istock_000007983507large_400Set against the ever-changing sea and the inevitable march to the heart of winter, holidays on the Outer Banks become a gift to be cherished. To be here during the holiday season takes a certain acceptance that nature will have its way but the shelter against any storm is ultimately the family and traditions that are so much a part of life on the edge of a continent.

Some of those traditions are a little bit quirky, and certainly unique. Old Christmas, celebrated on January 5 in Rodanthe, is probably one of the few places left that mark the day. Dating from the mid 18th century when 11 days were dropped from the calendar to create the modern Gregorian calendar, the day is welcomed with a stuffed bull (an English tradition) and a lot of cheer.

There are other traditions as well, many of those remarkably similar to the traditions in almost any small town–for make no mistake, in the winter, the Outer Banks becomes a place of small town custom and village life.

Santa seems to be everywhere. There’s breakfast with Santa, and he eats so many of them, it’s no wonder he’s a “fat jolly old elf.” And that doesn’t include all the other ways he shows up. It is more than Santa, though. Every year the Elizabethan Gardens Grand Illumination creates artistry against the dark of night.

Speaking of lighting the night sky–the Poulos house, on the road to Nags Head Woods, is a holiday creation that has to be seen to be believed. Passing under a lighted arch in the road, suddenly there appears dozens of individual holiday scenes (holiday being used advisedly–there’s a Menorah and dreidel scene included), tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of lights, and just an extraordinary feeling of the joy of the season. It is the gift of one family to the Outer Banks.

It may be that is what creates such a wonderful feeling of being home for the holidays on the Outer Banks; the sense of generosity, family and giving can and do transcend any one place, yet they define the meaning home and holiday. Certainly, it is a gift to have those things on the Outer Banks as it is a gift to have those things in all of our lives.

Perhaps, then, that is the gift of the season, the sense of home and holiday that comes with the traditions surrounding us.

From all of us at Resort Realty, we wish you the very best this holiday season and a wonderful new year.