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The day after our water dance with manatees in Crystal River we headed across Florida to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. There we checked into our hotel, had a bite and napped, getting ready for a night time kayak excursion in Indian River Lagoon looking for comb jellies.

Caught you being good

My dad called the other day and said he had a fun Christmas surprise for my boys. Knowing my dad this “surprise” could have been anything. This is the man who gave my older son a fake zippo lighter when he was 2 years old. When you popped open the top, it said, “Get ‘er done.”

There are still plenty of children in need this Christmas in Swain County and your donation to the Swain County Family Resource Center could help.

For many of us, Christmas preparations require the endurance of a marathoner and the speed of a lab rat on amphetamines. We hoist a tree in the den, decorate our homes, dash off greeting cards to people we last saw two years ago, race through the mall buying presents and stocking stuffers, plan and prepare a Christmas dinner that would buckle a lesser table, and get sloshed at parties while wearing the hat of an elf. The culture pumps holiday Red Bull into our veins: some radio stations are belting out Bing Crosby before Thanksgiving, by the second week of December films like “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” jam the television, and every church in town offers a concert.

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.

While perusing the vast litany of uplifting Christmas stories, one might not think to probe the mission archives of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Christmas giving in WNC

Christmas is a time of year when communities band together to help others in need, and there’s definitely no shortage of the giving spirit in Western North Carolina. 

Church delivers warmth of meals and companionship on Christmas Day
Meeting a need
WOW helps pay off Christmas layaway purchases
Bryson City bar donates to family resource center
Community helps fulfill a boy’s birthday wish
Crabtree General brings Christmas to Franklin

Caitlin Derico was 11 years old when her family’s Christmas tradition shifted from stockings to service.

What sometimes gets lost amidst the blizzard of radio, television and internet advertising so ubiquitous this time of year is that Christmas is not solely a season of getting, but also a season of giving.

The local dive bar in a small town usually gets a bad rap, but Mickey’s Pub in Bryson City tries to redeem itself every Christmas by giving back to the community.

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