December 23, 2022

Woody and Santa, Christmas 2022

A Minute with Morgan

GOOD morning and Merry Almost-Christmas!

One important thing we're providing this week is a link to pet safety tips for cold weather. My dog, Woody (pictured above with his pal, Santa), received an email from his feline friend, Tippy, who asked him to put “staying warm” suggestions for outside animals in his “Woody’s World” column this week, but he ran out of space so click below and take a look – there’s a link to one of Woody’s columns with cold weather tips too. I care for two outdoor cats and, as well as their heated houses, they’ve got a heated blanket inside. I just hope they finally decide to go in them – they did last winter but this winter they’re holding out on me!

So, please read the tips, please have a happy holiday wherever you are and whomever you’re with, and I’ll see you next week.

Morgan Harper, Editor

If you're concerned about keeping your furry friends safe during the colder months, check out Woody’s column on pet safety in cold weather. For even more tips and information on how to care for your pet during the winter, be sure to visit the ASPCA website.

New News

Here’s what we’re working on for next week’s

Below the Fold

The State Port Pilot Cookie Contest

A GOOD time was had by all

Our annual Holiday Cookie Contest has come and gone once again, and I’ve got to say it was amazing.

Seriously. This year was a wonderful contest from start to finish – not to say all years aren’t, but this year felt special. Maybe it was because things were almost back to normal.

Almost meaning that the cookie contest was a community gathering again, with live music and tables for folks to sit around with their friends and neighbors for a little while and enjoy themselves while they ate some cookies, drank some cider and cast their vote for their favorite cookie display.

As one of the people who is there from start to finish every year, who has been coordinating this contest for over a decade, it’s a different experience for me. I start thinking about it way before everyone else. Or, at least that’s what I thought.

Over the years I have met some wonderful bakers, fabulous designers, and amazing people through the cookie contest. Some of them I see every year on the Wednesday and we hug – it truly is seeing an old friend. And I meet new people every year too. Every year new participants come, and every year they say they’ll be back the next year – and 9 out of 10 are.

But, as I said – I thought I was the only one who thought about the contest way ahead of time ... throughout the year. I was wrong. Some bakers were thinking about next year’s display before this year’s contest was even over! I’ve found that the bakers enjoy meeting each other, talking to each other, and they feed off of each other’s creativity. Great minds think alike, they really do.

They may not bake alike, and they may not judge alike, as one of our participants for years said to me this year – “It all depends on the judge and what they like,” She’s right. This year’s judges had a thing for chocolate. If you look at the winning cookie recipes (linked below) you’ll see that.

The Coookie Monster, Frosty the Snowman, and the Gingerbread Man

Our three judges this year were camera shy, so we thought we’d have Cookie Monster invite his friends the Snowman and the Gingerbread Man to pose for a photo. The three Southport ladies came shortly after and did the hard job of tasting and scoring the cookies. And, after that it was time for the crowd and boy, was there a crowd this year!

We thank all of you for coming, and hope you had a great time and that we’ll see you at the 2023 contest.

We also thank all of our sponsors for the great gifts our winners took home, and thank you to our great musicians – Rev, David Pope and Shelley Higgins – for making the event merrier.

Thanks to the staff of The Pilot who came and worked so hard on such a fun day.

And to the participants – the longtime bakers (don’t stop believing!) and the newbies (welcome to the club!) – we hope we’ll see you – and your cookies – next December!

Check out this year’s winning cookie recipes.

Do you have a “happy story” about good people doing good things in the community that you'd like to share with your fellow readers? Submit your uplifting idea or anecdote for Below the Fold to

Good to Know

  • December 23 - Festivus: Festivus is a holiday that was featured on the popular sitcom "Seinfeld," in an episode titled "The Strike." The idea of Festivus was to revolt against holiday materialism, and involved such practices as the Festivus Pole — an unadorned aluminum pole, "Airing of Grievances," and "Feats of Strength." Although Festivus was fictionalized on the show, it is purported to have originated in the household of Dan O'Keefe, the television writer credited with penning this episode of "Seinfeld."

  • December 24 - National Eggnog Day: Eggnog is a beverage associated with the holiday season. Made of spiced milk and egg yolks, it is often spiked with rum or another spirit to make a holiday cocktail. Historians debate eggnog's lineage. Most agree eggnog originated from the early medieval Britain “posset,” a hot, milky, ale-like drink. The name is a bit of a mystery, however. Some say “nog” comes from “noggin,” meaning a wooden cup, or “grog,” a strong beer.

  • December 25 - Christmas: Christmas is a Christian holiday marking the birth of Jesus, the Christ Child. Decorating houses and yards with lights, putting up Christmas trees, giving gifts, and sending greeting cards have become holiday traditions even for many non-Christian people. This winter holiday is beloved by young and old, and is often an integral time of the year for festive gatherings and reunions.

  • December 26 - Boxing Day (Canada & UK): Boxing Day is ordinarily observed on the first day after Christmas. A legal holiday in Canada, the UK and some former British territories, it's a day when Christmas gift boxes were "regularly expected by a postman, the lamplighter, the dustman and generally by all those functionaries who render services to the public at large without receiving payment therefore from any individual." According to some, Boxing Day also can be traced back to the Victorian era when churches often displayed a box into which their parishioners put donations.

  • December 27 - National Fruitcake Day: Love it or hate it, fruitcake is an integral part of the holiday season. However, in the 18th and 19th century, fruitcakes were made for special occasion likes weddings, but it’s unknown why they became associated with Christmas, according to the Smithsonian. The cake is usually a pound or bundt cake with dried fruit baked right into the batter.

  • December 28 - Pledge of Allegiance recognized, anniversary 1945: The U.S. Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance and urged its frequent recitation in America's schools on this day, despite the pledge being composed in 1892. In 1954 the Knights of Columbus persuaded Congress to add the words "under God" to the pledge.

  • December 29 - YMCA Organized, Anniversary 1851: The first U.S. branch of the Young Men's Christian Association opened in Boston, Mass in 1851. It was modeled on an organization begun in London in 1844. The goal of the YMCA continues to be strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. YMCA chapters now include both young men and women.

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Community Focus

Reader Photo Showcase

We’re excited to share this group of photos submitted by GOOD readers responding to last week’s prompt, “something old.” In this array of interesting and nostalgically charming photos, you’ll find ruins of the ancient world, treasures from the 1950s and a snapshot from Southport, 1963. Thanks to all of you who shared these unique glimpses into the past.

Taken at the Southport Fire Department 1963.Pictured are Harold Spencer, Sr., Harold Spencer, Jr., Brenda S. Bowling, and Santa. Submitted by Brenda Bowling

Taken at the Southport Fire Department in 1963.
Pictured are Harold Spencer, Sr., Harold Spencer, Jr., Brenda S. Bowling, and Santa. Submitted by Brenda Bowling

More photos from Roger Albizu and Deboarah Alt.

View these photos and past reader photo showcases

Recipe of the week

I love breakfast any day of the year and Christmas is no exception! Here is a great recipe I found recently online at I'm Hungry for That! It is simple, delicious, and needs only 6 ingredients that are probably in your kitchen right now! It's not only for the holiday but a great go-to for any occasion – or no occasion at all!
Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!


  • 1 lb. ground pork sausage

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 cup half and half

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 4 slices bread, toasted and broken into pieces

  • 1½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded

  • Directions

  1. Grease a casserole dish and preheat the oven to 350°F.

  2. In a skillet, cook the sausage until they brown. Drain excess grease.

  3. In a bowl, mix the eggs, half and half, and season with salt and pepper.

  4. Add the sausage, bread, and half the cheese. Mix to combine.

  5. Transfer to the baking dish and top with the rest of the cheese.

  6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the egg mixture has set.

Pet of the Week!

Meet Ollie B., this week's pet of the week!
Ollie is a gorgeous and happy dog, with an inquisitive expression that shows off his curious personality. We’d like to thank
Laraine Bronski for submitting this photo of Ollie, and we encourage all readers to share photos of their own pets.
Be sure to visit
our pet of the week gallery to see more adorable animals.

Ollie B. submitted by Laraine Brinski

See the complete collection in our Pet of the Week Showcase Gallery!

Good Times

It’s Friday! Presented by Up Your Arts, here’s the weekend line-up, full of music and activities for everyone.

Up Your Arts Creative and Performing Arts Logo

Friday, December 23

  • Mark Loren Duo @ the Joyce (Leland)

  • Whiplash @ Oak Island Moose Lodge

  • R&R Music @ Locals (Leland)

  • Eric Metts @ the Pub of Southport

  • Rich Johnson Duo @ Second Wind

Saturday, December 24

  • Live Music (TBD) @ The Grape and Ale (OKI)

  • Christmas Eve @ Franklin Square Park

On a GOOD Note

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.”

– Andy Rooney

Have a really GOOD weekend!