Appalachia Christmas

Granny’s Christmas Eve Story

Granny (on right) and her sister Geneaive

The other evening I stopped by Granny’s after work like I usually do. I’ve taken to carrying a notebook with me every time I visit so I can ask her to tell me a story and write it down. That evening I said “Tell me a Christmas story about when you were a little girl.” Granny said “Well you know the one about the year mother cut down the holly tree for a Christmas tree because I wrote about it in my poetry book.”

I told her I remembered that one, but always wondered if Granny Gazzie didn’t miss the tree being in the yard. Granny said “No it didn’t come out of the yard, it come from way up in the woods behind Shady Grove Church. I reckon mother knew it was there, it was a good size one, and went up there and cut it down herself and brought it home. Although my brother always tells me it was our older brother George who cut it down and brought it home. I still think it was mother.”

I said I bet it was pretty with red berries and Granny said “No it didn’t have no berries on it at all. We decorated it with what we had and it was a pretty sight. I’ll tell you a story I’ve never told another living soul in all these years. Mother always got each of us a bag of candy and since we didn’t get much candy we really looked forward to it. That year I went to bed with my shoes and clothes on so I could be the first one up to get the candy. See I wanted to steal some of the other’s candy and put it my bag so I’d have the most. It was way in the night and I got up and tiptoed into the room. No one heard me up and nobody got up to check on me either. I got one piece of candy out of a bag and realized it just wasn’t worth the feeling I had of guilt. Then I got scared. Thinking of all my family that I loved so much in the bed asleep while I was up trying to be a robber scared me bad. I went and got back in the bed and never did tell no one about what I had almost done. None of them knew that I had been up at all and the next morning we were all together and happy for Christmas.”

As Granny told me the story I smiled at the thought of a little girl thinking of herself as a robber. I asked Granny how old she was when it happened. Granny said she was in first grade so I’d guess the time period was close to the one when the photo at the top of this post was taken.


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  • Reply
    December 24, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    What a sweet story. I really like the picture. The dresses look like what I wore as a little girl. And those indestructible Stride Rite shoes! A Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    December 24, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    What a darling story! Keep having Granny tell you stories. They will be well cherished one day! Although I do not know Granny, please give her a hug and tell her how I enjoyed her sweet story!
    Merry Christmas to you all!

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    December 24, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Tipper what a sweet story her parents taught her well. I saw those high top shoes on her little feet I had to wear those until after third. Miss Julie said the shoes made strong ankles . I guess she may have had Point but not my ideal for sure. Now I wear high top boots but asI put on different boots I grinned and think of those little brown high top shoes

  • Reply
    carol roy
    December 24, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Hi Tipper….thank-you for this wonderful story from Granny….I just loved it and to think she had never told it to anyone ‘on this earth’ before….how old is Granny may I ask? You are very fortunate to have her ‘and all the wonderful stories’ she gets to share with you. Candy was very scarce in my childhood as well and today there is plenty of it ! Merry Christmas to you and all your family!

    • Reply
      December 28, 2018 at 8:44 am

      Carol-thank you for the comment! Granny is 78 years young 🙂

  • Reply
    December 24, 2018 at 10:28 am

    What a Joy … sitting with a very loved one listening …. savoring so much more , along with the sweetly shared words ❤️ Merry Christmas We had a spit of snow flurries yesterday , it was nice and oh so pretty .

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 24, 2018 at 9:59 am

    I am with Dolores. I have searched for years for the old fashioned natural flavors of Christmas mix hard candy; wintergreen, clove, lemon, lime, grape,spearmint, etc. And I remember the art candy with the little flowers in the center surrounded by white then with a colored outer shell. I have not seen any in a very long time. But I am still looking, mayb someday, somewhere.

    I had one of those conscious-stricken moments when I was a child to. And it was about candy I didn’t want to share with my brother. Though it was painful I learned something about myself that day I have never forgotten that has been of great service. “Folly is bound in the heart of a child…”

    Merry Christmas to all y’all and Joy to the World.

  • Reply
    December 24, 2018 at 9:19 am

    That story got me to thinking how things have changed since Granny was a little girl. Maybe I should say, since I was a little girl. I went through my big heaped up candy bowl last week and threw away more candy than my whole family ever got for Christmas. I don’t eat much candy and don’t know why I buy so much that it gets old before anyone eats it. Maybe it has something to do with all the years I wanted candy and didn’t get it.
    I hope someone will fill Granny’s stocking full of candy this Christmas!

  • Reply
    December 24, 2018 at 9:17 am

    It’s hard to find good old fashioned hard candy these days. I remember celebrating the feast of St. Nicholas as a child. In elementary school the sisters would wrap a few pieces of hard candy andplace them in our desks so on Dec. 6 we would have a surprise when we arrived to school that day. I remember my dad telling me that when he was in the orphanage there used to appear an orange in their sock on Dec. 6. Reading about the life and the man, St. Nicholas was a very generous person. Merry Christmas to all!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 24, 2018 at 9:04 am

    When I was that age I wouldn’t have dared get up at night by myself like that. I would have had to light a lamp to be able to see how to get around the house. I wouldn’t have even been able to see enough to find a match. Did they had electric lights?

  • Reply
    December 24, 2018 at 8:53 am

    What a great thing to do, Tipper. Yay for Granny! I tried to do this with my mother, but she would not talk if I was writing, and then she would ramble on with the best old stories when I was not prepared. I picked up a lot of tidbits from her which came in handy later researching genealogy.

    We must have an inner conscience that even our parents cannot give us. I, too, had a pang of conscience at about that age only it was about lying. Our teacher went one by one around the room and asked what we had for breakfast. On her part I realize now it was probably an effort to identify those who may have had no food. Not wanting to share my lackluster breakfast story of gravy and biscuits, I made up this exotic breakfast of all sorts of exotic fruits. Returning home that day I was overcome by feelings of guilt, and I vowed to my own self to not ever be a liar. Unfortunately adulthood sometimes brings on the need for a little “white lie.” For instance if a friend says, “Do you like my hairdo?” As I stare at the pink streaks I struggle to say the nicest thing instead of being painfully honest.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    December 24, 2018 at 8:44 am

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone could be happy with a few pieces of candy. Bless everyone and have a great Christmas.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    December 24, 2018 at 8:43 am

    When I was about the same age as almost robber Granny, I would sneak around the house and find what Santa was going to bring me before Christmas. One year, one of the Santa presents – a stick horse – wasn’t under the tree when we got up. I couldn’t think of how to bring it up without incriminating myself, but the pull was just too strong, so I blurted out “What did Santa Claus do with that stick horse?”

    Mama said “How did you know about that – and where is it?” She had hidden it so well she couldn’t find it.

    I got a chair from the kitchen and took it into the back bedroom, climbed up on it and retrieved it from a little cubbyhole above the clothes closet, revealing the extent of my pre-Christmas sneaking around. I guess I’m lucky I didn’t get switches and lumps of coal the next year.

    (By the way, I used stick horse as a prop – for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was).

  • Reply
    December 24, 2018 at 8:33 am

    Your mother had a good heart right from when she was a little girl 🙂
    I love the never-told stories people will recall, and I wish I had recorded some before it was too late. Taking a notebook with you every day is a very good idea – I think trying to just sit down and once in a while makes it more formal and less natural.

  • Reply
    December 24, 2018 at 8:03 am

    Well, I guess the Christmas Spirit got hold, it’s about giving more than gettin or receiving. That’s what Christ did.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 24, 2018 at 7:49 am

    Sweet story, Tip. When I was a little girl I loved candy enough to steal it too.

  • Reply
    December 24, 2018 at 6:52 am

    What a special Christmas story. So glad you and your Granny shared it.

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