Walks on beach, golf part of Grand Strand Christmas tradition

Maybe folks were dreaming of a sandy Christmas.

That could perhaps explain the plethora of people out for a holiday stroll on Christmas Day near the beach access at Plyler Park and the SkyWheel in Myrtle Beach.

Or it could have been those cool, pleasant temperatures that attracted crowds away from their yuletide slumber and presents.

Whatever the reason, Grand Strand residents and visitors took advantage of the coastal weather as they rang in Christmas.

Sisters Suzanne Brown, of Greenville, and Tina Hopkins, of Alaska, were enjoying just being together while walking along the beaches bordering the Atlantic.

Their holiday plans for the afternoon were coming back waterside with a bottle of wine and some French bread and just sitting by while wishing others a happy holiday.

“Who needs snow?” Hopkins said.

North Carolina native Connie Wilson continued her Christmas tradition of visiting Myrtle Beach for the holiday week. It’s the sixth year she’s taken an early-morning stroll along Horry County’s beaches on Dec. 25.

What brings her back year after year? It’s the beaches and the shopping.

Wilson’s holiday plan centered around celluloid. She wanted to take in one of the many popular movies currently playing in theaters. At the top of her to-see list was the newest James Bond adventure, “Skyfall.”

Catching a movie or just staying indoors with friends and family was probably the way to go as the afternoon hours moved in. Morning sunshine gave way to total cloud cover after noon.

It could have been the calm before the storm.

Robert DiGiorgi, meteorologist with the National Weather Center in Wilmington, N.C., said the chance of precipitation Tuesday night could give way to severe weather Wednesday in Horry and Georgetown Counties.

DiGiorgi said a squall line is expected to move through the area Wednesday afternoon, bringing with it the chance for damaging winds and isolated tornadoes.

“It’s a good chance,” DiGiorgi said.

Wednesday’s potentially severe weather comes after the country’s midsection dealt with freezing rain and sleet while the Gulf Coast had thunderstorms, high winds and tornadoes.

The Associated Press reported icy roads were blamed for a 21-vehicle pileup in Oklahoma and two tornadoes touched down in Texas.

Fortunately, for those wanting to hit the links in Myrtle Beach on Christmas, they got the chance to do so before any rain came in.

Several golf courses offered holiday hours, including Harbor View Par 3 in Myrtle Beach.

Course worker Heather Holt said she had four groups out on the links after opening at 10 a.m.

“They’re out here having a good time,” Holt said.

The course has offered holiday hours for several years, after guests began wanting to come out and hit a bucket of balls with the new clubs they got for Christmas.

Of course, others along the Grand Strand took time out of their Christmas celebration to brighten the holidays for those less fortunate.

Volunteers with the American Red Cross expected to provide 6,000 meals at three Myrtle Beach churches and via home deliveries.

Volunteers spent two weeks preparing food for the dinner, cooking 63,000 pounds of turkey and more than two tons of bread for stuffing.