Hometown Holiday Hacks

Less hassle at the holidays equals more time for fun traditions and meaningful experiences. Head straight into merrymaking when you enlist the help of local businesses with these stress-free shortcuts.

Designed Decor

Berries, pinecones, magnolia leaves and pods, greenery, and ribbon appear frequently in seasonal centerpieces from Flowers on Broad Street.

Fresh and silk flowers, vessels and vases, ribbon, greenery, ornaments, and candles line the lush shelves at Flowers on Broad Street in Fuquay-Varina, but the standout shortcuts are the premade wreaths and tabletop arrangements that can be out the door and onto your dining table, or front door, in a matter of minutes.

Greenery, berries, pinecones, roses, magnolias, hydrangeas, and more combine in festive bouquets expertly arranged by owner Donna Pittman and her team.

“We shop very carefully. Nobody beats us on quality,” says Pittman — which ensures that florals stay vibrant as long as possible. Customers can also bring in their own vases and DIY arrangements for Pittman’s practiced hand to finesse the finishing touches.

“I’ll suggest a little bit here and there, greenery and stems to add, maybe a pomegranate, when people bring in their own containers. Some stems can be difficult to cut; we have the tools to cut them for you,” Pittman says.

BONUS: If you can’t spare the time to visit the shop, Flowers on Broad Street delivers.

517 Broad St., Fuquay-Varina

Simplify the Sweets

Bypass baked-from-scratch cookies with the help of local bakers like Melissa Hediger, owner of Sugar Sugar Bakery in Holly Springs. Throughout the year, Hediger offers sugar cookie decorating kits as well as paint-your-own cookies for special occasions and holidays.

Cookies from Sugar Sugar Bakery are individually sealed and stay fresh for three weeks. Icing should be used within 24 hours or frozen.

Decorating kits include a dozen cookies in a variety of shapes, four colors of royal icing, and sprinkles, as well as instructions and a “play list” showing examples of designs to try.

Young and old cookie decorators jump straight into colorful creativity, without a dirty mixing bowl or baking sheet in sight.

“People love to decorate cookies. It’s a great family tradition. It’s so much easier to buy the box with everything included. There is no hassle, no baking mess to clean up,” says Hediger.

The paint-your-own cookies come with a four-color paint palette and brush, needing only water to turn into edible art — great as party favors or stocking stuffers.

Craving sophisticated designs? Hediger teaches private decorating classes and special events at Cloer Family Vineyards.



Holly Springs baker Natalie Bunds also offers decorating kits and paint-your-own cookie fun.

“The cookie decorating kits are typically 12 cookies with three bags of icing and sprinkles. To decorate, you just need to cut the tip off of the piping bags and squeeze the bag. It makes it where you can have all the fun but less of the hassle,” says Bunds.


Grab & Go Gifts

With more local food products than ever before, The Garden Hut has a gift basket for every palate, including sweet tooth, snack pack, and gardener’s friend, pictured here.

Locals know The Garden Hut in Fuquay-Varina for its amazing selection of plants, trees, seeds, garden and home decor, and North Carolina-made artisan foods, but the shop goes one step further at the holidays, curating ready-made gift baskets with their favorite products.

“Baskets are already wrapped and ready to walk out the door,” says Garden Hut’s Ann Wingler.

You’ll find themes like Snack Pack, Chocolate Lovers, or Gardener’s Delight, with thoughtfully selected items, many made in NC, priced at $20 and up.

Baskets make great gifts for coaches, teachers, hostesses, and employees, as well as welcoming out-of-town guests.

Wingler notes that, if desired, customers can also select their own assortment of items to build their own baskets — “We’ll help as much as you want.”

1004 Old Honeycutt Road, Fuquay-Varina

Feed the Fam

Gourmet cooking can be a beloved seasonal tradition, but sometimes you want the meal to be about the gathering, rather than the mise en place. In those cases, family meals from Mamma Mia Italian Bistro in Holly Springs dish up an elegant dinner without hours of prep or cleanup.

Mamma Mia’s family night combo includes choice of entree, house salad, pasta, and rolls. Chicken parmigiana, seen here, offers classic Italian comfort.

Offered nightly as a carry-out special, the Family Night combo includes a choice of one classic Italian entree, such as eggplant parmigiana or chicken Marsala or picatta, served with house salad, pasta, and rolls for $39.

Or feed a crowd with Mamma Mia’s catering trays. Orders come in small (serving 10–12) or large (20–22) to accommodate extended families and parties of all sizes.

TIP: Freeze any leftovers for the nights between Christmas and New Year’s when no one wants to cook.

300 S. Main St., Holly Springs


If you didn’t plan ahead, pop into Donovan’s Dish Take Out Market in Apex and pick up a family meal or two. Favorites include chicken cordon bleu, hibachi chicken & steak, and pimento cheese-stuffed chicken. Starting around $40 to serve four.

800 W. Williams St., Apex


Serving four or six people, Family Feasts include salad, rice or potatoes, and pita with your choice of protein entree, including kebabs, grilled beef, or spicy harissa chicken, among others. Order online in the afternoon, then pick up the feast on your way home from the office. Starting around $40 to serve four.

108 Grand Hill Place, Holly Springs

Wash. Dry. Fold. Done.

Whether you’re getting ready for guests, refreshing for the new year, or just can’t match another pair of socks, there is an “easy button” to save laundry day.

Drop off your neglected hamper at Goodwin’s Glam-O-Rama on Fuquay’s Main Street, and pick up clean, dry, and folded laundry the very next day, courtesy of the Wash-Dry-Fold service. Saturday drop-offs will be ready on the following Monday.

The laundromat also offers coin laundry, dry cleaning, and best of all, free delivery — the laundry fairy really does exist!

1290 N. Main St., Fuquay-Varina


Drop off laundry at Lifestyle Laundry Co in Fuquay-Varina and pick it up the next day clean and folded for only $1.50 per pound. Or invest in the $40 Flat Rate Bag — purchase their reusable, oversized bag for $7, fill it to bursting, and anything inside will be washed and folded for $40 — a grownup version of a magic Santa sack.

722 N. Main St., Fuquay-Varina

Get Lit

Let your ladder stay in storage and your feet firmly planted on the ground, while Wonderly Lights, owned by Cary residents Stacey Schaeffer and Tiffiny Consoli, adorns your home with holiday sparkle and garland.

Wonderly Lights offers commercial-grade, low-energy LED lights in white or multicolor, and, all of their garland is pre-lit.

“Bringing joy to our customers is really what this is all about,” says Schaeffer. “This business is very visual, so it’s not just for your own heart — it’s bringing joy to many other people in your neighborhood, too.”

“We install; we store; we ensure that your lights are going to be working throughout the holiday season. We keep you off the ladder, so we’re keeping you safe. If anything goes wrong, we’re going to come out and fix it,” Schaeffer says.

And don’t forget the company will return to take down the decor and store it in a climate-controlled environment until the next year.



Specializing in landscape lighting and creating themed displays for holidays and special events, Illumiday works with the landscape to use lighting to enhance the natural beauty, not overpower it.


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