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.

Forget the frenzy, settle in with a book

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.

Lake Junaluska decorates for Christmas

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.

The very first Christmas (in space)

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

Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.