It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Published 7:45 pm Thursday, November 8, 2018

Nov. 1 came and the pumpkins so integral to Halloween night disappeared in a flash. In their place, the traditional red, green and gold of Christmas appeared.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Beaufort County, and with the cold weather predicted for the weekend, it’s about to start feeling like it, too.

Though the turkeys have yet to be carved, Christmas fans are already entertaining ideas of this year’s decorations.

“Tradition’s always real big with me. I love to drag out some old things that we’ve used forever and things that belonged to my mother,” said Geri McKinley, owner/broker of Coldwell Banker Coastal Rivers Realty.

McKinley loves to decorate — her East Main Street home is always a showplace during the holidays and placed first in a past Spirit of Christmas awards competition held each year by the City of Washington.

For McKinley, tradition means red, green and gold décor, a live Christmas tree and pieces of family history such as a now-faded red and green, small split-rail fence placed at the base of the tree each year — a tradition that dates back much further than a 1927 photo of her own mother posed next to it as a 1-year-old.

Tradition can take many forms. For Cypress Landing resident Mary Jane Cooke, it’s angel and Christmas Village vignettes that she’s been collecting for decades (the Christmas Villages are her favorite, she said). But commitment for tradition doesn’t necessarily impact Christmas at the Cookes’.

“Every year, I try to do something different, though,” Cooke said.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE: Setting up her Christmas Village collection is one of Mary Jane Cooke’s favorite parts of Christmas decorating.

Not only has the Cooke home been featured on Arts of the Pamlico’s Christmas Tour of Homes in the past, but Cooke is big fan of going to see others’ homes on display.

“I always love going to the homes tour, so I’m looking forward to that. It’s always nice to see new homes and different ideas,” Cooke said.

As such, Christmas decorating trends vary widely this year, so this year’s Christmas Tour of Homes, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 1, may offer up a festive selection of décor, as follows:


Experiment In Color

Red, green and gold are the tradition, but more often, we’re seeing less traditional colors associated with Christmas cheer. From a popular choice of silver, combined with turquoise and purple, to lime greens and bright pinks, Christmas decor is no longer confined to tradition. Instead, just about any colors go — including rainbow.

NON-TRADITIONAL: Sparkling silver, augmented by turquoise and purple, is a popular color scheme for the modern Christmas.

White Christmas

Here in eastern North Carolina, it’s a rare Christmas where a blanket of snow covers the ground, but we can certainly replicate the feel of White Christmas inside. From white ornaments, lights and garland on the tree to white china, flowers and candles on the dining table, this minimalist approach can be a more elegant, focused approach to Christmas. Throw in some silver candlesticks or ornaments and fresh greenery to make it even more so.


Spread the Spirit

Christmas decorating doesn’t have to be confined to a single room and a Christmas tree or front porch lights and a wreath. It can be lavishly spread throughout any home, popping up in unexpected places. McKinley said turning the house over to Christmas is a family tradition, one that’s been passed down through generations.

“My mother decorated everything that didn’t move, and I follow what she did,” McKinley laughed. “She’d decorate the bathrooms and everything. … Now my boys do the same thing. I love it. It’s fun to see it passing down to the next generation.”


Go Natural

A person doesn’t have to drop a lot of money on fancy Christmas decorations. The most traditional of traditional Christmas décor can be found on a walk through the woods or the neighborhood or on a trip to the grocery store. Colonial Americans used fresh greenery and berries to decorate their mantels — the same can be used to make a garland runner down the middle of a dining room table. Fresh oranges or lemons, spiked with clove designs, make for a colorful addition to a mantle garland or wreath. This is Christmas in its simplest form, a nod to nature and the past.

COLONIAL: An elegant way to decorate for Christmas includes using the natural, such as oranges studded with a design of cloves, complemented by fresh greenery.