As the celebration of Haig Point’s 30th year anniversary comes to a close, it is heart-warming to look back at how Haig Point and Daufuskie have celebrated Christmas over the years. The first memory that comes to mind for Haig Point old-timers, those who were here in the 80’s, is that of Jay Samuels pounding out Christmas carols al forte so his piano could be heard above the voices of enthusiastic carolers. The clubhouse was bursting at the seams, the decorations were fabulous and the excitement palpable.
Over the years, Christmas time at Haig Point has taken on a unique character of its own. Yes, it includes the traditional gift exchange party and a Christmas Eve service at the Mansion but many activities have a special twist. Haig’s version of a ‘Boat Parade’ is a one ferry parade that takes revelers past the Mansion, and slowly cruises up the shore until they can watch with wondering eyes as the Christmas lights are turned on and the reflection of their beloved lighthouse glistens on the water. And then there is Christmas caroling Haig Point style. A small group of singers doesn’t meander from house to house, a large group of “singers” gathers in one place – on the beach. Everyone brings snacks, refreshments, and voices ready to sing. Sometimes applause for their efforts can be heard drifting across the water from Harbour Town.
But Christmas time isn’t just about Haig Point. It’s also about the island community as a whole. What a delightful evening it is when the children from Daufuskie’s two-room elementary school come to perform and participate in the lighting of the Haig Point Christmas Tree. They seem as excited about showing off their table manners at the dinner that follows as they are about their Christmas performance. Parents, teachers and members alike are blessed by the wide-eyed joy of these Christmas-time children.
A few weeks later Daufuskie holds its Christmas Parade and some of these same children can be seen waving at the crowds from their school float, or from a decorated tractor, a decorated horse, or a decorated bike or scooter. In fact, scooters are a reminder of tough times past and a sweet Christmas. That year the island’s Christmas angel made sure every child on Daufuskie had a Christmas present – scooters for the ones who were old enough and tricycles for the younger!
Like the Thanksgiving community pot luck dinner, the Christmas parade speaks loudly about the heart of Daufuskie. Everyone feels the love. There is a Santa chair that has the names of each Santa who ever ho-ho’d from upon his seat in the parade. There’s an old wagon that carries any kid who wants to ride in the parade and doesn’t have a float or bicycle. There’s the Christmas list (compiled by the teachers at the two-room school house) that tells Santa’s shoppers what each child would especially enjoy. There are the elves that help wrap the presents and then, of course, there is Santa who actually delivers the presents on Christmas Eve.
As Haig Point members, we live in a special community on a magical island with extended families here and in all parts of the world. We have been and will probably continue to be Santa’s shoppers or his elves for a long time to come. May we close Haig Point’s thirtieth anniversary year with renewed appreciation for what we have and who we are as island residents, challenged by Matthew, and living joyously in the Christmas spirit ever after.