Island of Lights

For nearly three decades, residents of Oak Island and surrounding areas have gathered along the isle’s main road to witness the annual Christmas by the Sea parade. Occurring each year on the first Saturday of December, the spectacle helps kick off the Southport-Oak Island Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas by the Sea Festival, a month-long celebration of all things jolly.

“It is a hometown-style parade where you might see a dog pulling a wagon, a child dressed as a starfish, or an airplane decorated for the holidays,” Karen Sphar, executive vice president for the chamber, describes. “[This all takes place] right next to the local high school band, fire trucks, elaborately decorated floats filled with children, and horse units. It’s a parade where all your friends and neighbors line the streets to enthusiastically cheer each unit as it passes.”

As folks gather along the sidewalks and in their own front yards to enjoy the seasonal procession, they are participating in a 27-year-long tradition. “The abundance of Christmas spirit at the parade brings together groups, organizations and businesses all with a single goal of bringing joy to our community,” Sphar shares.

While not every event taking place on Oak Island is officially sponsored by the Southport-Oak Island Chamber of Commerce, we’ve culled many of the isle’s Christmas events to make holiday planning just a bit easier:

Oak Island Tree Lighting
Friday, December 6th • 5:30 p.m.
Middleton Park
4601 E. Oak Island Dr.
Join your neighbors for some Christmas tunes to bring in the holiday season on Oak Island. Entertainment begins at 5:30 p.m., and there will be a special guest making an appearance after the lighting. The electrifying illumination of the tree will occur at 6 p.m.

Christmas by the Sea Parade
Saturday, December 7th • 2 p.m.
On Oak Island Drive from Oak Island Town Hall on 46th Street to McGlamery Street. For a parade application call the chamber at (910) 457-6964.

“Santa’s Calling!”

December 10th through 12th
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Parents, have Santa call your child via the Oak Island Santa Hotline! Information forms will be available at the Oak Island Recreation Center (3003 E. Oak Island Drive) and should be returned no later than December 5th at 5 p.m. Santa will call good little girls and boys from Tuesday, December 10th through Thursday, December 12th between the hours of 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. For details, contact the Oak Island Recreation Center at (910) 278-5518.

North Pole Adventure
Friday, December 13th • 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Oak Island Recreation Center
3003 E. Oak Island Drive
Ever wanted to go to the North Pole? Here is your chance! The Oak Island Parks and Recreation Department will transform the Recreation Center into the North Pole. Each room will represent a different area of the North Pole, complete with a cookie-decorating station, Christmas-theme crafts and activities, and a “special visitor.” Contact Oak Island Recreation Center at (910) 278-5518 for more information.

“Christmas is Forever”
Church Cantata
Friday, December 13th • 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 14th • 7 p.m.
Sunday, December 15th • 4:30 p.m.
Ocean View United Methodist Church
8400 E. Oak Island Drive
This year’s concert, “Christmas is Forever,” will include whimsical melodies from the hit Broadway show “Elf,” “Boogie Woogie Christmas,” and the Peanuts’ classic “Christmastime is Here,” along with “Come on Christmas” and the cantata title song. There is no charge for admission, though donations for the church’s music program are accepted. For more information, contact Ocean View United Methodist Church at (910) 278-5973.

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Southport Area's Culture & Events Magazine