Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Holiday traditions

Posted December 2, 2010

Send me your holiday traditions and I will send you a CD. Now I can't afford to send everyone a copy of Simple Beauty but I will send one to the person with the most unusual or interesting holiday tradition.

One of my favorite holiday traditions starts tonight. It's the annual Christmas Show at Johnston County Community College in Smithfield. I've been doing this for about ten years and it's a barrel of fun. We have great crowds every year for shows Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tonight I will debut a new Christmas song I just finished last weekend in the mountains. We have lots of great performers from around the area.

Another one of my favorite holiday traditions involves music. I've been singing solos at Cary Presbyterian Church on Christmas Eve every year since 1980. One year they turned out the lights for the candlelight part of the service and I couldn't see the music. The next year I bought an Itty Bitty Book Light to help me see.

Moravian sugar cake and freshly squeezed orange juice is served every Christmas morning at our house. That's a sweet tradition. And the Leslies always travel to my sister's house in Ashland, Virginia to listen to the trains, eat Miriam's cheese biscuits and read books by a roaring fire..

What about your favorite holiday traditions?


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  • dnrkearney2 Dec 3, 2010

    Many years ago, my Sister-in-law celebrated my Mothers birthday on the 23rd of Dec.. One of 12 children it was her 1st party ever. As our family grew, there were other homes to celebrate with. We began celebrating our family Christmas on the 23rd. With the passing of Mother in '06 her great-granddaughter would not allow us to not do the same as she had known all her life.
    What we have learned is to be flexible to changes in one anothers lives to spend time with in-laws, while holding onto the family tradition of exchanging presents, remembering Mother and honoring Jesus' birth. To some Christmas is the 25th, to our family it is the 23rd, making new memories, enjoying food,playing games and fellowship, while relaxing and reflecting without a feeling of angst to rush to another place.
    In summary, Mother taught us Christmas is to be enjoyed by all without the hustle bustle. It is not about us, its about Jesus.

  • carleerules123 Dec 3, 2010

    Growing up, my dad's favorite Christmas show was "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." I always watched it with him & when I went away to college, he sent me the book. I started that tradition with my 2 sons, now both teenagers. Tuesday night it was on & my oldest son came in from work & sat down & watched it with me. I had already called my dad to remind him to watch it & he said he already knew & was planning on it. That seems to always start the festivities around my house.

  • Kiteflyer Dec 3, 2010

    Goldsboro has the best beginning to the holiday season. We go downtown for the holiday "Lights Up". There's choirs singing carols on the steps of City Hall, trolley rides, Holiday crafts, Hot chocolate and cookies, a trip to see Santa, and with a flick of a switch the mayor turns on the Christmas lights downtown, There is always "snow" downtown for the festivities. We cap the night off with the NC Symphony at the newly renovated Paramount Theater. The end of the show is always a sing-a-long. That starts our holiday season in a big way. Even though we have adult children they still love this.

  • mallen2 Dec 2, 2010

    Our family begins our celebration on Christmas Eve with down eastern North Carolina barbecue. It is a very casual meal with hush puppies, brunswick stew and lots of snacks. The next day on Chrismtas we have a very traditional meal. Everyone looks forward to our Christmas Eve dinner. I think they like it the best!

  • melodylink Dec 2, 2010

    We have sort of a "progressive-dinner" style celebration that starts on Christmas Eve with our traditional Oyster Stew dinner, followed by Christmas brunch at my parents' house, followed by a cocktail hour at my opera-singer uncle's house complete with songs and/or stories from each member (they get better and better as we knock out bottles of champagne). I look forward to it every year!

  • wolfmom402 Dec 2, 2010

    When we were children my parents always took us to candle light service at church on Christmas Eve and then we came home and Daddy read the story of Jesus's birth from the Bible. Mom had made a cake earlier in the day and put candles on it and then we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus as Daddy said that we were celebrating the birth of Jesus. We did this for many, many years and when my father passed away in April 2006 my brother (only son) picked up the torch and carries on the tradition!

  • mcmags Dec 2, 2010

    One of many traditions we love is the Ephesus Baptist Church live nativity. This is a small church out between Cary and Raleigh. They put on the sweetest show outdoors and you drive thru! It sounds corny, but it is beautiful with singing, real sheep and little boys who play shepherds. My boys are teens now, but they always ask as we near the end of the scene, " Can we go around again?" Love it!

  • genegeneandnancy Dec 2, 2010

    I usually get most of my cooking/baking done during the day on Christmas Eve..nighttime is for just relaxing, reflecting, and riding around various neighborhoods looking at decorations. I'm with "mdoodle"...heading to the Alabama Theater in Myrtle Beach for their awesome Christmas show next week..can't wait. If that doesn't get a person in the holiday spirit, nothing will!!

  • ziradog Dec 2, 2010

    Not really my favorite tradition, but an odd one: every year, on the way to pick out our tree at Tommy Burleson & Sons in Cary, we stop & get our flu shots.

  • happy Dec 2, 2010

    OK...I'll be the odd ball tradition. I always serve tunafish salad on Christmas eve. It serves two purposes. It's a light meal before the feast the next day and it requires little prep work. I always prepare a bunch of my side dishes on Christmas eve and do some last minute shopping so this is my set menu for that day.




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Bill Leslie