December 2020

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A few Decembers ago, my colleagues and I arrived at work 12 days in a row to find a $10 gift card to a different store or restaurant on our desks each day. It was a thoughtful gesture from our bosses, a fun way to keep spirits bright and a fantastic way to support local stores in January after the holiday rush. You don’t have to buy a dozen to have the same effect – who wouldn’t love to find one gift certificate to Chapel Hill Tire or Citrine at the bottom of their stocking among the candy canes and other sweet treats? 

The Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro staff is taking gift giving to the max this holiday season, encouraging everyone to follow their lead and commit to buying 100% of presents from small, local businesses. And when you finish shopping, spread the love even further with a positive online review of your favorite shops, salons, spas or services. 

The Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce echoed the sentiment in its November newsletter, writing: “Many of our beloved businesses are struggling economically. Our community is encouraged to come together (while remaining 6 feet apart) to use our local resources before we lose them.” 

So, what are you waiting for? Get out (or stay in – plenty of places are offering online shopping and local delivery or curbside pickup!) and support the business owners who have had a tough year. In the spirit of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” here’s my own list (counting down from six) for gifting local:   

Six-pack of Gizmo Brew Works Peppermint Stiletto Stout;
$5 donations to hunger-relief organizations TABLE, PORCH and Meals on Wheels Orange County, NC;
Four gift cards to eateries like Hawthorne & Wood, Radius, Lantern and Pizzeria Mercato – consider Saturday night dinners in January taken care of;
Three books from Purple Crow Books, including “If I Had Two Wings” by the late Randall Kenan
Reservations for two for afternoon tea at The Carolina Inn – the perfect way to catch up with a friend I haven’t seen all year;
One marble cheese board from SOUTH for more cozy nights in!

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and here’s to 2020! – Jessica Stringer


24 ‘Songs for the Forgotten’
Dr. Julia Burns shares her stories of helping heal child neglect and abuse

26 Fan Nonfiction
A new book details the life of an unsung UNC basketball legend 

30 Pandemic Projects
How three locals spent their extra time at home this year  

32 Chapel Hill Champion
Irene Briggaman gave her all as a volunteer in our community for nearly three decades 

38 Holly Jolly Holidays
Get in the spirit of the season with these live and virtual events  

42 Gather Round
Chefs share six festive recipes for very merry Chapel Hill holidays  

52 Too Fit to Quit
High school girls find ways to stay moving amid virtual learning and canceled sports seasons

56 Tech Support
New mental health app helps health care workers cope with the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic 

58 Rock-a-Bye Baby
Little Dipper Wellness helps families with little ones create healthier sleep habits

60 The Next Stanza
CJ Suitt, Chapel Hill’s first poet laureate, is here to transform the poetic landscape 

68 Blank Slate
This family crafted a comfortable and functional home from scratch in Lake Hogan Farms


6 Editor’s Letter

8 About Town
Events not to miss 

18 Noted
What we’ve heard around town …

85 What We’re Eating
News from our restaurant community, plus a dish we love 

86 Dining Guide

94 Engagement
Alex Bercow & Tony Gualtieri 

95 Weddings
Will Becker & Liz Brewer
Amber Horvath & Darshan Shastri 


12 WellFest 2020

14 Hope Renovations Graduation Ceremony  

16 TABLE’s Empty Bowls 


64 A Brighter Tomorrow 
What’s up with Chapel Hill’s innovation district 

66 Biz Briefs & Forecasting


36 The Big Give
How you can get involved in our local nonprofits

48 Holiday Gift Guide 

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