By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
The holiday shopping has not yet officially begun, but folks got a head start on their Christmas shopping Monday at the 13th Annual 4-H Simply Shopping … Have a Holly Jolly Christmas event at the East Carolina Agriculture and Education Center.
“I like to shop early. I’ve done half of my shopping, so I’m ready to finish up,” said Jennifer Aycock of Whitakers. She said she likes shopping for items that are individualized, and Monday’s show afforded her an opportunity to do that.
“To me, something that’s unique is a better gift than you can find in any store in a box,” Aycock said.
Aycock browsed Liz Harris of Rocky Mount’s “Wrapped in Grace” items – handmade bath and spa wraps for juniors, ladies and men. Harris said coming to the Christmas show at the ag center is “always fun” because it gives her ideas for decorating and a chance to see the “exciting things” that the vendors have to offer.
“This is my first year out here, and I'm enjoying it,” said Natalie Baker of Tarboro. “You’ve got something for everybody.”
Baker sold her handmade wreaths, under the name “Nadine’s Treats & Treasures” at the event. Elves, snowmen and Santa Claus were some of the holiday characters that appeared in the wreaths.
The entrance fee for the show — $1 or a canned good item, will help the 4-H with service learning projects. The canned goods will go to the Tarboro Community Outreach center, said 4-H’er Allison Lancaster, a junior at SouthWest Edgecombe High School. The money raised will help 4-H support the national “Soles 4 Souls” program.
“This is to try to get shoes on folks in third-world countries, to help improve their health,” said 4-H youth development agent Lesa Walton.
Lancaster said she believes the skills she is learning in 4-H will help her in the future as she pursues a career as an extension agent or teacher.
“It helps with leadership and citizenship, public speaking,” she said. “I think it’ll help me a lot later on in life.”
John Bradley of Rocky Mount, one of the vendors at Monday’s Christmas show, said he made “friendships that last a lifetime” during his time in the 4-H livestock program.
“It teaches young people a lot about helping others. It teaches you about being active in the community,” Bradley said.
He sold his homemade cheese straws at the holiday show. The cheese straws are made from an old-fashioned recipe of grated cheese, flour, ground red pepper and melted butter.
“I learned how to cook them from my mother 20 or 30 years ago,” Bradley said. “Usually around the holidays they’re very popular.”
Walton said the 4-H “Simply Shopping” show has grown every year. Eighteen vendors participated in this year’s show.