I grew up with a large extended family, most of whom stayed in or near my hometown of Graham, North Carolina, just 20 minutes from Pittsboro. We pack in more holiday parties than there are days of the week from about the third week in November to the third week of December. We often leave one to make the tail end of another. Tables are lined with the food that I dream of all year long: casseroles made with Campbell’s condensed soups, mac ‘n’ cheese, homemade biscuits or yeast rolls, Smith Island cakes, banana pudding, bread pudding … the list goes on. By Christmas, I weigh a good 5 pounds more, and I am exhausted. I just want to be home in my comfy clothes, curled up with a book, a grilled cheese and a bowl of tomato soup. No talking, please. My kids think I hate the holidays, but what I hate is not being able to slow down, reflect and enjoy their meaning.
I will get my wish this year, though I never would have imagined it would be at the hands of a pandemic. All of our gatherings are canceled. Not one the entire holiday season. I am looking forward to having my three grown children here and to create small, festive get-togethers at our home. You may be doing the same thing, so join me in planning some of your holiday entertainment with our guide, beginning on page 54. Learn more about Bryon May and Diana May’s Christmas tree farm that they’ve owned since 1994. Try out a new recipe from O’YA Cantina, 39 West Catering and Willy’s Cinnamon Rolls with your family. I may have to sneak in the New Year’s Eve cocktails from Postal Fish Company (made with Starrlight Mead!), The Fearrington House Restaurant and Fair Game Beverage Co. before my kids head back to their respective homes. It’s doubtful that they will spend New Year’s Eve with me!
I also plan to shop local this holiday season. I hope you’ll do the same – our small retailers need the support now more than ever. Our gift guide on page 66 has several great ideas for the nature enthusiast, exercise maven or top-notch hostess.
However you choose to celebrate this year, I wish you much joy. – Chris Elkins
34 Back in Shape
Clients return to their pre-pandemic workout routines as gyms and fitness studios reopen
40 Bringing Up Baby
Chatham Maternity Care Center welcomes its first newborns
46 Balancing Act
A creative couple finds new ways to combine their passions for natural healing practices
54 Putting Down Roots
Jordan Lake Christmas Tree Farm celebrates its 26th season
56 All the Trimmings
An appetizer, entree and dessert to add to your holiday menu
62 Cheers to 2021
So long, 2020! Ring in the new year with these three creative cocktails, crafted using local ingredients.
82 How We Celebrate Now
Heart of NC Weddings magazine publisher shares her perspective on the new world of weddings
DEPARTMENTS & COLUMNS
What we’ve heard around Chatham
68 Room to Grow
The Barker family found more space – both inside and out – at their new home in Chapel Ridge
Amber Leviner and Wyatt Kimmy
Candice Glosson and Cody Griffin
PEOPLE & PLACES
24 Chatham Works
Uniquely Chatham businesses
50 The Big Give
How you can get involved in our local nonprofits