The day Santa came to Red Fox Loop: In search of the Christmas spirit in Appalachia

With a frigid wind pushing across the parking lot of the Clyde Volunteer Fire Department last Saturday afternoon, Santa Claus stood at the base of the World Trade Center memorial in front of the building and paid his respects. 

The bright spots of a pandemic holiday

I’ve started listening to Christmas music and it’s not even Thanksgiving, but you know what? It’s 2020 and anything goes. Whatever makes the world feel less heavy is allowable. 

Sylva cancels Christmas parade

The Sylva Town Board has voted unanimously this evening to cancel this year’s Christmas Parade, citing coronavirus concerns.

Downsizing Christmas, meaningful memories

It seems a lot of folks are downsizing Christmas this year, me included. My reasoning is specific to my life and emotions, but nonetheless, there appears to be a general theme: Experience over consumerism. 

Basking in the comfort of holiday traditions

They grow up so fast. Of all the clichés in the parenting handbook, this is the oldest and the truest. Among the things I love most about Christmas is that for a few joyous weeks, the inexorable march of time is held in abeyance by an even greater force: the hope, the peace, and the excitement of Christmas.

Our children are teenagers now, the oldest about to celebrate Christmas with us for the last time before she graduates and starts college in the fall of next year. Next Christmas is likely to feel different, be different, with her home for break. But that is not something we have to deal with today.

Polar Express wraps up another magical season

Hearing the joyful sound of a small silver jingle bell from Santa’s sleigh — it’s what separates those who believe in the spirit of Christmas and those who don’t.

The jingle jangle of the bell comes through loud and clear when we’re children, but can fade away as we get older. Hope is not lost forever though, as children and adults alike are sure to find their Christmas spirit restored aboard The Polar Express train ride. 

Out of touch with the Black Friday banshees

I’ve set my phone on vibrate so that I can watch the game while enjoying my holiday concoction of Chex Mix and mixed nuts without being disturbed, but when the phone buzzes on the night-table, I pause just a moment, then reach for it. I have developed an instinct for bad news, and it is best to hear bad news right away. I learned that watching The Godfather when I was in my teens.

The Naturalist's Corner: Christmas vacation, part deux

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.”

Sponsors, donations needed to provide Christmas for kids

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.

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