Outer Banks Holidays Begin with Tree Lightings

Seasons Greetings lights up the Town Green in Duck.
Seasons Greetings lights up the Town Green in Duck.

This is certainly a great weekend to celebrate the holidays. Christmas is coming—we know that because there were tree lighting ceremonies in Manteo and the Duck—and tonight, Sunday is the first evening of Chanukah.

For most of the folks that live here and our visitors, the tree lightings really seem to mark the true beginnings of the holidays.

Manteo Tree Lighting

Thanksgiving was so early this year that the tree lighting fell on November 30, first time in a while it’s been in November.

The event is so perfectly all the things we associate with the holiday season that it’s no wonder so many people pack the waterfront area of the town.

There’s free Brunswick stew fromMt. Olivet Church in Manteo, hot chocolate and plenty of sugary treats.

What really makes the evening so wonderful are all the local dancers, singers and performers who take to the stage. Held on the front steps of the old Dare County Courthouse, it is a wonderful showcase for how much people care in the community.

There was a little bit of rain this year, so some of the entertainment was compressed, but Santa still made his appearance—with the combined choruses of all the Manteo schools and the tree lit up the night beautifully.

We weren’t able to get to it this year, but there is a Christmas parade on Saturday every year in Manteo.

Town of Duck and It’s Crab Pot Tree

The Town of Duck has its own distinctive way of lighting up the night with festive lights. Stacking crab pots in the shape of a tree, lights are draped over them and it makes for a different but wonderful way to welcome the holidays and pay tribute to the history of the area.

The Town Green has become the cultural center of the village and that’s where everything happens. The music—Just Playing Dixieland was a lot of fun, with a highlight when they brought some of the younger children on stage to shake bells and sing Jingle Bells.

There’s always cookies and hot chocolate. The Dare County SPCA is always on hand—it is a very dog friendly event—and even though it is very different than the Manteo tree lighting—it still has the same feel of togetherness and joy.

Santa Claus does, of course, come to town, and in Duck he has a bounce in his step and a joy in his laugh that will make all children smile.

The holidays are the perfect time to visit the Outer Banks. Check out our Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates listings for the best accommodations.

Tree Lightings Mark Beginning of OBX Christmas Season

Santa arriving at Duck to the excited cheers of the children.
Santa arriving at Duck to the excited cheers of the children.

The first weekend in December on the Outer Banks is a pretty special time. That is the official opening of the Christmas Season.

Sure Thanksgiving gets all the press, but as far as the Outer Banks is concerned until the Christmas Trees are lit in Manteo and Duck, it’s just not official yet.

Duck-Holiday Spirit with a Twist

Of course, the Duck tree lighting is done with a distinctive twist. The shape is right and the lights are there, but there’s not actual tree. The tree shape is created by crab pots and it does give a nice, distinctive touch to the celebration.

There is a lot about the Duck celebration and a much of it is that the way the town goes about it is just a little but different than anyone else. There is music, but it’s Dixieland from Just Playing Dixieland—a local group and they are very good.

Pets are encouraged—well, dogs. We’re not sure how cats would do in that environment. But it is nice to see.

There is, of course, hot chocolate and cookies, but best of all, when Santa comes to Duck, he is absolutely at his best. Santa, when he comes to the town, may be the best reason to put the Duck tree lighting on the annual to do list.

Manteo-The Spirit of Small Town Christmas

That is not to denigrate Manteo at all.

In fact, the Manteo tree lighting is so perfectly small town America and community that it feels as though there should be a painting of it somewhere.

This year may have been the best attended in some time. We can’t be sure, but Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church ran out of their Brunswick Stew this year—and on a chilly night, it was missed.

Still the evening is fantastic.

Centered around the old Dare County Courthouse that is now home to the Dare County Arts Council, the evening features dancing from local churches and a dance school. Youth choirs fill the air with music, there’s a Yuletide log burning and yes, Santa does make an appearance.

It is a wonderful, wonderful experience and one certain to put the holiday spirit into anyone’s step.

Outer Banks Holidays-A Gift to Ourselves

jlmerchrChristmas 2016 wasn’t a very exciting day on the Outer Banks…except for the squeals of delight from children finding a perfect gift under tree.

It seemed almost deserted by the afternoon. There were almost no cars on the our streets and only few convenience stores were open.

Driveways, though were filled with cars and families poured out of their vehicles and into hugs and cries of joy of families reuniting.

When the Holiday Season is described as magical, perhaps this is what is meant—that the magic of families reuniting and the joy of children is a balm to concerns of everyday life. Perhaps the greatest gift is the gift we give ourselves, the knowledge that it is possible to know the simple joys of life and that for at least for one day or perhaps one week, it truly is a part of who we are.

Stores will open tomorrow. Bars and restaurants will be ready of locals and visitors who have come to the Outer Banks.

And that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Yet there remains a lingering sense of joy and shared experience that stays with us for days after the holidays—whether the holiday being celebrated at this time of the year is Christmas or Chanukah.

It’s a wonderful topic of conversation that seems to be almost be a greeting for the next few days.

In that way, the Outer Banks is much like any other place. We love talking about gifts and gift giving. We are happiest when we know that family is near, and the holiday season is a time to remember what is truly important in life.

The Outer Banks is truly a beautiful and unique place to live and visit. There is a splendor to the forces of nature at work here that is unlike any other place on earth.

The people who live here, though, and our visitors who come to enjoy an experience like on other, are like people everywhere—seeking the love of family and beauty of nature.

From the staff at Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates to our friends and families everywhere, we wish you the very best this holiday season.