to an even quirkier collection brings laughter to the holidays.
A holiday hostess makes sure her friends’ cups run over — with love and eggnog.
The North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival splashes its electric rainbow across the Triangle sky each winter, shining bright during the holiday season.
A card always means more at the end of the year, delivering glad tidings and family news, joy and hope, to mailboxes across North Carolina.
by Mark Kemp
The Santa that so many have been waiting for has already wrapped Oprah’s presents and thousands more since an Apex couple created him for a line of holiday paper and stationery. Soon, he will appear under trees across the state.
Seventy years ago, Elinor Hawkins’s professor asked her to choose a book she’d collect for the rest of her life. She picked “The Night Before Christmas.” Today, she has more than 1,000 copies.
How a dairy farmer from Alamance County ascended the political ladder to become governor, then senator — never forgetting his rural roots along the way.
In early December, seafaring sorts deck the, well, decks with lights and holly, parading their sailboats, yachts, and skiffs along the coast from Morehead City to Beaufort.
Ways to play this month in the Old North State.
The Man Will Never Fly Memorial Society was created in 1959 because, in the words of its founders, they were bored.