Holidays on the Carolina coast can look a bit different than most Hallmark movies.  A white Christmas?  Keep dreaming.  Although it will be in the 30s this Christmas so never say never!

It gets cold here for sure, but typically not ‘snow cold’ much to the dismay of our snow-deprived Carolina kids.  While we embrace the random cold snap and the idea of the ellusive snow day, most of the time we enjoy mild days spent on the water and cool nights around the fire pit.  I think most would agree that we’d trade snow for sand any day!


Coastal living in the “off-season” comes with it’s own set of well-loved traditions to be shared and cherished.


The kick-off to the holiday season in our household is always our daughter’s birthday on November 22nd.  The five eventful weeks that follow are a whirlwind of eating, decorating, holiday parties, travelling, and gathering with friends and family as we relive the joy of old traditions and find joy in making new ones.

Some will forever crave the hustle, but the downtime and simple joys of the season can be equally as special.


Want to decorate for Christmas early?  No judgement here… if it puts you in a festive mood, go for it!  Maybe not Halloween early, but having Thanksgiving dinner under the glow of Christmas tree lights is totally acceptable.

Cooler temps and fading daylight doesn’t mean we’re totally housebound.  Decembers are filled with boating, fishing, kayaking, biking, hunting and spending quality time friends and family… mostly on porches or fireside.

The best gifts are the ones you can’t buy… unwrap the Carolina Coast


Food is also front and center… when is it not with our crew?  This time of year, we swap crab and shrimp for trout, oysters, deer and duck.  Last week we had a deer versus duck taste test, made our favorite Trout Recipe, and had our 4th oyster roast of the season.

Endurance Seafood and Pamlico Packing are the places to go for the freshest local catch and wild caught oysters by the bushel or 100 count.

Endurance seafoodholiday oysters



The beauty of the season and magic of Christmas surround us.

holiday parade

NEW BERN – Every December New Bern’s historic waterfront is transformed into a winter wonderland with wreaths on every lamp post, lights strung across the downtown streets, and even SNOW… of the manmade variety of course.  Drive the loop at Union Point Park for some sites of the season then head to the Canterbury neighborhood where the trees are filled with lighted balls that look like floating ornaments.

Walk the decorated streets of downtown, tour Tyron Palace adorned with old fashioned decorations, or get merry at the Mistletoe Market, Lighting of the Christmas tree, downtown Christmas parade or any one of the month long festivities during a Beary Merry Christmas.

ORIENTAL – An annual tradition in many waterfront towns on our coast is the Christmas flotilla where illuminated boats of all shapes and sizes join together in a waterway parade.  Oriental’s flotilla cruises into town the second weekend in December and kicks off the town’s Spirit of Christmas celebration.

Christmas lights have an extra twinkle when they’re reflecting off the water, don’t ya think?

Stroll the luminary-lined village streets that light a path for all to enjoy the sites, tastes and sounds of the season.  And nothing says hometown holiday quite like the Oriental Christmas Parade…

I hope you saved some festiveness for the Arlington Place neighborhood Oyster Roast, which is always held on the Spirit of Christmas Sunday.  This annual tradition is full of friends, food and cheer🦪

holiday oyster roastholiday oysters



Beginnings and endings should both be celebrated, and our little town celebrates BIG!  Oriental rings out the old year and in the new with the Dragon Run.  A forty-foot Chinese dragon comes out of hibernation each New Year’s Eve just after dark and saunters through the streets of Oriental, flashing it’s fangs while locals, visitors, and children (of all ages) cheer him on banging pots and pans to ward away evil spirits.

new years dragon run

Legend has it that the dragon was first sighted in the sixties and to touch the dragon means good luck for you in the coming year.

Before we turn the page on this calendar year, we take time to reflect on how we’ve changed and grown as individuals, as families, and as a community… hopefully for the better.

Cheers to making new traditions and purposeful resolutions, CHEERS TO 2023!

Arlington Place blog author Becca Lang. Story by Becca Lang

Hey there, I’m Becca. I live and work in Arlington Place with my husband Blair and kids Evie (13) and Keegan (10)... oh and our fur babies Gus (13) and Hank (3). We’re lucky to live in such a unique place and do our best to make the most of what our little slice of heaven has to offer.