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Welcome to the holidays on the islands, and let us hear from you

Welcome to the 2016 Christmas on the Islands Page, which features holiday shopping tips and information and news about events during November and December. 
We hope our readers will shop locally for their holiday gifts and other needs.  Our small, locally owned businesses need our support all year-round.
Most of the advertisers in our holiday shopping guide have websites, so you can shop even if you won’t be here.
The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are a great time to be on the islands. Have a terrific holiday season and enjoy
We will be happy to list your event.  Please send information to [email protected].


Our Coast’s Food: Holiday Cheese Ball

On New Year’s Day 1802, President Thomas Jefferson, just 10 months in office, received a grand gift of support from the town of Cheshire, Mass. It was a cheese that weighed 1,235 pounds. Stories of its 13-foot circumference and how it was rolled across the White House lawn to Jefferson’s waiting arms has caused some interpreters of history to bill that “Cheshire Mammoth Cheese” America’s first cheese ball.

The declaration is one Southerners know to be absolutely wrong. It’s not just that the big cheese was likely a wheel of something like cheddar painted red rather than the ball of spreadable cheese coated in chopped pecans that Southerners claim to be all their own. The cheese ball’s fabled Southern pedigree is not by virtue of true history or special recipes but by the kindness and generosity with which the globes are shared. 
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School provides holiday care packages for service men and women

Cape Hatteras Secondary School of Coastal Studies has been having a fund drive for a Blue Star Mothers (BSM) initiative that was kicked off at the school on Veteran’s Day and ran through Dec. 16. The BSM is a national organization with a chapter on the Outer Banks that sends care packages throughout the year to service men and woman deployed overseas. At CHSSCS there was a table set up during several lunch periods and home basketball games, and the CHSSCS Booster Club generously donated concession proceeds from one game – raising $748.01 – an amount which far surpassed the original goal of $500. 

School Resource Officer Gary Kierney was a motivator in the effort. He’s a member of the Dare County Veteran’s Advisory Council. He gives a shout out of thanks to Cindy Veal of First South Bank in Buxton for volunteering at the table, and CHSSCS Principal Beth Rooks and Assistant Principal Annette O’Neal for their support. Kierney shared a story about sixth grade student Mia Phillips.

“Mia came up to me while I had our table set up at the last basketball game and she put in a few coins... She added that she hoped her dad got a care package. She informed me that her dad is in the U.S. Army currently deployed in Iraq.  She then went on and said she bought a ticket for Tod Ray's Chess Club 50/50 and said that if she won that she wanted to give all her winnings to the Blue Star Mothers as she wanted all of our military folks to get a package this Christmas. She made my Christmas! So when we gave the check to BSM representative Mary Ann Cohen it just felt right that Mia should be the one presenting it on behalf of Cape Hatteras Secondary.”

Kierney noted that the local BSM accepts donations year-round. Call Pam Buscemi at 252-473-1898 or Mary Ann Cohen 252-987-1137 to donate or to provide them with the name of serviceman or woman currently deployed overseas. All funds raised go directly to sending care packages to deployed military personnel.

Photo by Randy Ratliff
School Resource Officer Gary Kierney with sixth grade student Mia Phillips as she presents a check for $748.01 to Mary Ann Cohen, a Blue Star Mothers representative.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Hatteras-style

Janet Morrow Dawson of Frisco wrote a version of the famous "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" poem for her friends and shared it with The Island Free Press.  Now, we want to share it with our readers.

Janet gives credit to Major Henry Livingston for authorship, though many people still think the original was written by Clement Moore.

Janet also notes for those readers who are not familiar with "Old Christmas" on Hatteras that Old Buck is a fixture at that celebration on the island, which is still observed in Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo around Jan. 6. 
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Ocracoke's annual oyster roast and shrimp boil is Dec. 30

Christmastime heralds a much anticipated event on Ocracoke—the annual Oyster Roast and Shrimp Boil at the Fish House Ocracoke Seafood Company from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30.  This year is the 11th year of this fundraiser for the Ocracoke Working Watermen’s Association (OWWA).

Along with all the oysters and shrimp, the event will feature Vince and Rudy's fish stew.
Included in the price of admission (to be determined when the oysters are purchased) is cocktail sauce, vinegar, Saltine crackers, and steamed shrimp.

Dessert and hot cider follow from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Working Waterman’s Exhibit in Community Square.  Islanders and visitors alike are asked to bring a dessert to share.

The fundraiser grosses several thousand dollars each year and proceeds will help fund OWWA’s education and outreach activities.

Availability of food is first-come, first-served and there are no advance ticket sales for this rain-or-shine event.

Floats, spirit, and loads of candy reign at 25th Christmas parade...WITH SLIDE SHOW

It was a cold but sunny Saturday afternoon for the 25th annual Hatteras Village Christmas Parade, which was a grand celebration befitting the milestone year and the village’s eagerness to return to normal after the one-two punch of Tropical Storm Hermine and Hurricane Matthew.

The stretch of Highway 12 from Teach’s Lair Marina to the Hatterasman was packed with families well before the 2 p.m. start time on Dec. 10. Many folks had smartly placed lawn chairs and Santa hats, and the onlookers who arrived early to get a great view were not disappointed. 
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Tips on preparing oysters for the holidays

It’s a time-honored tradition on the coast: holiday dinner with oyster dressing. State environmental officials are encouraging those who partake in this seasonal ritual to take some common-sense precautions when buying, storing and preparing oysters to prevent illnesses caused by environmental bacteria. The same is true for clams. 
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Cape Hatteras Baseball Takes On Holiday Challenge

Cape Hatteras Secondary School of Coastal Studies Baseball Coach Keith Durham says that, "In the first of what is sure to become an annual event, returning and prospective baseball players at Cape Hatteras Secondary School took part in a community service project."

Raffling off a $100 Wal-Mart gift card with 100 percent of the proceeds -- ticket sales of $817 -- going to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots and the Hatteras Island United Methodist Church Angel Gift program.

Coach Durham says, "The baseball program at Cape Hatteras received no funds from this project, but the players involved reaped plenty of benefits. It was great to see that people were still willing to give their support even in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew."

Ann Durham of Four Oaks, N.C., won the drawing for this year’s gift card and donated it back to the team to buy more toys. The high salesman was Colby Day selling 80 tickets to the raffle. Durham noted that the project was concluded on Dec. 3 by traveling to Wal-Mart in Kitty Hawk, where the players shopped for toys.  When all was said and done, the Hurricane baseball team had purchased 128 toys valued at $1,025.44 that will brighten Christmas morning for many children.

Larry Czernik with Dare County Toys for Tots, along with other U.S. Marine Corp League representatives met the team at Wal-Mart to talk with the players and to help get the toys headed to the hands of children on Christmas morning.

Durham weighed in, "It was a wonderful experience for everyone involved, and it was great to see our young people working so hard for a worthy cause with no thought of reward.  It is our hope that this project will help make the holidays a bit brighter for some children. One of the goals of the Cape Hatteras Secondary baseball program is to help our student-athletes see the community and world around them, and to help them to understand that they have a responsibility to be a positive force in the lives of other people.  This project is one of the ways we encourage our student-athletes to give back to their community.  We are very grateful that the Marine Corps Reserve, the United Methodist Church Angel Gift program, Wal-Mart, Cape Hatteras Secondary School, and the community have worked with us in making this project a success.  If it were not for the individuals and businesses that purchase the tickets, we could not be a part of this wonderful cause.”

A Guide to Dining Out During the Holidays

The weather is much cooler, the days are getting shorter, and there are noticeably fewer visitors on Hatteras and Ocracoke. And as a result, some of the islands’ restaurants have already closed and others will be closing shortly.

However, visiting during the holidays is much more popular with tourists than it once was.  Spending Thanksgiving or Christmas by the ocean when there is less hustle and bustle is appealing to many, and there are some restaurants and stores open to help you feed the crew!  Read More

The 24th annual Hatteras Island food drive is underway

The annual island-wide food drive to stock the shelves of the Hatteras Island Food Pantry is currently underway.  Residents and visitors are asked to participate in this drive as contributions of both food and money are badly needed. Without them, organizers say that the pantry will be unable to meet the needs of the community, which was devastated by Hurricane Matthew. Read more