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Sand Sculpture, Breakfast with Santa and Teddy Bear Tea Parties Highlight "Twelve Days of Christmas" Celebration

CHAPEL HILL - Breakfast with Santa, Teddy Bear Tea Parties and a 10-ton sand sculpture depicting each verse of the Twelve Days of Christmas carol will be among the highlights of this year's celebration of the holidays at The Carolina Inn.

The five-week schedule of more than two dozen special events begins Sunday, Dec. 3 with a free open house from noon to 5 p.m. There will be refreshments, live bell ringers and self-guided tours of the Inn's Twelve Days of Christmas decorations, which will be more elaborate and imaginative than ever. The decorations will be on display through Jan. 6.

Also on display throughout the holidays will be all of the entries in this year's gingerbread house contest, as well as dolls and toys from every decade of the 20th century and even one from the 19th century.

Sand Sculpture
The Inn's featured artist for this year's holiday celebration is acclaimed sand sculptor Damian Hoffman. Starting Friday afternoon, Dec. 1st, he will transform 10 tons of sand on the patio of the Carolina Inn into a giant sculpture that pays tribute to the Twelve Days of Christmas song. Visitors to the Inn may watch Hoffman at work and then marvel at the completed sculpture, which will remain on display through Jan. 6.

Breakfast with Santa
Children 12 and under, along with their parents, are invited to enjoy a hearty buffet breakfast with Santa on Dec. 9, 10, 16, 17 and 23. The cost is $18 for adults, $12.50 for children 3-12 and free for children under 3. Reservations are required.

Teddy Bear Tea Party
A new event on the Twelve Days of Christmas schedule this year is the Teddy Bear Tea Party on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 10 and 17. Children of all ages are invited to bring their favorite bear toys and enjoy fine English tea or hot cocoa, tea sandwiches and delectable sweets.

Mrs. Claus will make a special appearance, along with her own Teddy Bear, and every child will receive a holiday Teddy Bear to take home. The cost is $20 per child, and reservations are required.

Concerts, Dances, Lectures, Luncheons and Dinners

Other special events on the Twelve Days of Christmas celebration schedule include:

  • Afternoon Tea, Dec. 4-Jan. 6 except Sundays and Christmas day.
  • Soup to Nuts Etiquette Luncheon, Dec. 8. Etiquette professional Cecilia Budd Grimes returns to the Inn to teach the fine points of fine dining during a five-course lunch.
  • Free family tours of the Inn's decorations, Dec. 9, 10, 16, 17 and 23.
  • A free violin concert by students of the Suzuki Academy of North Carolina, Dec. 10. The students, ages 5-10, will perform holiday classics.
  • Real Men Wear Kilts - Scottish Highland Dinner, Dec. 13.
  • Swing dance lessons, Dec. 13
  • Lords A'Leaping Luncheon, a perennial favorite, Dec. 14. Woody Durham, the voice of the Tar Heels, will preview the college basketball season.
  • History of The Carolina Inn lecture and tour, Dec. 14 and 27.
  • Three Wise Men and a Surprising Gift, Dec. 17. Storyteller and poet Mike Troy tells of three UNC alumni who were instrumental in founding Duke University.
  • Nine Ladies Tapping, Dec. 20. A performance for children and adults by Footnotes Tap Ensemble.
  • A History of Costume Jewelry, Dec. 20 and 28. A slide presentation, discussion and dinner or lunch.
  • Holiday cookie decorating for children, Dec. 21 and 26.
  • New Year's Champagne 101, Dec. 27. Executive Chef Brian Stapleton will lead a discussion and sampling of fine sparkling wines and the food that goes with them.
  • Children's Etiquette Luncheon, Dec. 28. Protocol professional Cecilia Budd Grimes will walk kids through the do's and don'ts of table etiquette as they eat their way through a five-course lunch.
  • Fete de Trois Rois: A New Orleans-style Twelfth Night Banquet, Jan. 6. The Inn's celebration of the holidays concludes with a Twelfth Night dinner that pays tribute to the spirit of New Orleans. One-quarter of the gross receipts will be donated to the American Red Cross Katrina Relief Fund.

Online Information and Reservations
Complete information about all of the Twelve Days of Christmas events at The Carolina Inn including dates, times and cost, if any, is online at

Reservations are required for many of the events and may be made online or by calling 933-2001 or 800-962-8519.