Santa Claus in Manteo, surrounded by well-wishers and elves.

If Black Friday is the start of the official holiday season for most of the United States, here on the Outer Banks, thinks are a little bit slower in developing. Sure, there are lots of Black Friday sales and Santa shows up at various and sundry places—the real heart of the holidays though, the time we really seem to begin to celebrate around here is the weekend after Thanksgiving.

That’s the weekend the when the trees get lit, the parades happen  and the most wonderful traditions come to the fore.

It all starts in Manteo on the first Friday of December when the town lights it Christmas tree. If Norman Rockwell was reincarnated and wanted to paint a small town celebration, he would come to Manteo.

The high school choir sings, a local church hands out bowls of brunswick stew, there’s hot chocolate and donuts and best of all, it’s all free. On stage little kids are dancing, singers warble into the night. The crowd is alway huge—at least for a small town, probably 2000 or so. And of course Santa shows up at the end, throws the switch to light the tree and then . . . invites all the kids into the old Dare County Courthouse to whisper their Christmas wishes.

That’s followed by the annual Manteo Christmas parade on Saturday afternoon.

Later on Saturday, the town of Duck gets in the act with their annual crab pot Christmas tree lighting. A glorious, fun afternoon filled with singing and good wishes. The SPCA is always on hand with a couple of canines to adopt; Food for Thought holds a raffle; this year the First Flight High School advanced choir strolled along the boardwalk singing carols.

Of course Santa is part of the celebration as well—arriving via firetruck complete with wailing siren.

A great way to kick off a special time of the year and to remind ourselves what the spirit of the season truly means. Click here to learn more about our Holiday Rentals in Outer Banks!