I was feverishly putting the finishing touches on my potatoes au gratin and butternut squash soup while bouncing between emails and internal company pings, trying to put this issue to press and simultaneously get ready for my first holiday event of the season. (Both dishes for our Friendsgiving turned out just fine, thank goodness. And thanks, Instant Pot.) I felt overwhelmed and realized I was letting the stress of the holidays get to me before they’d really even begun. I stepped back, let out a few deep breaths and returned to cooking.
I’ve never been a fan of the cold, and so for me, winter’s most redeeming quality is that it’s a time for gathering – for slowing down and taking time to visit with loved ones. I fondly look back on years of watching American Tobacco Water Tower lightings with my partner and our friends, and shopping for gifts at Indio, The Artisan Market at 305, Parker and Otis, Vaguely Reminiscent and Mode Consignment (formerly Fifi’s Fine Resale Apparel), among other stellar local gift stores. I remember the snow days living in Old West Durham, when we’d join our neighbors and march up Englewood Avenue toward Ninth Street and a much-needed pint with our favorite bartenders at Dain’s Place.
It was these warm memories that, in part, inspired the illustration featured on our cover. Artist Nick Cook captured this vision of “A Bull City Holiday” in the form of a snow globe – an idea that came to me from my dad, Robert MacLaren, who would bring back snow globes as presents from his travels. In this scene, Major the Bull seems to have gotten wrapped up in some holiday high jinks – I like to think he was busy making merry at Queeny’s or Jack Tar & The Colonel’s Daughter before returning to his pedestal on a blustery winter’s night.
However you’re planning on spending these next couple of months – whether you’re headed for hibernation or have a calendar that’s chock-full of get-togethers – I hope you take the time to rest and recuperate after a long year (years, really). Maybe just curl up with this holiday issue on a cold night and flip through content that’s both heartwarming and celebratory. We’ll see you back here in a brighter 2023. – Executive Editor Amanda MacLaren
THE HOLIDAY ISSUE
24 A Very Merry Meal
Put a bit of the Bull City on your holiday table this year
34 The Most Wine-Derful Time of the Year
Toast to the season with four expertly sourced bottles
38 Season’s Readings
Cozy up with some wintery recommendations from a few of our local bookstores
40 Forward Progress
It’s the season of hope, joy and love. We found it all – plus plenty of determination – in these three wellness journeys.
50 Mission to Serve
A married couple reflect on their recent volunteer work providing medical services in Ukraine
82 Wedding Guide
Modern museums, lush gardens, renovated industrial spaces in the heart of the city – no matter what kind of celebration you’re hosting, you’re sure to find the perfect venue for your wedding in Durham
87 Engagement & Wedding
Tying the knot, Bull City-style
70 The Next Generation of Work
Companies look to attract and retain new employees while commercial real estate firms develop office spaces that improve workforce experiences
76 Hot Shots
The Alonsos tell their story – and want you to share one, too
Horseshoe at Hub RTP Groundbreaking
DEPARTMENTS & COLUMNS
Celebrate the season with wonderful winter events
What we’ve heard around our city …
60 Farmhouse Fixer-Upper
A couple preserves the past in North Durham
PEOPLE & PLACES
54 The Big Give
Our local nonprofits, how they support the community and how you can get involved