Decking the Halls

A Pinehurst Christmas comes alive

By Deborah Salomon     Photographs by John Koob Gessner

Multigenerational families from all over flock to Pinehurst for a picture-perfect Christmas. At the Carolina Hotel they expect the best accommodations, the best food, hopefully a day or two of golf weather and, as a backdrop, the best decorations:

That’s a big order for recreation director Josh Lack and his crew of five women, who work 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day for three weeks:

It all starts with trees,

Some short and some tall

Decked out, so to please

The guests, one and all.

Lack estimates 50,000 light bulbs, inside and out, on wreaths, garlands and 17 trees, including Queen of the South, the main lobby ceiling-scraper.

Ribbons and lights

Twine around their green boughs

Creating some sights

Eliciting “Wows.”

Trees and greenery are artificial, therefore reusable.
Practicality trumps fragrance.

Poinsettias peek from behind every column

A nutcracker proudly stands guard.

His face is a blend of happy and solemn

Admiring him will not be hard.

In fact, an entire tree is hung with nutcrackers in many costumes.

A special tree is devoted to birds

Cardinals, of course, center stage.

Flamingoes would be completely absurd

Although they’re a lawn décor rage.

Another dedicated tree, new this year, celebrates
the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Rudolph, poor soul, got no invitation,

Management won’t budge an inch.

And yet, they showed no consternation

In saying “Y’all come” to the Grinch.

Well, maybe . . . but nothing’s Grinchy about a Pinehurst Noel.

The gingerbread village, a holiday prize

Decorated with candies and treats.

The hotel has been shrunk to miniature size

Too bad we can look . . . but not eat.

Tiramisu goes down easier.

Outside, Mother Nature, oh please bring us snow

Like you did in one nine, ninety-five.

A day is enough, then make it go

So the duffers’ eighteen will survive.

However, for those so inclined, a snow golf championship is held annually in Austria.

Beyond decorations Chef Santa has plans

For potatoes, some sweet, others savory,

For turkey and roast beef, Yule logs and flans,

For cranberry chutney and grav-ery.

Christmas buffet at the Carolina deserves its own carol.

For rolls fresh and hot, dripping with butter

For pies filled with pecans and mincemeat

For wassail whose praises the grown-ups shall utter

Imbibing this once-a-year treat.

Eggnog . . . anyone?

Carols, of course, will waft through the air

Classics plus songs, genre “jolly.”

Crosby and Como just might be there

But Chipmunks would be utter folly.

Where is Eartha Kitt when you really need her?

Beyond the hotel the village awaits

Its shops overflowing with cheer.

Your honey, that cashmere sweater she rates

And for you, at Dugan’s, a beer.

Or, trolley back to a toddy at the Ryder Cup Lounge.

Oh Christmas, sweet Christmas, the chapel bells peal

The candles burn sparkly and bright,

Your spirit is something participants feel

As they stroll through the dark chilly night . . .

And into a lobby where, for the next few weeks, not even
Carolina blue outranks red, white and green.

OK, Santa. Your turn.  PS

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