Appalachia Christmas Holidays in Appalachia

Christmas Traditions

It seems Christmas is sneaking up on me faster than usual this year-I cannot believe its only 11 days away. I’ve made sugar cookies every Christmas since I first learned how at Granny’s side-but so far we haven’t gotten them made this year.

Check out this blast from the past below-I wrote about my sugar cookie Christmas tradition the first year I started the Blind Pig & The Acorn Blog.

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Christmas sugar cookies from appalachia

Over the weekend the girls and I enjoyed one of our Christmas traditions-making sugar cookies. I remember Granny making sparkling sugar cookies when I was a child-hers were almost too pretty to eat. Sometime during my teenage years, Granny passed the ritual on to me.

Granny's recipe for sugar cookies

Chitter and Chatter started helping me with the tradition as soon as they were old enough. We still use Granny’s recipe-it’s just your typical sugar cookie recipe-the only special ingredient being grated orange peel.

Cookie Mess

Some years we try to make the cookies look like ones we’ve see in magazines- using different kinds of candy for decoration-most years we just stick to using colored sugar-but EVERY year we make a huge mess.

Flour Face

We usually start out super excited and end up just wanting it to be over. You can see near the end Chitter started eating out of the sugar bowls-she didn’t realize it was all over her face.

Sideburn girl

Chatter got bored using the cookie cutters so she started making her own cutout designs. Of all things-she created sideburn cookies. That’s pretty much when I knew the cookie making was over for this year. Even though it makes a big mess and sometimes ends in hysteria-making Christmas sugar cookies is something I look forward to every year.

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Hope you enjoyed the peek into the Blind Pig & the Acorn’s past archives. I can’t believe how the girls have changed since that Christmas 4 years ago. 2 things that haven’t changed-when we make sugar cookies this year-Chitter will still be eating the sugar when no one is looking-and Chatter will still be making crazy shaped cookies-like sideburns.

I hope you’ll share a Christmas tradition you have with me-leave a comment about it!

Tipper

 

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Kent Lockman
    December 21, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Merry Christmas Tipper! I wanted to share a Christmas tradition that we celebrate up here in IN. Ever since we moved from town to an old 1843 farmhouse, we have invited friends, crafts people, and musicians to ‘Old Christmas’. Our kids were young then, but now are married and have kids of their own; so that tells you how long we have been doing this. Of course this is a southern mountain tradition and world tradition….celebrating big on the twelfth night of Christmas. We read from Jean Ritchie’s book about old Christmases, eat only old foods like hop-n-john, burgoo, red velvet cake, etc. Some folks do their handicrafts, we make festive chain with pocket knives, make use of mistletoe, and if the weather is right, we ‘serenade’ the neighbors with firecrackers and shotgun blasts. We end the night singing shape note songsand hymns and then liven things up with fiddle and banjo dance tunes though there is not much room to dance.lol We even toast the night with a shot of moonshine and ginger ale. My wife and I send them into the cold night with some token that they can hang on their tree to remember that year’s gathering. My guests always say that they have never been to another party quite like this one and look forward to it every Christmas. We try to have the gathering as close to January 6th as we can. So happens the 7th is a Saturday this year. Merry ‘Old Christmas’ to you and your family in those wonderful mountains.
    Kent Lockman

  • Reply
    Becky
    December 17, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Peanut butter fudge!!

  • Reply
    RB
    December 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    One tradition our mother started which was a great one, I think, was to hide our Easter Baskets and our Christmas Stockings each year. There was only one rule…search with great fervor, but if you find someone else’s, leave it be; if you tell them where it is, you lose your own. That kept us from ruining the Easters and Christmases of others.
    When we got a little older, she even made treasure maps for us – 6 steps this way, 10 steps that way…that was great fun.
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    RB
    December 15, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    HINT:
    We always spread the table with newspapers before decorating Christmas cookies.
    We did the same thing when carving pumpkins for Halloween and decorating eggs for Easter.
    Then at the end when you’re tired of the whole thing and just want it to be over, you “carefully” roll up the newspapers and dispose of them.
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    December 14, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    I shared a cup of spiced tea with my mom today, something we’ve been doing during the holidays for close to forty years. It’s the simple things that make the best memories!

  • Reply
    Rachelle
    December 14, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Tipper that is our tradition also, sugar cookies, fudge and peanut butter balls. So many good memories made that we sometimes take them for granted.

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    December 14, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    We love baking sugar cookies to, me and my grandaughter do it every year. she’s eleven now. Your daughters remind me of her, although they are older.. She loves licking the bowl when we bake cakes too. So many wonderful memories to hold on too.. Merry Christmas to you and yours..Susie

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    December 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Tipper,
    and Ed….I also heard “cake of cornbread” and of course my bunch being from back in the hills…”keg of corn”….LOL

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 14, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Seems odd that cornbread starts as a batter and ends up in a cake. Other breads start with a dough and end up in a loaf. Or maybe it’s me that’s odd.

  • Reply
    mike echols
    December 14, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Tip; Merry Christmas to you and all in your world!!Feed your pets a little extra on Christmas morning !! You have the best site on my computer. Hope to meet y’all some day.

  • Reply
    Tipper
    December 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Ed-yes I’ve heard it called a cake of cornbread my whole life too : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Mamabug
    December 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Chitter and Chatter are growing into such beautiful young ladies! I love seeing photos of them when they were younger. Please can you share Granny’s sugar cookie recipe with us! I’ve got to make Pap’s sweet bread again tonight; it was such a hit with my family when I made it yesterday. So they’re getting sheperd’s pie and Pap’s sweet bread for supper!

  • Reply
    Barbara Daca
    December 14, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Walnut crescant cookies here!(my favorite-recipe posted on our facebooke page today) also we have a long standing traditon of making gifts – this year it was the famous Witchmas hat! giggles We TRADE wares with others and well it just all makes it so much fun!http://www.facebook.com/#!/OnePotWitchery

  • Reply
    barb Johnson
    December 14, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    We also do Sugar cut outs..passed down from my mamma. One thing I started with my own children is our tree skirt. I trace their hands on the same plain white sheet every year, date it and write what they want for Christmas on the fingers. My twenty year old still does it,but we are running out of space for her to do two hands. My seven yr old insists on both hands, and I am afraid this was the last year my 14yr old son will fit both of his man-like hands on there(insert many tears here). The fight will be who it belongs to when I am gone ….

  • Reply
    Ken
    December 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Tipper,
    Looks like you three were having
    lots of fun making cookies…Ken

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    December 14, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    I used to make those Christmas cookies with my mother and thenI made them with my kids, but now they’re grown and gone. We did make good memories, though. Happy holidays everyone!

  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    December 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Tipper your story was a sweet in more ways than one! I think we underestimate the power those simple joys have on our lives and our relationships. When I married years ago, I was thrilled to add a nephew and two nieces to my life – the best wedding gift ever! That first Christmas I held the first “Santa’s Workshop” with the kids who were in Kindergarten and 3rd grade at the time. I hung a North Pole sign on the door, in they came and our special tradition was forged. We made a wonderful nativity set with figures ranging from Mary & Joseph to some giant chickens. There were all hand drawn on muslin, sewn, stuffed and mounted on little slices of wood from a tree branch. My husband helped build a little stable. We had so much fun presenting it to their Grandparents as the final gift given at our family gathering. In the years that followed, we created handmade ornaments and every family received a set. The kids were so excited and could hardly wait for the Secret Santa gift to be unveiled. It brought a lot of joy to our celebrations and today the little gifts are carefully hung on our family trees and treasured for the special memories they hold. Those lovely kids are now grown and married with children of their own. Next week their four little ones will arrive for their first ever Santa’s Workshop. We are starting a little early as they are only three and one but Santa’s Workshop is too much fun to delay!

  • Reply
    WinterHawk
    December 14, 2011 at 11:44 am

    As a trapper I have one that been my since I was on the line with my grand father on Dec 24 all traps are closed and not reopen until the morning of Dec 26 when all traps are reset this is my Christmas thing many people look at me and wonder what this is about it easy it is Christmas.

  • Reply
    Cee
    December 14, 2011 at 9:54 am

    I started this tradition with my oldest Granddaughter who is now six a few years ago. This year we let the baby help she is three. We did the colored sugar and candy for decorations. They did a remarkable job but the baby ate about a pound of sugar. I think I enjoy it as much as they do.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 14, 2011 at 9:44 am

    While reading down this I noticed a link to something you did on Jan 6th 2011 about cornbread. I read through it but didn’t see where you called it a “cake of cornbread”. That is what I’ve always heard it called. Have you?

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    December 14, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Tipper,
    Love me some sugar cookies and a cup of joe…or spiced tea…
    I make Ambrosia here and the boys love it with a good homemade pound cake…Made sugar cookies and candies when the boys were home…I just don’t know where the time goes…but I betcha’ I could beat Don to those sugar cookies all the way from TN…LOL…that is if I motorized my rollator…!

  • Reply
    Sassy
    December 14, 2011 at 9:28 am

    I love it Tipper, all the memories made from fun times and love the pics of the girls. Fun watching them grow.

  • Reply
    Bradley
    December 14, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Here is a Christmas tradition of sorts that I’ll share with you. My favorite uncle (Momma”s brother) which I had a great relationship with all my young life drove big trucks and would be gone much of the time. However, he would show up to say hello and fellowship with us from time to time. He never forgot Christmas and you could count on him showing up for Christmas. I guess you could say that was a Christmas tradition. We lost him about five years ago as a result of an accident on one of his trips.
    One Christmas that stays in my memory is one of years ago when I was a young boy. It was the week of christmas and Sonny came by and said, “Hey, Bradley how would you like to go with me across the Mississippi and see some of those states since you are off for a couple of weeks?” Momma said that she didn’t want me to go because Sonny drove so fast all the time. He promised her he wouldn’t if she would let me go. So off we went.
    We headed west from Atlanta early one morning and He said that we were a little top heavy due to the way we were loaded and we were in a “Hot” pick-up but as soon as we left Louisianna and got some of that weight off we would “blow the sut” out of that truck – and we did.
    It was the week of Christmas and everybody was in the spirit and so nice. He knew every waitress in every cafe, every gas station attendant at every gas station, every truck driver in the truck stops along the way. We had a great time those two days. Momma never knew how fast we went in that pick-up. On those roads in Oklahoma late in the morning we put that truck through the paces. That engine would scream at full throttle and peg the speedometer hand when he called on it. It was just hitting the high spots in the road. Oh, yes, the Oklahoma State Patrol radioed ahead and caught us!
    That was such a nice memory that I now hold it in reserve as a resolve against the doldrums that can come from time to time during the holidays.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    December 14, 2011 at 9:12 am

    That looked like fun! Sugar cookies is one of my son, Andrew’s, favorite cookies. And, speaking of Christmas Traditions…you were the winner of the book, Christmas Traditions, over on my blog! Hope you enjoy reading all of the stories. Email me your address, please. :o)

  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    December 14, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I can’t believe how those girls have changed! They’ll get even with you one of these days for all the pictures taken when “she didn’t realize it was all over her face.”

  • Reply
    Belva
    December 14, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Love your cookie making tradition. Your girls will always remember the good time they had making cookies for Christmas. It can wind up getting to be quite a job though before you get through. We get together and make candy. We made some Saturday and I am going to make more this weekend. I think we all get on a sugar “high” tasting everything we make. I love to share our goodies with family and friends and they have come to expect to get their special plate of treats. Hope you and your girls get to make your cookies soon and have fun doing them! I would love to see Chatter’s sideburn cookies.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    December 14, 2011 at 8:50 am

    We held our annual neighborhood cookie exchange yesterday. So many yummy cookies! I made a new cookie this year – Reindeer bites, a recipe from Taste of Home. They were rather delicious, but I still made my usual pizzelles. Hope you have lots of good sugar cookies.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    December 14, 2011 at 8:26 am

    What a lovely tradition. Doesn’t it seem that most if not all family traditions revolve around food?
    This shows what is important in our lives, family, food on the table and good conversations.

  • Reply
    sandra
    December 14, 2011 at 8:01 am

    I love sharing your memories with you. mother used to do the same thing, sugar cookies and chocolate chip, she baked for weeks before Christmas, from Thanksgiving through Christmas our kitchen smelled heavenly

  • Reply
    Diane
    December 14, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Fun is messy … and making Christmas cookies should be fun! We do sugar cookies too and gingerbread cookies. I like your Granny’s addition of grated orange peel — I love anything with orange peel! One of our family’s favorite Christmas traditions is making chocolate fudge, which I do the old-fashioned way, cooked and with a candy thermometer. I make that myself though as it is not a group project — except when it comes to eating it!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    December 14, 2011 at 7:40 am

    First of all, Tipper, I love Pap’s & Paul’s harmony in “The Friendly Beasts” – and that you’ve been rotating the songs during this Christmas season.
    But your sugar cookie story points out how our fondest memories and greatest blessings are usually found in the simple and the common, not in the glamorous and the fancy.
    And so it is a story that is exactly in harmony with THE Christmas story.
    By the way, would you please give me a call when you start working up your sugar cookies? I should be able to make it to Brasstown about the time they’re coming out of the oven 😉

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