Well, it’s that time of year again; fall scarves are being traded in for Santa hats, and Burl Ives’s voice can be heard telling you to have a holly jolly Christmas any time you go out in public. Christmas trees are put up, menorahs are brought downstairs, and preparations are made for the Karamu Ya Imani on the sixth day of the Kwanzaa period. Regardless of what you celebrate, one of the best parts of the holidays is getting into the spirit, and North Carolina is the perfect place to do that. Here is a guide of what you can do to feel the Christmas cheer, experience the Hanukkah spirit, and reflect on African values with Kwanzaa in North Carolina.
There are several ways you can celebrate Christmas without even leaving Apex. Downtown Apex keeps its large Christmas tree and bright lights and garlands up all month, and it’s hard not to feel the Christmas spirit after grabbing a cup of hot chocolate from Common Grounds and wandering around our decorative downtown for a couple of hours. Additionally, the Paper Bag Players are putting on hilarious Christmas plays called Christmas All Over the Place, Ten Minutes Till Christmas, and Bring on the Snow at Halle Cultural Arts Center starting Dec. 10.
Another excellent way to feel the Christmas spirit locally is by attending Chapel Hill’s Twelve Days of Christmas, a month-long celebration at the Carolina Inn. Every inch of the Inn is covered in beautiful decorations, and attendees are treated to exciting festivities. People can eat brunch with Santa, see an impressive gingerbread house display, and go on a sleigh ride in a horse-drawn carriage.
Even if you’re celebrating on a tight budget, there are still many things you can do to feel that holiday cheer. Putting on a warm coat, taking a travel mug of hot chocolate, and going on an evening walk around your neighborhood to peruse other people’s Christmas decorations is a fun and totally free way to prepare for Santa Claus’s annual visit. Several local radio stations are also playing Christmas music all month long, such as MIX 101.5 and 99.5 WMAG. Listening to Christmas music in the car is an excellent way to get in the Christmas spirit at any time of day.
Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh’s community bookstore, hosts a free concert for Hanukkah every year. This year, a band called Mishpacha will be appearing at the bookstore on Dec. 27 at 7 p.m. Attendees can bring their families and celebrate Hanukkah surrounded by Jewish music and love for their culture. Chabad Center of Raleigh is also hosting an event called Caffeine for the Soul where attendees can “delve into the Torah’s timeless wisdom through stimulating text and discussion based classes.” This is taking place on Dec. 22 at and begins at 9:30 a.m.
Every year the town of Cary hosts a Kwanzaa celebration to celebrate African culture, and this year’s celebration is set to be one for the books. The 22nd Annual Kwanzaa Celebration is taking place on Dec. 29 at 11 a.m. at the Cary Arts Center; admission is free, so all who want to come celebrate the holiday are welcome. This year’s celebration, themed "It's a New Dawn; It's a New Day,” will feature arts and crafts activities at the Vendor Market and Children’s Village, a performance from the children’s dance group called Kuumba Dance Company, and a performance by the Elegba Folklore Society.
Regardless of what you celebrate, North Carolina offers countless options for ways to celebrate the holidays. Whether you want to honor African heritage, celebrate Jewish culture, or feel the joys of Christmas, you can do any of the above without spending too much money. The holidays are a happy time, and now that you know different ways to celebrate them, go out and enjoy!