Appalachia Christmas

I Dream Of Christmases Of Long Ago

Christmas in Appalachia

I Dream Of Christmas written by Granny Wilson

I dream of Christmases of long ago
Of trampling home thru cold and snow
Of sitting by the hearth with hearts aglow
And looking forward to Christmas.

I think of times that used to be
When Mom chopped down the holly tree
And James was probably not more than three
And we had the grandest Christmas.

At Christmas there’s more love and cheer,
Perhaps because our Lord seems near
Because he came in a lowly way
And brought love and hope and Christmas.

Lord hear this prayer that’s in my heart
That Christmas love may not depart
That each year hearts both young and old
May have a dream of Christmas.


After reading Granny’s poem I tried to clear my mind and think of the first Christmas memory that came floating back into it. The memory that came was of Fred.

Fred was a stuffed dog. I really can’t remember who got him for Christmas Paul or me. But we loved him. We loved that stuffed dog in a silly way.

Fred came from a store called Bud’s. It was a discount store where you could buy damaged and returned items. After Fred came to live with us we saw another ‘fred’ at the store. Paul and I told stories about that too, about why Fred’s twin didn’t live with us. Funny, at that point in our lives we had no idea what a great role twins would play in our future.

We made up other stories about Fred too. I guess we talked about him more than we actually played with him. We joked about how he LOVED pizza and was always sneaking off to Pizza Hut. Sometimes when I came home at night I’d find Fred tucked into my bed setting up like he was waiting for me. And when Paul was gone I’d sneak him into his bed to wait on him as well.

I hope you’ll share a Christmas memory that comes floating along to your mind.


Portions of this post were originally published here on the Blind Pig in December of 2012.

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  • Reply
    Marge Borchert
    December 27, 2014 at 7:29 am

    I love Granny Wilson’s poem. I am going to print it out and frame it. What a gift she had for bringing out the childhood memories of all who read it. I never considered myself to be talented in writing poetry, but Granny did inspire me to write my own Christmas story. This blog is so inspiring. I love reading everyone’s comments. The recipes are beyond belief!!! Thank you for sharing.
    Love & Peace

  • Reply
    December 23, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Hi Tipper,
    Reading Granny’s dear poem brought back this memory of mine with my Granddaughter Kasey Pie on Dec. 20 1994. Here’s the poem we lived that day.
    We’ve wrapped up a doll from my daughter’s young days,
    to look like baby Jesus then we sing our praise My little granddaughter, almost three. Sings happy Birthday Jesus with me.
    Oh there’s jingle bells and Santa sounds, but it’s the doll baby Jesus she carries around My little granddaughter, almost three. Sings happy Birthday Jesus with me
    She’s mine for a while to help mold, to read to, to sing with, and to hold. My little granddaughter, almost three, Sings happy Birthday Jesus with Me.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    December 23, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    I absolutely love the poem!! It makes me remember back, to a Christmas we spent with my Gramma and Grampa. We had a beautiful Christmas with lots of toys and good things to eat, the a surprise when we got home, there were presents under this tree too.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    December 23, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    beautiful memories all…
    Tipper, you come from of family of many talents and thank you for sharing those talents and your family will all of us.
    Happy, Blessed Christmas.

  • Reply
    December 23, 2014 at 11:55 am

    I can see where you get your
    character from reading Granny’s
    poem. What a lovely theme!
    Being the youngest in our family of all boys, it was me and my older brother to get our Christmas Tree. Daddy didn’t do any decorating but Mamma did. My brother and I walked for miles
    way back in the Mountains to get
    our Christmas Tree. We fished in
    a mountain stream alot and noticed just where we’d find our
    Tree at Christmastime. When we
    got back home Mama had plenty of
    decorations, some homeade, and
    she loved to help decorate it.
    These memories are as clear as
    if it was yesterday…Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 23, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Granny’s poem is as good as any and far better than most. I heard nary word of Santa Claus or sleigh bells or chimney tops. Her Christmas tree was holly which comes pre-decorated by the Master.
    I heard no mention of Christmas presents except for Love and Hope and Cheer. Think about who brought those!
    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the whole Christian world could experience Granny’s Christmas Dream!
    Thank you Granny! You opened the window of your soul and showed us God inside!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    December 23, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Tipper–I enjoyed the poem, thanks in part to the subject matter but particularly because of the rhythm. When it comes to poetry, give me a rhyme every time; lines that are tight, bright, and somehow right. I’ll take Rudyard Kipling or Robert Service and leave this atonal, stream of consciousness nonsense to those who pretend to like and understand it (and who knows, maybe they do, but it’s too much for this son of the Smokies).
    I’ll add a bit to Don’s remembrance of Momma and Christmas. As he rightly indicates, there is no way any human cold find more joy in all aspects of Christmas, and when the season rolled around she reverted to the sheer, simple joy of childhood in a most marvelous way.
    One of my favorite memories is her unbridled joy at family joke gifts. Momma was often the butt of jokes and was a wonderful sport who could laugh at herself with ease. Daddy was far less inclined that way, which made jokes at his expense all the more delightful. I can still envision Momma, almost convulsed with glee, when Daddy got a tape (pre-CD days) of Sammy Davis, Jr. one Christmas. He absolutely despised the man. Similarly, on another occasion he got underwear decorated with Mickey Mouse or some Disney character, and again Momma about burst a stitch.
    But as Don suggests, opening a present–any present–gave her joy beyond compare. I think it might have been, in part, compensation for a lonely and tough childhood. Whatever the case, for her Christmas and sheer joy were synonymous.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    December 23, 2014 at 9:49 am

    I love the poem and the sweet Fred story. My favorite gift memory is walking into the living room and seeing my Patti Playpal.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    December 23, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Since my family is all gone and my neighbors families are all to far away to visit we have named ourselves The Wood Family. We all live in the woods.
    We have been getting together for the last 10 years and making lots of great memories.
    We do this on Easter and Thanksgiving also and invite anyone that does not have family in the area.
    Our Wood Family is growing.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    December 23, 2014 at 8:40 am

    First of all, I love the rhyme and meter of Granny Wilson’s poem. Words and thoughts with rhyme and time count as poetry in my book. Those which have neither don’t.
    Okay, old man editorializing aside…
    There are many fond memories of Christmas, but I think perhaps the single memory that is most enduring and endearing is that of watching our second son, Matthew, and his Grandma Casada opening presents in 1989, when he was 7 years old and she was 76.
    Matthew was a boy whose cup was so running over with energy that if you told him to stand still, he would do his best to keep his feet put, but every other part of him would take to moving. He never had more energy or excitement than at Christmas gift-opening time – and it didn’t matter who was opening the present.
    And there was never a soul, adult or child, who loved Christmas more than Mama. Jim has written about her love of the season before (including, I think, for the BlindPig). Her joy extended in all sorts of directions, but was never more manifest than when opening presents.
    We always opened presents one at a time, usually in order of age. So Daddy would go first (he’d have been 80 at the time, and you never saw a fitter man of 80 years, by the way). His present-opening was one of those “let everything be done decently and in order” sort of affairs. Each piece of tape was carefully sliced with his razor-sharp pocket knife. When done with the tape, he’d carefully fold the knife and put it back in his pocket and carefully remove the wrapping (so that it could be reused). With that done, he’d get the knife back out to slice the tape on the box.
    If the mood struck him, he might even tell a tale of some sort while he had the floor. Commodore Casada’s opening of a present could sometimes be measured in parts of an hour.
    Matthew had been told (and told again) to keep back when Grandpa had his knife open. So he did, but it was almost more than he could stand to see things going so slowly.
    Mama watched all this with great amusement, and then when it was her turn, would ask Matthew to help her open hers. You have never seen more of a matched pair, even if two generations apart, when those two had at it. The fingers went to flying and so did the paper. They’d have the box open in a matter of milliseconds.
    As I write these words, I’m sitting in the same room, in fact in almost the very spot from which I watched 25 years ago. There were tears from all the laughing back then. Today, there are tears of joy as the memories echo off these old walls.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    December 23, 2014 at 8:17 am

    After being told that times were hard and Santa might not be able to bring me the doll I had picked out from Sears Roebuck catalog, there, in that hard “Great Depression” filled time of 1935 was that beautiful doll underneath my stocking I had “hung by the chimney with care.” I joyed at the doll, but something written on the lid of the box, “To Ethelene with love from Santa Claus” made my heart stop a beat. Although I was only five, I knew and could read (for somehow I had already learned to read), I recognized my father’s handwriting! But I dared not tell that I had figured out the Santa Claus story, and he was no longer the laughing generous person dressed in red who came while children were all “snugly tucked in their beds.” He was actually Mother and Daddy, whose times were, indeed, hard during depression times. But I did not then comprehend or know how they struggled. You can imagine that I kept my knowledge to myself, and for a few more years I went along with Santa Claus. But after that year, when I was but a slip of a child, I made my requests more simple, less extravagant, than the prettiest doll from Sears Roebuck catalog! After all, Santa did the very best he could, anyway, and I knew, after that fifth Christmas, that he loved me, regardless of circumstances!
    And I loved Granny Wilson’s poem. So clear and well-expressed, so meaningful! A joy-filled Christmas to all of you!

  • Reply
    December 23, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Christmas Eve was always a speial time for us. My grandfather would come to share the evening with us. Santa always arrived early that evening and our family – my parents, my brother and, ten years later, my sister. My grandfather and Uncle George, one of dad’s brothers, and my family gathered around the tree as we all opened our new treasures. One year I received a wonderful pair of ice skates. I still have them in the attic. I can’t skate any more, but the memories are very vivid. May all readers have a wonderful Christmas filled with wonderful and happy memories.

  • Reply
    steve in tn
    December 23, 2014 at 8:00 am

    I wish kids now could enjoy Christmas as much as we all did at young ages. Too many gifts for some to really enjoy each one. But then most of us don’t wish for much as adults either. Lets remember to appreciate the little things. I am going to be more thankful for small gifts from every source.

  • Reply
    Barb Wright
    December 23, 2014 at 7:19 am

    I always think of Grandma and Grandpa coming on Christmas eve. They always entered through the back door into the kitchen. Grandpa always had a cardboard box with gifts..since there were 8 of us kids,it must have been heavy! Grandma made alot of it. One I remember was a doll blanket. I loved it!! I also saved it and my daughter played with it. She is now 32..I am 54,and the blanket is still in the attic! Merry Christmas!!

  • Reply
    December 23, 2014 at 7:11 am

    I will be putting up Christmas lights today, and guess what I bought when I was was out getting cans of insulating foam for the porch windows yesterday:
    a potato!!!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Tipper – I love Granny Wilson’s poem! 🙂

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