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To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven … This passage from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes isn’t usually included in Christmas readings at church, but perhaps it should be.

I remember magical childhood Christmases, the relaxed Yuletides of early adulthood and frantic holiday seasons once the kiddos came along. Life moves on as it does, and one generation passes the torch to the next generation, which assumes its rightful spot. I didn’t make it “home” for Christmas this year, nor did any of my progeny make it to St. Simons and that’s OK. This year I finally hit my “how-to-do-Christmas-solo” jam. I did all the things – decorating, baking, cooking, gift-buying, etc., but I did them all at a level at which I was comfortable.

On Christmas Eve, I joined a group of close friends for dinner at Bennie’s Red Barn, which is a tradition practiced by hundreds of people every year. It’s like a giant family reunion under the eaves of that big old barn, with everyone dressed in their holiday finery – like they’re going to their Grandma’s for Christmas dinner – servers decked out in red jackets, and the booming voice of Chip Wilson singing Christmas carols to as many tables as he can. Christmas Day was quiet, but included dinner with friends followed by a relaxing evening at home with a nightcap and a Christmas movie marathon. Anyhow, I hope your Christmas was a merry one too, no matter how you celebrated.

This issue is a celebration too. In the Coastal Illustrated feature “Bubbles + Bites,” we provide three cocktails and two appetizers for you to get your New Year’s Eve celebration off on the right foot and help you continue the party the whole month through. And in our Coastal Home feature, “Shine On” features designers’ picks of silver and gold accessories for the home.

Our columnists are full of great info. In Blooming Issues, Anne Ditmer waxes poetic about live Christmas gifts that continue to bloom well past the holiday season. Cary Knapp, our literary columnist, has nothing but good things to say about Elizabeth Strout’s (“Olive Kitteridge”) newest release, “Oh, William!” which catches up with the characters of “My Name is Lucy Barton” later in life. For those of us who have loved, lost and loved again, the refrain is a familiar, yet no less comforting tune. Enjoy.

Profiles in this latest issue include the Local Q+A featuring Tres Hamilton, executive director of the Coastal Community Action Agency, and the Realtor Q+A that features Hank Palacio. Both women talk about their professions, and what pursuits they enjoy in their spare time.

In our real estate story, reporter Gordon Jackson looks forward to the New Year with market predictions for the upcoming year.

Our Captured pages feature the ACS Victory Gala, “Shuck Cancer,” held recently on Rainbow Island with an abundance of fabulous food, a competitive live auction and entertainment by the incomparable Mason Waters and the Groove AllStars. Much fun was had by all, and all for a good cause.

Don’t forget to check out our Events page. It’s loaded with upcoming celebrations that you won’t want to miss.

Last, but not least, don’t put this issue down before perusing Cheri’s Shore Things. We’re in a festive mood and “All That Glitters” will have you dressed from head-to-toe in glam NYE looks from Meo’s Suite and Cloister Collection, bling from Joseph Jewelers and Golden Goose Sneakers from Gentlemen’s and Lady Outfitters.

Before I sign off for the last time this year, I want all of you to know how much I appreciate you. I truly have the best job in the world! Have a safe and happy New Year’s weekend, and don’t forget to wash your hands and eat your greens.

Enjoy the issue!