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Christmas

Christmas 2011 $1.50

in the Southern Triad

The Essence of Santa Cliff Snider is more than a red suit and a beard

Holiday Recipes & Traditions The True Meaning Of Christmas

Area Pastors reflect on Christ’s birth PLUS: A look at Holidays from other local leaders from different cultures & religons

from our readers hearts & homes to yours

Holiday Calendar of Events along with Resources for Giving Back


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Being a father was rewarding Being a grandparent of twins is special

Watching Delaney and Rutledge open their presents is a joy, and I treasure their appreciative smiles. Someday I will no longer be with them to open their presents, but they will smile when they get a Christmas check from Grand Daddy Mike each and every Christmas for the remainder of their lives. I believe I will see those smiles from above when they open their check each year and remember I loved them enough to plan their Christmas gift to continue after I was gone.

To arrange for your ongoing gift contact

Michael Smith CLU, CLTC 889-6220 86 Hillcrest Drive, High Point www.sterling-fs.com


contents 6 The Essence of Santa Experiencing Christmas as few of us ever get to do.

9 Project Santa Claus

Silver Valley community annually celebrates season of giving.

12 Santas Network

“All things Claus” emerge at summer gatherings.

14 Events and Parades

Plenty of opportunity to get into spirit of the season.

17 Archdale Anniversary

Christmas parade celebrates 40 years.

19 Thomasville Tradition

Annual Christmas parade provides nearly a century of memories.

20 Let there be light!

Thomasville Medical Center offers one-of-a-kind holiday greeting.

23 Spirit of the Season

Southern Triad residents celebrate in a wide variety of ways.

24 Giving Back

More than two dozen organizations focus on making Christmas meaningful in the Southern Triad.

25 The True Meaning of Christmas

Area pastors reflect on the true reason for the season.

29 Culturally Different

Those from other cultures and religions also celebrate during this season of the year.

31 Cheer Fund

SerCo project began with just one child, now hundreds benefit.

34 Readers’ Traditions

From Great Cookie Swap to Paper Fight, find out how local readers celebrate the holidays.

36 Readers’ Recipes

Resist the temptation to drool as you peruse these pages of goodies.

Christmas in the Southern Triad is a special publication of The High Point Enterprise, Thomasville Times and Archdale Trinity News. Publisher: Jodi Brookshire | Editors: Tom Blount and Joe Feeney Design: Leslie Long | Advertising Director: John McClure The High Point Enterprise 210 Church Ave., High Point, NC 27262 | 336.888.3500


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The Essence of With his long, curly white beard, rosy cheeks, wire-framed spectacles, plump belly and, most importantly, his giving heart, High Point’s Cliff Snider typifies what jolly ol’ St. Nick is all about Story: Jimmy Tomlin, The High Point Enterprise | Photos: Larry Hersberger, Kissing Tree Studio

Every December, as skeptical children tug

at Cliff Snider’s curly, white beard, the Ghost of Christmas Past tugs ever so gently at his heart. The tugs at his beard may sting a little, but the tugs at his heart can bring tears. “Dad loved Christmas,” the High Point man says as he gazes at an old black-and-white snapshot of his father, the late Robert Clifton Snider, and the rest of the family. “It was always one of his favorite times of the year.” It’s an odd observation coming from Snider, because honestly, nobody loves Christmas like he does. You think children and retailers get wide-eyed this time of year? Snider starts getting excited about Christmas in August. You see,  • Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011

for more than 40 years, Snider has experienced Christmas in a way most of us will never get to – through the eyes of jolly ol’ St. Nick himself. Snider – he of the long, white beard, rosy cheeks, wire-framed spectacles and plump belly – knows the joy of the season intimately. The man has an entire wardrobe of handmade Santa costumes and accessories. His car’s license plate reads “C U 12-24.” The window decal: “Got Toys?” He has business cards and a driver’s license – a sleigh driver’s license, issued by the North Pole – identifying himself as Santa Claus. He has his own web site (www.cliffkringle.net) and signs his emails as “Santa Cliff.” He has converted a garage apartment behind


his house into “The Santa Claus House,” which is filled with Santa memorabilia. And he says his father loved Christmas? Maybe, but the son – who sees his unbridled love for Christmas as a gift from his late father – not only loves Christmas, he embraces it. To understand Snider’s love for Christmas, you have to know how it began. In September 1962, when Cliff was only 15, his father died in a car crash near Kinston. Already a shy, overweight teen, Cliff was shattered “There was by his father’s something death and withdrew even more. That about the Christmas, though, Santa persona the youth group at Cliff’s church – putting on a needed someone to wig and a beard play Santa Claus at a local mission, and – that sort of Cliff got the role. “I disguised who I was the fattest kid in the group,” he really was and explains, recalling enabled me to try he wore a cheap to be the friendly, corduroy Santa suit and a cotton wig and jolly person I beard for the visit. As he handed out toys wanted to be...” to kids and helped them decorate a small Christmas tree, ho-ho-hoing for all he was worth, the experience magically transformed him from a shy, brokenhearted boy into a more confident young man with a sense of purpose. “There was something about the Santa persona – putting on a wig and a beard – that sort of disguised who I really was and enabled me to try to be the friendly, jolly person I wanted to be,” Cliff says. “I really believe that what was almost a joke – picking the fattest boy in the class to be Santa – was God’s way of saying, ‘This is something you can do to bring joy to other people’s lives.’ And I really feel like it was an

opportunity for me to get over some of the sadness that was in my heart from losing my dad.” Almost every Christmas since then, Cliff has donned the familiar red suit to play Santa – for his family, for his friends’ families, at office parties, in Christmas parades, you name it. Since 2000, he has reigned as the official Santa Claus of the High Point Holiday Parade, fulfilling a longtime dream of his. He also served as the signature Santa for Castle McCulloch’s “Christmas Castle” event, and does 40 to 50 other Santa gigs every Christmas season. In more recent years, Cliff has even done some modeling for artists painting pictures of Santa Claus – a testament to Cliff’s realism as the jolly ol’ elf. “I haven’t met a single person who has seen Cliff and said he didn’t represent the Santa they always remembered growing up,” says Spencer artist Cara Reische, who has used Cliff as the model for several of her holiday paintings. “He has a classic Santa beauty – his look is timeless.” Cliff strives for realism. After a few years of playing Santa, he grew tired of kids yanking on his fake beard, so he grew the real thing instead and got rid of his razor. “I haven’t shaved

Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011 • 


since 1972,” he says. Every year around Halloween, he bleaches his beard snowy-white in preparation for a full two months of Santa duty. Santa Cliff even has a “Bachelor of Santa Claus” degree from the International University of Santa Claus and is a graduate of the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Midland, Mich., where he learned the finer points of all things Claus. For Cliff, the school’s teaching cemented what he already believed about the requirements of portraying Santa Claus. “Santas come in all sizes, all shapes, all backgrounds,” he says. “Some look more like Santa than others. Some have a natural beard, and some don’t. Some have really fancy suits, and some have

 • Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011

cheap suits. But a good Santa doesn’t come from the outward appearance – it comes from what’s inside of his heart. And if he has a love for children and a desire to make the experience real for the children, that’s what makes a good Santa.” That’s the essence of who Santa Cliff Snider is and what he’s about. It’s not his ho-ho-ho that makes him Santa – it’s his heart. Jimmy Tomlin is a staff writer at The High Point Enterprise and can be reached at: jtomlin@hpe.com | 888-3579 . Photos courtesy of Larry Hersberger, Kissing Tree Studio, High Point


Silver Valley Project Santa Claus: a 45-year tradition Story by: Gary Arnold

T

he Silver Valley Civitan Project Santa Claus was born 45 years ago on Christmas Eve 1966. Troy Jarrell stepped from his home to his next door neighbor, Sam Arnold, about 6:30 p.m. The Arnold family was about to eat their holiday evening meal. Jarrell requested that Arnold join him in assisting Denton Operation (now Project) Santa Claus to find homes of needy families in Silver Valley. Leaving supper behind and venturing into the cold, the two Civitan members joined in delivering gifts. They worked until past 1 a.m. with the Dr. Ken Gobel dressed in red. The next morning, Arnold could barely eat breakfast for thinking about what he had seen the night before. He never imagined the conditions some local families endured every day. Arnold, the Silver Valley Civitan Club 1966-67 president along with Jarrell, reported to the club the conditions they had witnessed. Through their leadership, the club took responsibility for its community and established its own Project Santa Claus beginning in 1967. Bobby Garner of Denton founded the Denton project more than 50 years ago. The club, with support of the community, will continue the tradition with the 45th edition in 2011. Arnold, Jarrell and Gobel are now deceased, but the tradition continues. From the first gifts in 1967 to the presents of 2010, it is estimated that Project Santa Claus has served an estimated 3,500 children in more than 1,200 families. Hundreds of volunteers, many establishing Project Santa as part of their Christmas tradition, have contributed well over 10,000 hours. In 2010, gifts with an estimated value of $13,000 were distributed to nearly 360 people. Sixty-two families in need, with a total of 120 children, received toys and clothing. Food was distributed to 35 households. The project requires approximately 350 to 400 hours each year to compile lists, visit families, purchase and gather gifts then

sort, wrap and distribute them. Fifty to 70 volunteers give their time each Christmas season. About a week before Christmas a handful of elves with Santa visits Kateland Family Care, a community assisted living home, to deliver presents. On Christmas Eve, or the Saturday before if it falls on Sunday, the Santa Brigade delivery team gathers 25 to 30 strong. Squads first deliver fruit to about 120 seniors, widowed and other individuals. The gifts are a reminder that the recipients are remembered and appreciated during the holiday season. They regroup, adding a few more elves and Santa. Two teams deliver to families in need while two other teams deliver to people with disabilities until early afternoon. Each volunteer then departs to join their own families to celebrate Christmas knowing they have fully participated in the season of sharing. They have given gifts with no expectation of anything tangible in return. They are blessed with the Christmas spirit. The students of Silver Valley Elementary School gathered food items. Principal Gary Ball, now retired, started the tradition of the students helping their classmates. South Davidson Family Resource Center has assisted the Civitan Club in obtaining food for the past 14 years. They continued on page 11 Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011 • 


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Joyce Parrish, Tony Pope and Harold Parrish loading formed the 2004 delivery team. Photo by Gary Arnold. continued from page 9 provided purchases from the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina. Members of South Davidson High School Junior Civitan Club address envelopes for Christmas cards to be mailed by PSC. They also wrap boxes, sort clothes and food as well as help deliver. Community support also includes assistance from churches, businesses, students, friends and neighbors. They provided the project with contributions of food, toys, bicycles, monies and their time. An anonymous Christmas angel has stepped forward the past four consecutive years to provide a generous monetary gift to help bring holiday cheer to the many families. The first Project Santa Headquarters was in the storeroom of Jarrell’s Supermarket. Other locations over the years were the former Valley Furniture, both current and past fire stations as well as buildings or basements of several Civitan members. Janice and Roger Gallimore will provide their building, the former Cid Hosiery Mill, for Santa Headquarters for a sixth consecutive year in 2011. The endeavor has a coordinator known as the Santa Brigade

Commander who is assisted by five teams. The teams are list, visitation, clothing and toys, food and fruit and people with disabilities. Civitan International has recognized Project Santa with 18 competitive awards since 1993. Project Santa has been honored nine times each with youth and community service project awards. Project Santa was selected as the first place outstanding youth service project worldwide for 2001-02 and first place outstanding community service project for 1998-99. There are over 900 Civitan Clubs located in 24 countries. North Carolina District West Civitan has honored Project Santa Claus as the most outstanding service project seven times. The 1994, 1997, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 editions received the award from among the 60+ clubs in the western half of the state. Project Santa is the largest continuous service project of the Silver Valley Civitan Club which was chartered April 25, 1959. Contributions may be made by contacting Project Santa Coordinator Roger Barker at 848-5779.

Three

Putting Care Into Practice


Santas network at summer Castle gatherings Story: David Nivens | Photos: Don Davis The High Point Enterprise

Santas seeking perfection of their

“Ho-ho-hoes” and other St. Nick trade secrets have a professional network with a local summer outpost. Many veteran Santas were affiliated with the original Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas. The Long Leaf Pine group, which holds summer gatherings at Castle McCulloch, is affiliated with the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas. Gatherings attract dozens of Santas from several states. “During the season, we work alone,” said Santa Jac Grimes, FORBS chairman, “so during the off-season we get together to share ideas and stories. There are only about four or five of us in the Triad who have real beards.” Grimes hosts the annual castle event with Santa Cliff Snider of High Point. “I have spent a lifetime going to seminars,” Grimes said. “The best part is talking with others in the Santa business.” At the gatherings, Santas discuss professional grooming and appearance. They buy clothing, including elf shoes, jewelry, photos, and books. “We also discuss liability insurance and background checks,” Grimes said. “That’s the world of entertainment now.” The next big thing for Santas is social media, said Grimes, who is developing a “Santa on Skype” presence to link separated family members around the world. “Most Santas have websites and many are moving to Twitter and Facebook,” he


FORBS Qualifications: No fake beards, no artificially enhanced bellies said. “This has been the big topic for the last couple of years. The young parents do all this. Using Skype for video is the perfect blend.” Who are the Santas? Several Santas discussed their callings at a Castle McCulloch gathering a few years ago. Many surrogate Santas are retirees. Others got special orders. “The sergeant major in my group told me he had a new uniform for me and I had to do it,” recalled Randy Kiddy of Fayetteville, a military retiree who bleaches his hair and beard white for Christmas. “I’ve done it since.” Ollie Sharman of Charlotte and Bill Davis of Garner got Christmas calls from family members to appear as Santa. “This is my life now that I have retired,” Sharman said. “It’s the kids who make us want to be Santa.”

Davis carried on for his father. “I filled in for him at an event and started on my own after that,” Davis said. Many Santas appear at family gatherings arranged by parents. Santas also visit nursing homes, orphanages, military groups and even pets. “Sometimes it breaks your heart when a sick child you saw one Saturday at a hospital is not there the next time you come back,” said Nick Kuykendall of Sevierville, Tenn. who remembered a girl hospitalized with what became a fatal disease. “I’ve walked in parades to collect money for the crippled childrens’ hospitals,” said Jay Graves of Jacksonville, Fla., a Santa who is also a member of a Shriners group.

Membership: Several hundred Purpose: To help surrogate Santas teach each other how to understand Santa and Christmas

Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011 • 13


Holiday Events & Parades Archdale-Trinity Area Events Creekside Christmas Festival: 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2

Luminaries will crisscross Creekside Park during the event, which features hayrides, craft vendors, a live nativity scene and an outdoor showing of classic Christmas cartoons. Bring a canned food donation for Community Outreach of ArchdaleTrinity. Call 431-1117.

Youth Art Show: 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2

The Archdale Center of Randolph Community College will hold an awards ceremony for its annual holiday Youth Art Show in conjunction with Creekside Christmas. Refreshments will be served. Local residents and art enthusiasts can view the original art work from local preschools, child care centers, elementary and middle schools. “Penny votes” 14 • Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011

will be collected and proceeds donated to RCC’s Relay for Life Team. For more information, call 862-7980.

Archdale Christmas Parade: 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4. The cost is $10 per entry. Call Millie Fletcher at 861-9273.

Tree lighting at Archdale Friends Meeting Tree Lighting Sunday, Dec. 4 The tree ligting will follow the meeting’s Advent Service at 6 p.m.

Braxton Craven School Band concert: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13

The concert will be held at Trindale Community Church. “Braxton’s Got Talent,” the school’s annual talent show, will be held at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21, in the school gymnasium.

Christmas tour of homes from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11.

The tour is a fundraiser for the Trinity Historic Preservation Society. Tickets are $10. Call 431-9456 for more information.

Archdale Community Appearance Commission will select Holiday yards of the month Dec. 13. The Archdale Community Appearance Commission will select two yards per ward. To nominate a yard, call Zeb Holden at 434-7333.

Trinity Open House Reception 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20

The reception will be held at Trinity City Hall prior to the council meeting at 7 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

SerCo Santa: 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday Dec. 17

SerCo Santa will welcome all children in the community at the SerCo Building, 9455 U.S. Hwy. 311,on the corner of U.S. 311 and Driftwood Drive, next to the old Huey’s Seafood restaurant.

High Point & Thomasville Area Events

“Miracle on 34th Street, The Musical,”

performed by High Point Community Theatre 8 p.m. Nov. 17-19 and 2 p.m. Nov. 19 and 20 at High Point Theatre, 220 E. Commerce Ave. 887-3001.


Holiday Events & Parades Carolina Christmas Bazaar

Archdale Christmas Parade

High Point Holiday Festival Parade

“Nutcracker”

8 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 19 Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, 1255 Chestnut Drive 3-4:30 p.m. Nov. 20 Main Street, from Green Drive to Montlieu Avenue

Thomasville Christmas Parade 3-4:30 p.m. Nov. 19

New route: Main Street, from Julian to Lexington avenues At 7 p.m., the Victorian Carolers from Rich Fork Baptist church begin performances at the bandstand. At 7 p.m. Santa gives a reading and lights the Christmas tree at the bandstand.

Christmas Open House in downtown Lexington

Live music, crafts, carriage and train rides 1-5 p.m. Nov. 20 Main Street, from Third Street to Third Avenue

Midway Christmas Parade

1 p.m. Nov. 26 (line up by noon) 310 Gumtree Road, to Old U.S. 52, to Eller Road Music, crafts, food sales begin at 9:30 a.m. at Oak Forest United Methodist Church, 11461 Old U.S. 52, WinstonSalem

3:15 p.m. Dec. 4 Main Street, from Columbus Avenue to N.C. 62

performed by High Point Ballet 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16 and 17 and 2 p.m. Dec. 18 at Edward C. Smith Civic Center, 217 S. Main St., Lexington 889-2480

“It’s A Wonderful Life: Live From WVL Radio Theatre”

7:30 p.m. Dec. 22 High Point Theatre, 220 E. Commerce Ave. 887-3001

“The Nutcracker”

Performed by The Salisbury Symphony Dec.17 & Dec. 18 123 P. O. Box 4264, Salisbury, NC 28145; 704.637.4314;

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”

Performed by the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival Dec. 2-20 at the High Point Theatre, 220 E. Commerce Ave. 887-3001

Christmas Craft Bazaar 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 3 Oakview Recreation Center 503 James Road, High Point

Uptowne Holiday Stroll

with carolers, dancers and music 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 3 Area of N. Main Street and Lexington Avenue

28th Annual Holiday Open House

1-4 p.m. Dec. 4 High Point Museum 1859 E. Lexington Ave.

Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011 • 15


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Archdale Christmas Parade

Organizers of Archdale’s first parade chuckle a bit over the behind-the-scenes chaos. Pictures from left are Sherman Staton, Ron Hoover and Larry Boyles.

celebrates 40 years

Story & Photos: Debbie Hightower, Archdale Trinity News Ron Hoover, Sherman Staton and Larry Boyles recently held a reunion of sorts. Forty years ago the trio served on an Archdale Jaycees committee that organized the first Archdale Christmas parade on Saturday, Dec. 18, 1971. “We felt that Archdale was big enough to have their own Christmas parade,” said Hoover, who was parade co-chairman for several years. “Evidently that thinking was in line because they’ve had one ever since.” The committee also included William “Cotton” Ledwell, who passed away several years ago. The organizers pulled the parade together in a short time. “It was late October when the decision was made,” began Staton. “We decided that if we got a certain number of entries we would vote on it.” “All we had to do was put the word out,” said Boyles, who was also co-chairman. The 57 parade entries ranged from the Trinity High School

band and colorful floats to beauty queens, clowns and hot rods. All three committee members agreed that in spite of all the challenges, the parade appeared very well-organized and professional. Behind the scene however, it was sort of chaotic. “We lined up on Columbus,” Hoover recalled. “There was mass confusion. The walkie talkies we had didn’t work. Everybody was turned around backward and every which way. But at the last minute it all fell into place. It came off like a charm.” When the Archdale Jaycees merged with the Asheboro chapter in 2003, the parade’s future was in jeopardy. Chuck Fletcher, a Jaycee who had been active in working on the parade with his father Charlie Fletcher, stepped up to the plate. Rather than let the 32-year tradition die, Fletcher along with his wife Millie became the parade organizers. The couple were honored by the Archdale-Trinity Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 10, 2008, with the Duke Energy Quality of Life Award. Fletcher and his wife Millie continue to organize the event which grows larger each year. Last year’s parade had 119 entries. This year’s parade will be held 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4.

The 2010 parade was dedicated to Jake Carol, a 2008 Trinity High School graduate, killed in Afghanistan.

Jerome Davis adorned his vehicle rodeo style Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011 • 17


If You Thought We Only Carried Clothes For The More Formal Occasion, Then Think Again!!

12th Annual Christmas Trees of Davidson County

You are cordially invited to the official lighting of the holidays on

November 29th at 6:30 PM

Join us to celebrate the exciting festivities of more than 60 Christmas trees lighting up in the hospital lobby. Enjoy hot cider and cookies, old fashioned carolers and the uniquely decorated trees sponsored by community businesses and organizations from around the county. Christmas Trees of Davidson County has become a tradition for the area that you do not want to miss. The trees will be on display through the month of December.

207 Old Lexington Road For more information, please call the

Thomasville Medical Center Foundation at 476-2881

Please note: The front lobby will close at 3pm on December 9 and reopen as usual on December 10.

30189119


Thomasville Christmas Parade steeped in tradition Story: & Photos Daniel Kennedy, Thomasville Times

T

he phrases “tradition” and “small town” are nearly synonymous with each other. The Thomasville Christmas Parade is counted among the annual holiday traditions, as it is held the Saturday before Thanksgiving every year to conjure holiday spirit and entertain masses of residents who enjoy the festivities. Started nearly a century ago, it is one of the state’s longest-running Christmas parades organized by a civic organization. It dates past the 1940s, when it was headed by the Thomasville Jaycees, according to Kevan Calicutt, who ran the parade as a member of the Jaycees for five years. The club was responsible for the parade for over a half-decade before it disbanded three years ago and turned the event over to the Fair Grove Lions Club. “We’ve always taken pride in our parade,” Calicutt said. “Churches, bands, Cub Scout troops. The five years I ran it, if it hadn’t been for those community members, I’m not sure it would have went on.” As the baton was passed, one member of the former Jaycees transitioned with it. Parade chairman Luther Watford established his membership in the Lions Club to resume his duties overseeing the parade. “The Jaycees did this parade for a number of years. When they disbanded, Luther paid us a visit,” Lions Club President David Lambeth said. “He was in the Jaycees and made the parade one of his pet projects. We agreed to sponsor the parade if he’d join the Lions Club. It’s a good community service project and that’s what we’re about.” During the parade’s history, high school bands from Ledford, East Davidson and Thomasville fill the streets with the sound of music as the city’s dance schools frolic behind

the floats. Beauty queens — including Miss Thomasville — have been featured annually. Sunset Stables has maintained a presence in the event for several years, as its horses have become a favorite among the youthful members of the crowd. This year’s parade was a joint effort between the Lions Club and Thomasville Tourism. Mark Scott, director of Thomasville Tourism, said his office joined the event to offer further stability and attempt to retain more local merchants to stay open on Saturday than in years past to support the event. “We’re trying to make it a day-long celebration,” Scott said. “We thought that a partnership brought a couple things to the table. It gives people the opportunity to call an office that is open from nine to five, Monday through Friday. “We want to promote it and try to grow it. This event has a long tradition. The Jaycees and Lions Club have done an excellent job and we just thought we could help continue that tradition.” Patricia Carroll, who is board chairman for the Fair Grove Lions Club, shares the vision of creating a more extensive atmosphere that begins in the morning hours and lasts well into the evening. “We’re not in it for the money,” Carroll said. “We’re in it because we’ve been in Thomasville for so long and have had a great parade for so long, we just want to continue to do anything we can to benefit our city.”

Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011 • 19


Grand Lighting of Trees Story: Eliot Duke | Photos: Thomasville Times

When Thomasville Medical Center first started its annual lighting of the Christmas trees 12 years ago, no one could have envisioned just how big the event would become. At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29, TMC will illuminate its lobby with this year’s Grand Lighting of the Trees of Davidson County in what is shaping into a collection of dozens of inspiring messages and memories from all walks of life. The annual event changed its name this year from the Grand Lighting of the Trees of Thomasville to include the entire area and all the municipalities that contribute to making the night a success. 20 • Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011

“This is the Medical Center’s gift to the community during the holidays and serves as a one of a kind holiday greeting to those who support us throughout the year,” said Kathie Johnson, TMC president. “It is truly a spectacular sight to stroll through the lobby of sparkling and festive Christmas trees. TMC has become a favorite holiday gathering place for our community.” If a name change isn’t convincing enough, the sheer magnitude of more than 60 Christmas trees coming to life at once is proof positive that something this unique had grown beyond Chair City limits.


“It’s not just Thomasville any more,” Linda Hunt, executive director of TMC Foundation, said. “It’s all over Davidson County, Archdale, High Point, Greensboro. So many people bring us these trees. Every year it grows larger and larger.” What started as 10 trees in the lobby the first year is now an assortment of at least 62, with more dozens more scattered throughout the hospital. Each tree has meaning, containing a message to share with others. The trees signify hope, triumph, sacrifice and loss. Behind each ornament and every strand of lights, there is a story of love and goodwill during the holiday season. “I call our trees magical,” said Hunt. “When they all come on at once, it’s just that. We want this to not only be a Christmas event but a great holiday event. Every tree has its own story and this was always about being a great gift to the community.” Several themes will be highlighted this year. TMC will kickoff its Year of the Woman campaign at its Evening of Music event on Nov. 19 and several of the trees will focus on breast cancer, female heart disease and newborn babies. Veterans, parents who have lost children to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), cancer survivors and all faiths will be represented. “We’re real excited to have several trees dedicated to women’s health,” Hunt said. “There will be a tree with teddy bears and the things children love. We always welcome any chance to honor men and women who are serving and our veterans. From the day I walked in the walked in the door here nine years ago, it has evolved in such a way and how people get their message out there.” As the event has grown in size so has its reputation. So much so that other hospitals have followed in TMC’s footsteps. Hunt said hospitals in Matthews, Charlotte and Kernersville all have started their own tree lighting ceremonies. Anyone interested in taking one of the trees home for their own Christmas holiday can do so through a silent auction that will end at noon Thursday, Dec. 22. As part of the event, TMC auctions off several donated trees with the money going to help purchase medicine and equipment for the Foundation. Last year’s auction of 12 trees raised more than $5,000. “Money raised from the trees is very far-reaching in our community,” said Hunt. For more information on how to participate, call 476-2881. Trees must be between 7 and 9 feet tall, fireproof and pre-lit to be accepted.

“This is the Medical Center’s gift to the community during the holidays and serves as a one-of-a-kind holiday greeting to those who support us throughout the year.” Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011 • 21


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Spirit of the Season Spirit of the season takes many turns in the Southern Triad

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Story: Paul Johnson | Photo: Sonny Hedgecock The High Point Enterprise

he festive creations that retiree Donna Paulsen has knitted during 50 years symbolize the deep affection for Christmas shared by people across the Southern Triad. Paulsen, retired as a nursing instructor at North Carolina A&T State University and employee at High Point Regional Health System, has spent most of her life cherishing her hobby of knitting. Her favorite time of the year for her craft is the holiday season. She’s part of a group that makes crafts featured at the Roy B. Culler Jr. Senior Center in High Point. Her nimble fingers stitch snowmen, crocheted Christmas tree ornaments, baby burp blankets for overjoyed new parents and even small, colorful stockings that can hold a container of lipstick or a pack of chewing gum. Paulsen creates her holiday crafts for friends, family and Christmas charitable campaigns, such as knitting caps for underprivileged parents and their children. The native of Michigan, who moved to High Point 11 years ago, began knitting as a young woman to make clothes and Christmas decorations for her five children. But she kept up her hobby during five decades in large part because of the joy inspired by the Christmas season. “It’s my favorite time to make crafts. I like handing it to somebody and watching their reaction as they see it,” she said. Paulsen cherishes the idea of a craft that she knits

A family searches for just the right tree at a local Christmas tree sales lot during a past Christmas season.

for someone passing down each holiday season as part of a family’s tradition and celebration. “It becomes like a heirloom,” she said. While the love of Christmas takes on personal dimensions, as with Paulsen and her crafts, the holiday season also becomes a public festivity in an array of ways. The devotion to Christmas in the Southern Triad appears each season in the parades that cities and towns hold, an annual endeavor that requires hundreds of volunteer hours but brightens the season for communities and brings people of all backgrounds together to enjoy the festivities. But holiday celebrations in the Southern Triad aren’t limited to parades. Neighborhoods and organizations hold open houses to display their celebrations of the season and bring people together to cherish the camaraderie of Christmas. Theater groups stage performances – both classic and quirky – to entertain families. And many activities are geared toward boys and girls who look forward all year to the magic of Christmastime. One creative outlet is Kaleidoscope Christmas at the Theatre Art Galleries in downtown High Point, in which children create a keepsake nativity scene to both celebrate and later remember the season. The High Point Museum on Lexington Avenue stages its annual Holiday Open House from 1-4 p.m. Dec. 4. The day features re-enactments of Christmas past, music, refreshments and hands-on activities such as candle dipping. Neighborhoods across the greater High Point area hold their own Christmas celebrations, oftentimes in the form of tours of selected houses decorated for the season. Or the decorations can take a more informal touch, such as homeowners along a street who string oversized lights shaped as bulbs in trees to create a visual sensation. So in the Southern Triad, how you celebrate Christmastime can take on as many dimensions as the joys of the season. Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011 • 23


Spirit of

giving back Volunteers Needed

C.A.R.E. (Chosen-Anointed-Redeemed-Empowered) Outreach Mission needs volunteers and donations to help with its Thanksgiving Bread-of-Life Breakfast on Thanksgiving Day. It also needs toys for distribution to children. Contact the Rev. Terry Rorie at 991-0956, David Willis at 991-3910, Willette Willis at 965-8109, Matthew and Ashanti Scarborough at 965-1131.

Emergency Student Assistant Fund

Adopt an Oak View Angel, sponsored by Oak View Elementary

School, provides gifts for students at the school who might not otherwise receive them. Volunteers may select one or more students, receive a wish list and shop for the student. Students must be selected by Dec. 9, and gifts must be delivered to the school by Dec. 16. To volunteer or contribute, contact social worker Mallie Burton at 819-2935, email burtonm@gcs.nc.com

Holiday Blood Drive

American Red Cross and Communities in Schools sponsor a holiday blood drive 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 9 at T. Wingate Andrews High School gym.

Angel Tree

sponsored by Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, provides gifts for 50-plus young people age 5-18, identified by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Piedmont. Items needed include new clothes, shoes, coats, gloves and scarves; books, games and toys. Donations are accepted through Dec. 21. Contact Krista Johnston, 882-4167, email krista@bbbscp.org.

Holiday Food Drive

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Piedmont sponsors a Holiday Food Drive for non-perishable food and snacks for families in need and to provide meals for children out of school for the holidays. Donations will be accepted through Dec. 21. More than 150 children are on the waiting list for adult mentors. Contact Krista Johnston, 882-4167, email krista@bbbscp.org.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater High Point Thanksgiving and Christmas events

at all four of its High Point club sites. Each club serves approximately 50-60 young people each day. It needs sponsors for individual children and sponsors for Thanksgiving and Christmas parties at each club and volunteers for each party. It also sponsors a holiday back-to-school drive to send children back to school after the holidays with needed supplies, such as notebooks, paper, pens and book bags. Contact Holly Ferree at 882-2582 24 • Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011

Communities in Schools of Randolph County sponsors an Emergency Student Assistant Fund that has urgent needs for the holiday. In addition to cash contributions, needed items include the following new or good-condition items for students in kindergarten through high school: coats, hate, gloves, socks, shoes, pants and jeans, shirts and tops. For information, call Christie Smith at 312-2254 or Dara Matthews at 964-1895.

Community Homeless Memorial Dinner

is sponsored by Homelessness Coalition for the Homeless, which is composed of several nonprofit agencies. A Community Homeless Memorial Dinner will be held Dec. 15, and financial donations and items for gift bags and people to fill bags are needed. Volunteers also are needed to set up the space, to serve the evening meal and to clean up afterward. To participate, call Sue Gamelin or Steve Key at Open Door Ministries, 885-0191, email skey@odm-hp.org.

Christmas for Families

Community Outreach of Archdale/Trinity (COAT) sponsors Christmas for Families and needs donations to purchase Christmas gifts. Lists of recipients are verified, and no duplications with other agencies are allowed. Donation deadline is Nov. 30. Call 431-3663 9 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays for details.

Operation Elf

Family Service of the Piedmont sponsors Operation Elf to provide gifts for families in need. Items needed include: new and unwrapped toys for children up to age 14; gift cards for stores, bus passes and movie tickets; nonperishable food or certificates for turkeys or hams; clothes and sports equipment; educational books, toys and games; pocket calendars; large-size (406) diapers and wipes; umbrella strollers; cleaning supplies; wrapping paper. Deadline for donations is Dec. 9. Items may be dropped off at Family Services offices at 1401 Long St., High Point, or 902 Bonner Drive, Jamestown. For questions, contact Stephanie Allred at 889-6105, ext. 1130, email stephanie.allred@fspcares.org.

Helping Hands Ministry

which provides food and financial assistance, has increased needs during the holidays. Raffles for a 2002 Ford Explorer, four new tires


and a $100 gas card will be held Dec. 20, with proceeds providing supplies for the food pantry. It needs items such as turkeys and canned hams for holiday distribution. The ministry also is collecting toys for children and small gifts for seniors, to be given out at Family Day, also on Dec. 20. Contributions may be mailed to Helping Hands Ministry, P.O. Box 4066, High Point, NC 27360. Raffle tickets are available at offices at 1919 Surrett Drive, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays. For information, call Dara Ferris at 886-7696.

who will receive a notification card. Cards are available at the group’s office at 1801 Westchester Drive. Hospice also fills gift bags for patients and needs the following items: packaged snacks and hot beverages; nutritional supplement drinks; singleserving fruit, puddings, applesauce or soup; travel-size toiletries; handmade items such as bookmarks, scarves, afghans; game books; slipper socks; grocery and retail gift cards. Items may be dropped off at the Hospice office before Dec. 1. For information, call 889-8446.

Thanksgiving and Christmas Meals

Latino Family Center of Greater High Point needs new toys for children of parents who attend English classes or for other families who receive services. Gift cards or money for staff to buy toys also will be accepted through Dec. 9. For information, call Alice Owens or Florencia Laureckis at 884-5858 or visit the center at 501 Westwood Ave.

His Laboring Few Ministries provides Thanksgiving and Christmas meals at Crossroads Restaurant and for delivery to those who cannot leave their homes. Carter Brothers and Price and Company also sponsor the meals. Last year 4,000 meals were provided on Thanksgiving and 4,500 on Christmas, for a total cost of more than $45,000. Numbers and costs are expected to increase this year, and cash contributions are needed. Contributions may be sent to His Laboring Few Ministries, 1220 N. Main St., High Point, NC 27262. For information, call 812-3175.

Holiday Honor Card Program

Hospice of the Piedmont sponsors a Holiday Honor Card program in which donations can be made in honor of other people,

Toy Donations Needed

Macedonia Family Resource Center

needs cash, Christmas decorations, Christmas gifts for children of all ages, Christmas gifts for an adult raffle, volunteers, stocking stuffers and food for a Christmas dinner for its Macedonia Neighborhood Association. Items are needed by Dec. 2. To donate or for information, call Christy Lowe at 883-0300.

Naaman’s Recovery Village

a Christ-centered recovery residency program for men with alcohol and drug dependencies and a division of Ward Street Mission, needs gifts for resident men and their families. Contact Sterling Cannon, 4105098, email sterling@wardstreetmission. com

Oak Hill Elementary School’s Oakie Owl Holiday Market allows students to choose a simple gift for a parent or guardian. Gifts valued at $10 or less for an adult may be donated through Dec. 15. Cash may be donated, and gifts will be purchased for the market. Contact Jay Jahnes or Charnell Newkirk at 819-2925, email jahnesg@gcsnc.com or newkirkc@gcsnc.com.

Operation Santa Claus

sponsored by the Mental Health Associates of the Triad, provides a Christmas meal and gifts for persistently mentally ill people involved with the group’s day program, Destiny House, and for those who are hospitalized. Clients may be adopted and receive a new gift costing less than $50, or unwrapped, undesignated gifts of personal grooming items may be contributed. Deadline for gifts is Dec. 9 for those who are hospitalized and Dec. 14 for those at Destiny House. Money may be contributed (Operation Santa Claus, P.O. Box 5693, High Point, NC 27262) and staff will buy gifts. For questions, call 883-7480.

Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011 • 25


Spirit of giving back Parkview Village Elementary Angel Tree

Parkview Village Elementary Expressive Arts Magnet School sponsors an Angel Tree program to provide Christmas gifts or donations for students and their families. Donations are being accepted now for delivery on Dec. 9. For information, call Saundra Walker at 819-2945, ext. 1620.

Holiday Party

Piedmont Health Services & Sickle Cell Agency gives holiday parties for its clients and their families. It needs: cash, gift cards, payments for utilities for rent; gifts for children, teens and adults, food and fruit; gloves, hats and scarves; Christmas trees and decorations; volunteers to decorate for parties and transport clients. To help, call Kesha McCollum at 274-1507.

The Salvation Army Volunteers Needed Request The Salvation Army of High Point needs help with the following projects: • Bell ringing, donations: Volunteers for two-hour shifts; contact Captain Tony Perez at 881-5400, email tony_perez@uss.salvationarmy. org, or April McCormick at 8815400, email, april_mcCormick@uss. salvationarmy.org; • Angel Tree Program: Locations to place trees and corporate partners, gifts for children; contact Captain Vicki Perez at 881 5400, email vicki_perez@ uss.salvationarmy. org; • Give a Kid a Coat: Donations of coats can be made to any A Cleaner World for cleaning then distribution by Salvation Army; Contact Tony Perez or Brittany Cadwallader at 8815455; • Stuff-A-Stocking to provide children with small gifts: stockings can be picked up at any Chick-Fil-A or Mattress Firm and at The Salvation Army, 301 W. Green Drive; contact Vicki Perez;

• Hammin’ It Up: At 6 a.m. Dec. 6, Tony Perez will be on the roof of Bicycle Toy and Hobby, 2000 N. Main St., and will not come down until 800 or more canned hams are made; donations of $10 may be made; Tony Perez or Cadwallader; • Holiday concerts: Dec. 9 in Greensboro and Dec. 10 in Winston-Salem, both at 7 p.m.; admission is canned food; Tony Perez or Cadwallader; • Stock the Pantry: Volunteers needed to sort and stock food 8 a.m.-noon and 14 p.m. weekdays at 301 W. Green Drive; Cadwallader.

Santa for Seniors

sponsored by Senior Resources of Guilford and Harris Teeter grocery stores, provides gift bags to seniors in need. Items needed include gift cards that can be used for prescriptions or groceries, personal care items and large-

print books. Senior Resources also needs sponsors for holiday parties at its nine community nutrition sites and volunteers for its Holiday House and to deliver gift bags to Mobile Meals recipients. Deadline for holiday contributions is Nov. 19. Contact James Joyce at 373-4826

Socks for Seniors

a project sponsored by February 11th Association to commemorate High Point’s civil rights movement and progress to eradicate inequalities, provides new socks to seniors, with priority to shut-in or infirm seniors. Deadline for donations is Dec. 9. Checks may be sent to February 11th Association, P.O. Box, 2021, High Point, NC 27260. New socks may be delivered to Macedonia Family Resource Center, 401 Lake Ave.

Triad Health Project

which provides medical and practical services to people living with HIV/AIDS, needs volunteers to deliver meals to clients in the Guilford County area on Thanksgiving Day. To volunteer or for more information, contact Ken Keeton, 275-1654, ext. 19, email kkeeton@triadhealthproject. com. THP also sponsors “Winter Walk for AIDS” to raise money for programs. The walk will be held Dec. 4, and it begins at the Greensboro Coliseum. Registration is 1-2 p.m., and the walk begins at 2:30 p.m. To register or make a donation, visit the web site www.winterwalkforaids. kintera.org or contact 2751654, email winterwalk@ triadhealthproject.com. It needs monetary donations, gift cards, food and personal hygiene items for distribution at a holiday meal Dec. 15.

Christmas Dinner

West End Ministries, 903 English Road, sponsors a Christmas dinner at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 14 for 65 members of its Boys & Girls Club and their families. Volunteers are needed 5-7 p.m. to help set up, serve and clean up. The ministry also needs donations to cover the cost of food, supplies and small gifts for each child, if the budget permits. To volunteer or for more information, contact Chris Gillespie at 8841105, email chris.westendministries@gmail. com.


The true meaning of Christmas Area pastors reflect on the true reason for the season Story: Chanel Davis | Photos: Sonny Hedgecock, The High Point Enterprise

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hristmas has become known as a time for family, gifts and fellowship. In today’s society, however, it has become more about shopping trips, toys and gadgets that show up around the holiday season. The commercials and ads related to the best gifts often convolute what some church leaders say is the best gift of all. “Christmas is the celebration of the birthday of Jesus Christ the savior of the world,” said the Rev. Robert J. Williams Jr., pastor of Williams Memorial CME Church in High Point. “You are remembering him and all the things that he stands for and has accomplished while he was here on earth.” Pastor Mike Lamm at First Presbyterian Church in Thomasville said the holiday seems to bring out the goodness in a lot people and churches. “The meaning of Christmas in one word is Emmanuel, God with us is what the word means,” Lamm said.

“The meaning is that God came to live among us and of course, that gets lost very easily. Somehow or another with all of the Christmas celebrations, you still find people being a little kinder to one another, a little, more cheerful, giving and thinking of others more than themselves. It has a wonderful effect on a great number of people.” For the Rev. James Turner, priest at Our Lady of the Highways Catholic Church in Thomasville, the holiday means a time to remember God and share with others. “We celebrate the fact that Jesus came from God to the earth to be like one of us,” Turner said. “It is a time to remember the mercy and love that God has for us by sending his son. The tradition around the holiday is to do good things for other people, and exchanging gifts is a way to symbolize that love and friendship.” According to these local church leaders, the season that should be about Jesus Christ has a stressful presence for the families celebrating due the commercialization of the

Rev. James Turner, Our Lady of the Highways Catholic Church, Thomasville Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011 • 27


The true meaning of Christmas

Rev. Mike Lamm, First Presbyertian Church, Thomasville holiday. Families often get together to celebrate the Christmas tradition, but not without the reminder that a gift should be in hand or the stress that comes with planning for a large number of people. To Williams, the tradition can bring some hard times, but it allows families to get together and share with each other. “To me, the Christmas tradition means to me family coming together and sharing, Christmas programs and all the things that remind us who Jesus is,” Williams said. “To some families, it can be a burden due to the commercialization, stressful because they are trying to get people together, and for others, it can be a celebration because they are celebrating the life of Christ. It is a happy time because the families are together. Lamm calls the holiday a two-sided coin because such a happy holiday brings about the pains of planning a family gathering. “The Christmas tradition for us is a time to pause and think about Christ 28 • Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011

Rev. Robert J. Williams, Jr., Memorial CME Church, High Point

being with us, to celebrate that and to give,” Lamm said. “We give to each other and others in the community, especially at Christmas. I think for a lot of families, the season boils down

to where is the family going to get together and did I get a present for everybody. That is unfortunate, but at the same time it is wonderful when families want to get together.”


A Culturally different ‘Holiday’ Season has different meanings for different faiths Story: Pat Kimbrough, The High Point Enterprise

T

he holiday season is a time of devotion and festivity for religions and cultures that are distinct from Christianity. While major religions like Islam and Judaism do not officially observe Christmas, members of these faiths have their respective religious observances that fall in the same general season. Generally speaking, Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. But, especially for those Muslims living in the United States and other areas where the makeup of the community is predominantly Christian, they respect how everyone around them celebrates it, according to Nahed Eltantawy, an assistant professor of journalism at High Point University. “Christmas as a holiday and celebration – definitely we do recognize it, but for people from the Christian faith. But we don’t necessarily celebrate it,” said Eltantawy, a Muslim who is a native of Egypt. She stressed that there is no uniform way Muslims view the holiday season, and that not all members of the faith do the same things. For example, she and her sister are both Muslims but observe the holiday season differently. Her sister and her family “set up a Christmas tree. They put presents out. They don’t necessarily open them on Christmas morning. They might do it New Year’s.” Eltantawy explains to her children that certain aspects of Christmas don’t mix with their faith. “It’s very difficult sometimes, because kids are kids and they see the Christmas tree, the presents, Santa Claus and they ask, ‘Why can’t we do the same?’” she said. “I just explain that, in each faith, people have different celebrations and Christmas is the main celebration for Christians.” Eltantawy and other Muslims worldwide celebrate two religious holidays – Eid ul-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, and Eid al-Adha, which starts after the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide. Some mosques organize community events for children to celebrate Eid. “Usually, Eid is a three or four-day celebration, so they try to do something every single day,” said Eltantawy. “One day it’s free movies for all kids. The second day, they take them to Celebration Station or other activities, just so the children feel like they have something important to look forward to. We try and get them presents and try to

make it a big deal.” The Jewish holiday Hanukkah typically falls between late November and late December and lasts for eight days. According to Barbara Collins, past president of the board of trustees of B’nai Israel Synagogue in High Point, Hanukkah is a celebration of the reclaiming and rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Jewish Maccabees after it had been taken over and desecrated during the second century. Jewish faith holds that after the Maccabee rebellion, the Temple was purified and the wicks of the menorah miraculously burned for eight days, even though there was only enough sacred oil for one day’s lighting. “It’s really a very minor holiday,” said Collins. “It took on greater importance in America with Christmas and many people, many nonJews, would assume that because Hanukkah falls around Christmas time, it must be the Jewish Christmas. It has nothing to do at all with that.” Jewish families have celebrated Hanukkah in different ways over the years, and it still means different things to different people. “In the ’60s, because of the proximity to Christmas and because of the Americanization, if you will, of Jews, families began giving presents at Hanukkah,” said Collins. “Some families will give a present each day for the entire eight days. Other families will just give one present. Other families don’t give any presents.” Traditionally, Hanukkah means that members of the faith eat foods fried in oil, in reference to the olive oil miraculously burning for eight days at the Second Temple. One of the most popular foods is fried potato pancakes called latkes. The synagogue hosts an annual latke luncheon during Hanukkah. “At B’nai Israel, what we typically do to celebrate Hanukkah is, our children put on a Hanukkah play. Typically, they do it using a different theme. We allow our children to be very creative,” said Collins. “We let the kids have fun with it. Another tradition here is the annual latke luncheon right after children put on the Hanukkah play.” Kwanzaa is observed from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 each year in honor of African-American heritage and culture. Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966 to “give blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and give blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.” The holiday celebrates seven principles of Kwanzaa. Families who observe the holiday decorate their homes with art and African cloth. It features activities such as lighting a candle holder with seven candles and culminates in a feast and gift-giving.

Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011 • 29


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Cheer Fund began with one child Story: Debbie Hightower Archdale Trinity News

“When I was a mail carrier, I delivered mail to one particularly poor neighborhood,” said Byrd. “I had this little girl on my route, and I knew her parents would probably not be able to do anything for her at Christmas. So I decided that I would buy her a great big ol’ teddy bear.” - Stan Byrd Sr.

S

tan Byrd Sr. remembers well why the Cheer Fund began and why SerCo Santa’s list expanded from just one child to hundreds each season. Byrd began his personal tradition of giving gifts long ago because of one needy child. “When I was a mail carrier, I delivered mail to one particularly poor neighborhood,” said Byrd. “I had this little girl on my route, and I knew her parents would probably not be able to do anything for her at Christmas. So I decided that I would buy her a great big ol’ teddy bear.” The little miss was only about 3 feet tall and the teddy bear was 4 feet. As he discovered more children in need, he recruited his brothersin-law and friends. That’s when gift deliveries became a little more elaborate. “We would buy gifts for a few families and we would go out on Christmas Eve,” said Byrd. “One of us would always dress up as Santa Claus.” A West Virginia family especially tugged his heart. They had been flooded out their home. “A church had put them up in a rent house, but they literally had nothing,”

Byrd said. “The church was getting them some clothing and they got them a stove.” One of the couple’s three children, a little girl, wanted a Cabbage Patch baby doll at a time when folks were lining up to get ‘em. Byrd tried, but stores were out. At last, he got in touch with a store manager who supplied the coveted doll at no charge. The little boy wasn’t left out. He had lost all his fishing equipment, so SerCo Santa bought him a fishing pole and tackle. The group even bought the family a Christmas tree. “We had made prior arrangements to arrive at about 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve,” said Byrd. “We dressed up my brotherin-law Roland Turmel as Santa. The kids had already went to sleep but when we got there. They came running out. Of course, Santa had a big bag of gifts for them. When he reached into the bag, he accidently hit a switch on a toy truck and the lights came on and that thing was running inside the bag. “Sometimes when you try you just can’t plan stuff, but that one was as perfect as it could be.” Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011 • 31


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Cheer Fund maintains tradition of helping those in need Story: Jordan Howse The High Point Enterprise

T

he sure sign that Christmas is in the air isn’t just the holly, the mistletoe or the reindeer in the yard. It’s the beginning of the annual Christmas Cheer Fund drive. The High Point Christmas Cheer Fund began almost 90 years ago to raise money to purchase gifts for needy children. The Cheer Fund, which is now organized by the High Point Kiwanis Club, was started in 1924 by The High Point Enterprise. The Christmas Cheer Fund committee consists of Ed Thomas, Jim Horney and Wiley Stockton. The High Point

Area Arts Council also assists with the project. The first campaign raised a total of $848. Last year, it raised just under $35,000, the highest amount in the past five years. The campaign has changed hands several times over its lifetime. It was operated by the High Point Jaycees for almost 30 years as the Empty Stocking Fund and was then passed around among different private local residents and groups. In the late 1990s, when the last local nonprofit owner, the late Benny Braica retired, the Kiwanis Club took over. Even 88 years later, the Christmas Cheer Fund stands true to its beginnings. Contributions generally grow every year, providing children in need with a Christmas they may not otherwise have. Families receiving assistance are first screened by the Guilford County Department of Social Services. A list is given to the Kiwanis Club with the names and addresses of

the families and the age and gender of the children in those families. Vouchers are sent to the parents, and they pick up the gifts on the day designated for distribution. Gifts from the club include toys and books and other holiday favorites. While gifts are usually distributed in the early part of December, donations are taken through the end of the month to help pay for the gifts. They should be made out to the Christmas Cheer Fund and sent to P.O. Box 5467 High Point, N.C. 27262. Historically, The High Point Enterprise publishes the list of contributors and contributions during the week of distribution. In a front page article published in The High Point Enterprise on Dec. 12, 1924, a reporter wrote, “Local organizations, such as the Rotary, Kiwanis and Civitan clubs are to aid in taking care of these families.” Dates for this year’s Christmas Cheer Fund have not yet been determined. Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011 • 33


Your Holiday Traditions A heartfelt collection of reader-submitted stories of their own family Holiday Traditions

The Great Cookie Swap

The great cookie swap started 10 years ago by the “matriarch of the family, my mother. 2 weeks after thanksgiving we arrive at the the home of sisters or brothers... baring our baked goodies 2 to 3 doz. of our best cookies, breads, etc. just to name a few. Everyone lines up with an empty container and starts filling a couple of each ‘till all that are left is crumbs. That is when the real tradition starts homemade chicken noodle soup with of all things a scoop of mash potatoes on top 8 gallons there are 20+ of us by the way. -The Wilson Family of High Point

Christmas Goodies for Local Heroes

34 • Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011

We began, more than 10 years ago, “delivering homemade christmas goodies to our police and fire departments. We did this as a way to teach our young sons to say “thank you” to our local heroes for protecting and serving our community all year long and for sacrificing their holiday time with their families to keep us safe. We pack up assorted homemade treats and drive to the stations on Christmas Eve morning. Our children hand-deliver the containers to these men and women who are always so appreciative. Our boys are grown now and no longer need for us to drive them to these destinations, but they now go on their own and make the deliveries. -Scott, Lisa, Tyler and Jacob Motley of Archdale


Annual Boone Trip I have five children, seven grand“children and one great grandchild. The second weekend after Thanksgiving every year we get together on a Saturday and travel to Boone. We get there about lunch where we eat at Daniel Boone Inn. We leave there and go to one of our favorite tree farms where we all choose our best tree. They have a petting zoo, cider, wreaths and fun. With our trees all loaded on top the car, we are off to the outlet mall to see what Christmas gifts they have and for ice cream. All makesfor a happy, fun day. - Joyce Wilson of Kernersville

Pilgrims, Indians & Angels

Family has always worn either Indian head bands or pilgrim hat “you Our can change from year to year. It all started when our oldest son was in the first grade. His class had this little program about Thanksgiving. Now our children are 22, 20, and 8. Grandparents, aunts and uncles still join in on this tradition. We all go around the table and say what we are thankful for. For our Christmas tradition if any of our friends or family have passed away during the year, we purchase a angel and write or have engraved on it their name and year they passed. Every year at that season, we talk about something funny or sweet we remember about them as we put their angel on our tree. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to all! - Cathy Beaver of Winston-Salem

Paper Fight Tradition fight tradition has been one for “a longA paper time in our family. Each person saves papers from their presents. After all the gifts are opened, we spread out over a room and wad up the papers and have a paper fight and make a big mess. We have a great time even the little children. Afterwards we get a trash can and clean up the mess! Merry Christmas from our family! -Dorothy Byrley of Trinity

Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011 • 35


YourHoliday Recipes

Holiday favorites from our reader’s kitchen’s to yours.

Chocolate Balls

Oven Baked Chicken

6 Chicken Breast ¾ cup Pepperidge Farm Mix ¼ cup grated Parmesan Cheese ½ teaspoon Garlic Salt 1 tablespoon Parsley Flakes 1 stick melted margarine Wash Chicken, remove skin, let dry on paper towels, mix all the ingredients except margarine & chicken, dip chicken in margarine, then in he mixed ingredients. Place in a baking pan lined with foil. Drizzle left over margarine over chicken. Bake at 350º for 1 hr. 15 mins. Uncovered. Submitted By: Nancy Freeman, Thomasville

Old Fashion Persimmon Pudding 2 cups Persimmon Pulp 2 cups sugar 2 eggs 2 cups self rising flour 2 cups milk 1 stick of butter-melted 1 tsp. Vanilla

Combine Persimmon Pulp sugar and eggs. Add flour alternately with milk until well mixed. Add butter and vanilla. Place in Buttered baking dish-9x13 inch pan. Bake at 325º for 1 hour. Submitted By: Betty Hunt, Thomasville

Sausage Cheese Muffins 1 lb. Hot Pork Sausage 1 can condensed Cheedar Cheese Soup undiluted. ½ cup milk 2 tsp. Rubbed sage 3 cups Biscuit Mix

In a skillet over medium heat, cook sausage until no longer pink, drain in a bowl, combine soup, milk, sage and sausage. Stir in the biscuit mix just until moistened. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400º for 15 to 20 minutes. Submitted By: Willie McKay McCain

2 ½ c. graham cracker crumbs 1 c. melted butter 1 12oz. Jar Peanut Butter 2 cans of flaked coconut 1 c. chopped pecans 1 lb. Box of powder sugar mix in large bowl & form into small balls. Dip in Chocolate Chips (1 bag) and parafin was ½ bar melt over double boiler. Dip balls, lay on paper to dry. Store in air tight container. Also white chocolate can be drizzled on top. Make a lot people love them! Submitted By: Iris Hutchins, High Point

Turkey Stuffing

Grandma’s Homemade Dressing Candied Yams

½ stick butter or Smart Balance 1-2 L cans of Sweet Potatoes or 3-4 large sweet potatoes ½ cup Brown Sugar If using Sweet Potatoes boil in peel til done. Drain, peel 1 cup raisins. Mash up, add all ingredients together, add 1 tbs cinnamon. Bake at 350º for 30-45 mins. May add miniature marshmallows & then melt in over-just a min. or so. Submitted By: Lona Gillespie, High Point

2 L pkgs. Stuffing mix 4-6 leftover biscuits or bread slices 3 eggs-beaten 2 L can chicken broth or water (can use turkey broth) 1-2 qts. 1 L. onion chopped 4-6 stalks celery chopped 2 tbs. Sage or to taste Chop onions & celery. Add broth to bread crumbs then remaining ingredients. May add broth or water if mixture is to thick. Grease or spray L. pan. Bake on 350º 30-45 mins or so. Submitted By: Lona Gillispie, High Point

36 • Christmas in the Southern Triad 2011

Cranapple Crunch

3 med. Apples, unpeeled, chopped 2 c. cranberries 1 ¼ c. sugar ½ c. margarine 1 ½ c. quick cooking oats ½ c. chopped nuts ½ c. light brown sugar 1/3 c. flour Mix apples, cranberries, and sugar and place in a butter casserole. Mix oats, nuts, brown sugar and flour. Melt margarine and pour over oat mixture. You may add more melted margarine if not moist enough. Sprinkle oat mixture over apple mixture and bake at 350º for 1 hour or until bubbly. Casserole may also be microwaved on high for 10-12 minutes. Submitted By: Marjorie McPherson, Trinity

2 packages of cornbread stuffing or 1 large one 1 stick butter 1 large onion 3 celery stalks Salt and pepper to taste 2 apples (cut up) 1 small box of raisins Almonds optional 2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning Boil turkey innards for stock, Saute until softened: butter, onion, celery, salt & pepper, apples, raisins, almonds, and poultry seasoning. Moisten cornbread stuffing mix with stock of turkey innards. Mix in sauted ingredients. Continue adding stock until desired consistency is reached. Will stuff a 12-16 pound turkey or bake as an individual mix at 350º for 30-45 minutes. Submitted By: Joanne Trees, High Point


Turkey-Olive Casserole

(great for leftover Turkey) 4 oz. Uncooked egg noodles 1 can cream of mushroom soup 1 cup milk 2 cups chopped cooked turkey ½ c. sliced pimento-stuffed olives 1 can French-fried onion rings. Cook noodles according to package directions. Omitting salt. Drain noodles and set aside. Combine soup and milk in a large bowl, add turkey, olives, noodles and half of onion rings, toss gently. Spoon mixture into a greased 10x6x2 in. baking dish; cover with foil and bake at 350º for 20 mins., uncover and sprinkle with remaining onions. Bake, uncovered an additional 10 mins. Yields 4 to 6 servings. Submitted By: Linda Lefler, High Point

Squash Casserole

2 ½ cups cooked squash 1 small onion cooked with squash salt and pepper cook the above together and drain, add: 1 small jar pimento chopped, 2 carrots grated, 1 cup sour cream 1 can cream of chicken soup, mix above together with squash. In another bowl mix one package of pepperidge farm herb dressing, with one sitck melted margarine. Put half of dressing in bottom of 9x13 glass dish sprayed with pam, pour mixture over dressing and put rest of dressing on top bake uncovered 350 for 30-45 minutes or until hot can cover and freeze unbaked-the thaw before cooking. Submitted By: Ruth Crouse, Jamestown

Sweet Potatoe Souffle

3 c. mashed sweet potatoes 2 eggs, beaten 1/3 stick butter or margarine 1 cup sugar ½ cup milk ½ tsp. Salt 1 tsp vanilla 1 tsp cinnamon Cream butter and sugar. Add other ingredients and mix well. Pour into baking dish. TOPPING: 1 cup brown sugar ½ cup flour 1 stick butter or margarine 1 tsp vanilla 1 ½ cup Chopped pecans Mix together ingredients (mixture will be crumbly) Spread over top of Sweet Potatoe mixture. Bake at 350º for 35 mins or until topping is slightly brown. Submitted By: Bernice Briley, High Point

Pumpkin Cake White Wine Cake

1 box yellow cake mix (without pudding) 1 3oz box instant vanilla pudding ¾ cup water ¾ cup vegetable oil ½ cup white cooking wine 4 eggs ¼ cup brown sugar ¼ cup white sugar 2 tsp. Cinnamon Mix all ingredients together. Bake at 325º in a greased tube or bundit pan. Cool and turn out onto a plate. GLAZE ½ stick butter (¼ cup) ½ cup white sugar ½ cup white wine. Mix then bring to a boil and pour over cake. Submitted By: Faye Michaels, High Point

*Photos are representatives of holiday foods and are not necessarily illustrations of the recipes they accompany.

Picnic Ham for the Holidays Cooked picnic ham (or ½ packed ham) 6 whole cloves ½ cup sugar 2 small cans pineapple juice 1 cup brown sugar

Put ham in large pot on top of stove and cover with water. Add cloves, sugar, and pineapple juice. Cover with lid and let simmer for 2 hours. Pierce all over with long fork. Turn ham over and simmer for 2 more hours. Let cool in water. After cool, remove skin and fat. Place in pan and rub brown sugar into both sides. Place some of the water from cooking in bottom of pan. Cook 400º to brown. Spoon drippings over ham. Let it cool before slicing. Slices better if put in refrigerator overnight. Submitted By: Jeanette Shirley, High Point

2 cups Self-Rising Flour 1 tsp. Soda 2 tsp. Cinnamon ½ tsp Salt 2 cups Sugar, 4 Eggs, beaten 1 Cup Crisco Oil, 2 Cups Pumpkin In a small bowl, mix first 4 ingredients. In a large bowl, mix the last 4 ingredients. Add dry ingredients to Sugar mixture and mix well. Pour into a prepared bundt pan and bake @ 350º degrees for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean. Let cool and put icing on top if desired. ICING 8 oz. Cream Cheese, 1 stick Butter 1 box Confectioners Sugar 2 tsp. Vanilla, 1 cup Chopped Pecans Let cream cheese and butter soften at room temperature. Using mixer, combine all ingredients except pecans. Sprinkle nuts on top of cake if desired. Submitted By: Linda Dotson, High Point

Applesauce Cake

2 sticks softened butter 1 cup white sugar 1 cup brown sugar 2 eggs-beaten 1 ½ cups applesauce 2 ½ cups plain flour 2 teaspoons soda 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 cup nuts 1 cup raisins 4 oz. Chopped candied pineapple 4 oz. Candied cherries Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and applesauce. Sift together flour, soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add some of the flour mixture to nuts and fruit and combine with creamed mixture. Bake at 300 for 1 ½ hours. BUTTERSCOTCH FROSTING ½ cup Brown sugar, packed firmly 6 tablespoons butter 1/3 cup milk ½ teaspoon vanilla ¼ teaspoon salt 1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar Melt butter and brown sugar slowly. Add milk and boil for 2 minutes. Chill thoroughly and add confectioner’s sugar while beating until thick enough to spread. Submitted By: Virginia Millikan, Archdale

German Chocolate Pies

2 ½ c. sugar 3 ½ tbsp. plain flour 6 oz. Chopped pecans 1 bar German Chocolate 1 ½ stick Margarine 1 large can Pet Milk ½ tsp vanilla 2 eggs 3-9 inch Pie Shells (Thawed) Preheat oven to 350º. Mix together sugar, flour, pecans and coconut (set aside) In a small sauce pan, melt chocolate and margarine. Pour Chocolate mixture, milk, vanilla and eggs into the flour mixture. Mix well. Pour into 3 unbaked pie shells. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Submitted By: Katherine Lambeth, Trinity


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o t 2 . C E D DEC. 20

The Triad’s original family Christmas tradition for more than 30 years!

HIGH POINT THEATRE BOX OFFICE 220 E. Commerce Ave., High Point, North Carolina Monday-Friday, noon-5 p.m. 336.887.3001 Etix: www.highpointtheatre.com

Presented by Actor Michael Huie as Scrooge

Christmas of Southern Triad  

hpeChristmasST2011

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