Appalachia Christmas Holidays in Appalachia

A Foxfire Story Of Christmas

Christmas in appalachia north ga

As I said yesterday, I’ve been re-reading The Foxfire 40th Anniversary Book. The book has several pages of Christmas stories. Some of the stories were documented by Foxfire students as far back as the early 70s.

All the stories are touching-some humorous-some downright sad-but all enjoyable reading for these days before Christmas.

It would be hard to pick a favorite Christmas story from The Foxfire 40th Anniversary Bookbut one I especially liked was from G.A. Nasworthy, Jr. in 2005.

In the beginning lines, G.A. tells about his father working by day as a meat cutter at Winn-Dixie and by night as a farmer on their farm. In 1957 his father was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx which changed all of their lives. The rest of G.A.’s story:

“He had to have his larynx removed. He could not talk, but he could write notes and things like that. He just couldn’t talk when they took his voice box out. He never had the speakers, though. He learned to talk without’em. He’d have him a five-gallon bucket while he was out plowin’ at night, and if he wanted somethin’, usually a cup of coffee, he’d beat on that bucket. When I heard that bucket, I knew he wanted somethin’. As he learned to talk-they taught him to talk using air-you had to really listen to him. His voice was real raspy and low, but it got to the point that I could be way on the other side of the room, and I could understand everything he said.

My dad had had a laryngectomy. He had insurance, enough that could take care of his speech and for what he had been through with his surgery, but that was all. He was not working.

This Christmas, somehow or ‘nother, Mom and Dad had got across to us that we didn’t really have money to do much of a Christmas. So my sister, who was about three years older than me, we were pretty well resolved. You know, we were owed nothin’.

And so Christmas mornin’ we had a little bitty tree on top of the TV. Christmas mornin’, we go ahead and get up, and we come in the middle of the room. My mom and dad were sittin’ at the kitchen table havin’ coffee. My dad was a big coffee drinker. He ‘saucered’ the coffee. He’d boil it hot as he could, and he’d pour it in a saucer and blow it, so we always called it ‘saucered’ coffee. But he had already had his coffee when we came in. We’d glanced at the little tree. We were thinkin’, well, maybe there was somethin’, but we didn’t see anything-just the little tree there and the two little sleighs. And so we headed into the kitchen to eat breakfast.

We started eating, and I think Mama…no, I believe it was Daddy said somethin’ about “Well, did you check the Christmas tree?” And we said, “Yes sir, we saw it when we came by it.” And he said, “Well you didn’t see anything on it?” We hadn’t seen nothin’. He said “Maybe you oughta go back and look again.” So we jumped up and ran back in there to see if there was somethin’. We looked; we didn’t see nothin’. So we go back to eat breakfast ’cause we didn’t see nothin’ there. So Mama said “Well you need to go back and look…look a little more.” So we went back and started lookin’ again.

My sister finally saw it: two watches. They were hung on the little reindeer-a lady’s watch and a man’s watch. Dad and Mama had got their watches fixed and gave them to us for Christmas.”


If you’ve never read any of the Foxfire Books-I highly recommend them. You may be like I was-and not realize the great Foxfire folks are still cranking those books out. Click here to jump over and visit the Foxfire online store.



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  • Reply
    Lisa Snuggs
    December 26, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Like Rush, I discovered the Foxfire Books when I was in high school in the 70s. My parents gave me the first three (first edition, I think) for my birthday or Christmas, don’t remember which. Still have them, still enjoy them. I purchased the second three for a boyfriend years later, thinking “we” would have a whole set. The boyfriend and I went separate ways, and with him went “my” second half of the six-volume set of Foxfire books. I missed the books more than the boyfriend. Lesson learned.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    December 23, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    I love the Foxfire books..I would love to give my children and grandchildren complete sets. I want them to see what experiences their great grandparents as well as their great, great grandparents to bring them to this point in their own lives.
    The more things change the more they stay the same in some respects. Sure life is easier in ways, but still so stressful in other ways. We still have so much rare sicknesses today, with more cures but more problems with the cures…But like the people in the story, we keep plowing along with the good Lords help.
    Thanks Tipper, loved this post

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    December 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    What a beautiful story, Tipper, on the true meaning of Christmas-LOVE. Hope you & the gang have a Merry one!

  • Reply
    December 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    That’s truly a love story. Scarifice for their children. More folks should be willing too.

  • Reply
    December 23, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    That’s a beautiful, heart-warming
    story of love.
    I’m not familiar with the Foxfire
    books. But I can relate to the
    coffee drinking from a saucer. My
    parents did this too, and daddy
    would flench after every sup. To
    me, nothing smells better than a
    fresh pot of coffee a brewing…Ken

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    December 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    I love this and all of those books.. They are so good.. Thanks for the post.

  • Reply
    December 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    At the beginning of December,I begin my Christmas story reading. Each year I find two or three books to read. I just gave my five years worth of books to a friend who wanted to read all of them. The only one I still have is one called the Autobiography of Santa Claus. (St. Nicholas) I feel so whole after reading one of them. I still reread the Christmas Box and Christmas Jars. Those two are my favorites. I am not familar with the Foxfire stories. I will look at them when I finish writing. The December issue of The State magazine for NC has some childhood stories written by notoized authors from NC. Great reading! Thanks for sharing these. I loved this story of giving.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    December 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    I’ve returned from church and red Blind Pig post for today and all the comments to this point! Thank you, Tipper, for the touching story from Foxfire. I love those books, too!
    Selflessness is one of the characteristics of true Christmas giving. With completely selfless love Christ came into this world to give His life. As we celebrate Christmas, we can remember–and think even now–of how we received gifts that were real sacrifices from those who gave them, all because they loved another more than self! May we carry this spirit of love throughout the year!

  • Reply
    December 23, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I love this story and love the Foxfire Books. This story portrays the real meaning of Christmas to me. The love that these parents had for their children makes me remember the love that God has for His children to give us the gift of His Son that we may have everlasting life. Jesus is definitely the greatest gift of all. Wishing everyone a blessed Christmas!

  • Reply
    Tim Hassell
    December 23, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Tipper, my first thought was “With all you do, how in the world do you find time to read?” After that I kinda’-sorta’ agree with Ed. I think we all live exceptional lives, oh at the time I don’t think it occurs to us that the thing we are doing is anything but ordinary living. But somebody at sometime in the future will look on that thing with gratefulness. Won’t it be fun in Heaven, when people we never knew here thank us for things we don’t even remember and all of us look up people we need to thank for that wonderfully kind act they did so very many years ago. And so at Christmas we celebrate the sweetest gift any of us has ever received.

  • Reply
    Mrs. K
    December 23, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Lovely story. Thanks, Tipper!

  • Reply
    Barb Wright
    December 23, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I love the Foxfire books!! We own several of them. I am a cookbook fanatic..the Foxfire book of Appalachian Cookery is one of my favorites. At this time,might I suggest A Foxfire Christmas..I’ve been reading and enjoying it lately!! Merry Christmas from northern PA!!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 23, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Miss Cindy-That pain you feel in your heart is God tugging at your heartstrings telling you to do something good for a total stranger this Christmas. Even if the good you do isn’t needed by the stranger you choose, it will make its way to someone in need. Its not the gift itself but the love you put in it that people really need. Try it and see if the pain don’t go away.
    If that don’t work, maybe you ought to lay off the sausage and gravy.

  • Reply
    December 23, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Thanks Tipper!
    The foxfire books were an integral part of my plan to eventually live in the Blue ridge Mountains. I believe that I must have one of, if not, the first edition sets. I was in high school in the early 70’s and asked for them as one of my Christmas presents. I enjoyed them very much and learned a lot from them about self-sufficient living. They are now safely tucked away in a box in the attic because I do not have enough book shelves yet. I really enjoyed reading this story again! 🙂

  • Reply
    December 23, 2012 at 9:23 am

    I had never heard of The Foxfire Books until you wrote about them on here. I now own five books and several magazines. Some of the stories, like the one above, get me misty-eyed everytime.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 23, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Stories like that always make me cry. Somehow they hurt my heart in a way that I can’t explain.

  • Reply
    December 23, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I have some of the old Fox Fire Books . Man, I treasure those. I remember in school that I’d check out every Fox Fire book they had in the Library. I need to get mine out and reread them..

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    December 23, 2012 at 8:00 am

    What a neat story of parents’ love! Somewhat reminds me of O. Henry’s ” The Gift of the Magi”, where the young woman sells her hair to get a watch fob for her husband and the husband sells his watch to buy a comb for his wife. In this case, however, the kids can use and appreciate their gift from Mom and Dad.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    December 23, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Beautiful story, I remember a year my dad had been laid off. He and my momma had bought a really ratty looking bike and repaired, repainted and made it look like new for my younger sister. I am sure my gift was done the same way, but I really only remember that bike.

  • Reply
    Ron Wenning
    December 23, 2012 at 7:39 am

    My wife and I own Wennawoods Publishing at and sell the complete set of Foxfire Books, including the 40th Anniversary edition, for $199.95 and that price includes free shipping to all states in the lower 48. This price is the lowest price on the internet.
    Enjoy your daily blog and keep up the good work. Coming to you from the Appalachian mountains of Central Pennsylvania.

  • Reply
    December 23, 2012 at 7:35 am

    What a nice Christmas story. There are so many stories this time of year that touch us.
    Remember the Christmas poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay “The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver”? In fact, Johnny Cash put it on one of his Christmas albums. This story today reminded me of this.
    There is so much talent found in FOXFIRE!

  • Reply
    December 23, 2012 at 6:02 am

    Awesome and heartfelt story!
    Love your blog, Tipper!

  • Reply
    Gorges Smythe
    December 23, 2012 at 5:53 am

    That’s love.

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