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Christmastime in Cooleemee

By Hugh Fisherhfisher@salisburypost.com
COOLEEMEE ó When it comes to the holidays, the old-fashioned and the simple things shine through the brightest.
So it was in Cooleemee, where Sunday’s annual Old-Time Christmas celebration captured the very best of holiday cheer.
Carols, homemade refreshments and good conversation were the order of the afternoon.
“It’s simple and traditional,” Mayor John Chandler said. “We always have a real good time.”
This is the town’s 18th annual Old-Time Christmas.
At the Zachary House museum and recreation center, candles, garlands and a Christmas tree with ornaments handmade by the town’s kindergartners were warm and colorful, even without blinking bulbs and such.
Young and old sat down to talk over punch, home-baked cookies and fudge…
Lots and lots of fudge.
After a blind taste-test and a difficult decision by the judges, Karen Chandler Smith won the town’s fourth annual Christmas fudge-making contest, out of a table full of entries.
It’s the second time she’s taken home the trophy.
But the many entries added cheer to the Christmas table … and ensured a hyper afternoon for the kids who were there.
Santa Claus arrived for photos and time with the children, who were quick to line up to ask for gifts.
Ann Cranford, the town’s elder storyteller, said she tells the kids how Christmas has always meant time to spend with the ones you love.
“We didn’t have a lot of toys. It was more about friends and family and church,” she said.
“You could have a good Christmas without presents.”
The centerpiece of the afternoon was the story behind the season: the Rev. Stan Riddle, youth pastor at Victory Baptist Church, read the story of Christ’s nativity from the Gospel of Luke.
“I think it’s great that the community gathers together at this time of year to celebrate the birth of our Lord and savior,” Riddle said.
Look for a story on Cooleemee’s Las Posadas, a traditional Mexican Christmas celebration, coming up in this week’s Salisbury Post.

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