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Today's Features

  • It’s that time of year when you are most likely to be hosting a party with friends or family.

    Make that gathering a little more festive and special by extending the holiday spirit to the drinks and refreshments you offer your guests.

    Here is what you need to prepare some of the more popular traditional holiday cheer and a few more.

    Wassail Bowl

    Drinking Wassail is an age-old winter custom. It is drunk at Christmastime, New Year’s and the 12th Night.

  • Every year about this time, I grow a bit weary of all of the holiday stuff and the typical cool and wet weather of our winters. The only solution to this is to get out and get a little bit of dirt under the fingernails. Of course, purists will recoil at the mention of dirt.

    Yes, I know, the stuff we grow plants in is soil, but even though I’m quickly closing in on the big Five-O, I’m still that kid pushing those Buddy-L and Tonka bulldozers and dump trucks around the sand pile.

  • Camellias bloom late fall, winter and early spring when few other plants do and have beguiled southern landscapes for more than 100 years. Camellias are usually thought of as a southern plant; they have been adapted to extend as far north as Long Island, N.Y. They can generally withstand winter temperatures as low as 10 degrees; they can be grown anywhere if you protect them and keep the roots from freezing. Camellias are shallow rooted, like the shade, and do the best in loose, fertile soil that is slightly acid. They do not like poor drainage.

  • Are you naughty or nice to your plants? The old adage applies here, “Too much of a good thing can kill you.”

    People who have purchased Christmas trees which can be used as landscape trees after Christmas must make sure they are properly cared for while in the home during the holidays. Too much or too little water plus exposure to indoor heat are common problems associated with Christmas tree short life. Try having the decorated tree only in the house for a minimum time and plant as soon after Christmas as possible.

  • Christmas arrives in a flurry of anticipation and dashed expectations. Weeks of hype, whispered hopes and circled desires swiftly end in a heap of torn paper and crushed bows.

    Gifts hoped for were not received. Unexpected presents did not always match desires.

    Children, overwhelmed by the abundance of toys, cannot express their gratitude in the face of such bounty. Despite our best efforts to ignore the feeling, I think we all sense the death found in birth, the cross that shadows Christmas.

  • Most builders can be seen with ladders and other tools of the trade in the beds of their pickup trucks, but members of the Brunswick County Home Builders Association recently loaded a truck with food bound for local food pantries.

    “When our association decided on a food drive as a community outreach project, our goal was to collect enough food to fill the back of a pickup truck, and we did,” said Tim Gallimore, president of the Brunswick County Home Builders Association.

  • Holiday events continue in coming days in Brunswick County and the surrounding area, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. The schedule includes:

    •Nights of a Thousand Candles, 3-10 p.m. Dec. 18, 19, 20, Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, S.C. Thousands of lights sparkle from live oak trees and illuminate garden paths as musicians perform, carolers sing and visitors experience the enchantment. Non-member tickets are $15 for adults and $6 for ages 6-12. (843) 235-6000 or 1-800-849-1931; www.brookgreen.org.

  • Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services are scheduled throughout Brunswick County and the surrounding area this week.

    •Candlelight Christmas service, 5 p.m. Dec. 24, Bethel United Methodist Church, 3909 U.S. 17 Business, Bolivia. Come dressed as you are. Brief Christmas service to include singing Christmas carols, a message and communion. For more information, call the Rev. Mark Murphy at 617-3245.

    •Christmas Eve candlelight service, 5 p.m. Dec. 24, Seaside United Methodist Church, 1300 Seaside Road SW (N.C. 904), Sunset Beach. 579-5753.

  • Announcement is made of the forthcoming marriage Crystal Nicole Buffkin of Ocean Isle Beach and Graham James Davis of Shallotte. The bride-elect is the daughter of Ricky and Frances Buffkin of Ocean Isle Beach and is a student at UNC-Chapel Hill. The prospective groom is the son of Bobby and Connie Davis of Shallotte and is employed at the State Employees Credit Union in Chapel Hill. A June 20, 2009, wedding is planned at First Baptist Church of Shallotte.

  • Kay Moore Mills and Steven Douglas Webb of Supply were married Nov. 22 at their residence. The Rev. Eddie Hill officiated. The bride is the daughter of Jimmy and Frances Moore of Marshville. She was given in marriage and escorted by her son, Kayne Severson. The groom is the son of Gwen Webb of Supply and Owen Webb of Kentucky. Friends gave the couple a reception following the ceremony. The groom is the owner of Webb Erectors. The couple lives in Supply.