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Christmas Tree

By Camille Howard

We’ve been doing a little decorating at the office and we decided to put a tree upstairs to make it a little more cheery.

Our first thought was to go to one of the dollar stores to pick up an artificial tree, but then we decided to head across the street to Mountaineer Auction House and Outlet to see if they had any trees available. They had some beautiful wreaths and swags, snowmen and the like but only one tree.

It was really pretty with white lights, burlap garland and frosted in snow, and was set up as part of their window display. Well CJ Dolly came out and we asked her if she had any trees for sale like the one on display, and she said she would sell us the one right out of the window. So we bought it, lights and all, and had it carted down to the office and up the stairs.

Since we were on a “shop local” mission, we headed to Peddler’s Crossing and picked up a variety of ornaments from Lynn Hartman. If you haven’t been in her shop, it is beautiful. You can buy the ornaments right off the trees and she has some unusual decorations for sale as well.

We then headed to Judy’s Drug Store to their gift shop as they were preparing for their annual Santa Saturday. The gift shop had beautiful trees also, along with a good selection of ornaments and we picked up owls, cardinals, bells and berry sprigs for our tree. If you’re not in the mood to decorate, you should visit and get some good ideas. We have some very talented decorators in this area.

Our final stop was the dollar store for some plain red and gold balls to fill in the holes. If you’d like to see the finished tree in color, check our Facebook page.

We didn’t make it to South Side Depot, but we have been enjoying their coffee, from Mountain Roaster Coffee of Buckhannon. If you’re drinking the standard brands, you owe it to yourself to stop in and pick up a bag from SSD. And while you’re at it, pick up some homemade cookies or scones.

If you’re looking for a gift that’s unique, pick up some West Virginia made items at the store and create a West Virginia basket. Craig and I have done this for several years and everyone on the receiving end really enjoyed the gifts.

These are just three of the stores you can shop in around town. If you’re looking for something vintage or unusual, we have four thrift stores in town to check out: Your Sister’s Closet, Jerry’s Antiques & More next door, Peanut’s across the street from the city parking lot and The Thrift Store located behind the old Foodland building which now houses Hawse Health Care. You never know what you may come across. It’s always fun to find an item you remember from your childhood or something you need at an affordable price.

My side of the family always exchanges gifts ranging from homemade items, food, to very often, the silly. Sometimes you may get a gift from “Santa” and you know it will be an odd one.

Last year, when we all got together for Thanksgiving at my brother Cullen’s new (old) home, he gave us the grand tour and was showing us all the strange cubby holes and closets throughout. One of the previous owners had left things in the attic and the storage spaces, including this hideously moss green glass planter. It really looked like a giant cut glass goblet, but it was the ugliest green, not even shiny, piece of glass I have ever seen. Who buys things like that?

The next day we trekked up the street to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store (a two-story thrift and building materials store) and Cullen took that horrible planter to donate.

The clerk looked skeptical but took it. We made a few purchases and the group headed back to the house. I was the last one checking out along with my brother Curt, and he asked the clerk if he could have that planter back. She looked at him like he had a screw loose, but gladly gave it to him. He said he had plans for it.

Fast forward a month to Christmas. As the gifts were being opened, Cullen opened a box and low and behold, there was that ugly green piece of glass, transformed!

Curt had spray painted it a shiny gold. Then he bought a plastic gemmed tiara from the kids toy section at a dollar store, pulled the gems off and glued them around the rim. It was the holy grail. Or I should say the holy grail of pranks. They couldn’t stop laughing. Someone recorded the “grand opening” and seeing it a second and third time was just as funny.

This week’s recipes are ones you might take to a family gathering. I picked up the cookbook “Southern Living Best-Loved Christmas Classics” and it is full of wonderful recipes.

One recipe I’ve been looking for is for sugar cookies. My grandmother used to make a dense sugar cookie that I know was made with lard and had a generous dose of nutmeg. I’ve found recipes that taste right but they are not the heavy biscuit type cookie she made. You couldn’t eat her sugar cookies without a tall glass of milk or a cup of coffee. They were wonderful and no one in the family has the recipe. If you make a cookie like that of have a recipe for one I would like to give it a try. You can drop the recipe off or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Thanks!

Lee Hamilton,
Lee Hamilton

Patriotism has been on alot of people’s minds lately. French President Emanuel Macron recently criticized President Trump and other world leaders for their “us versus them” view of patriotism. “By putting our own interests first,” he said, “with no regard for others, we erase the very thing that a nation holds dearest, and the thing that keeps it alive: its moral values.”

Meanwhile, just ahead of the midterm elections, The New York Times noted that two clashing visions of patriotism were heading to the polls. President Trump and Republicans saw patriotism as “conspicuous displays of respect for the traditional expressions of America — the flag, the military, the Pledge of Allegiance.” Democrats, by contrast, saw it as protecting the norms and institutions of our democracy.

Editor - Camille Howard;
News Editor - Erin Camp;
Advertising Manager - Tara Warner Pratt; 
Graphic Designer - Jesse Hedrick;
Print Shop Manager - Richard Knight; 
Bookkeeping - Peggy Hughes;
Circulation - Mary Simmons

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