Appalachia Christmas Granny

Spreading Christmas Cheer

Using holly at Christmas time

Geneaieve (Granny’s sister closest in age) and Louzine (Granny)

A few weeks back the girls and I helped decorate Granny’s house for Christmas. She doesn’t do much these days. She has a small table top tree and puts out stockings for everyone along with a few crocheted Christmas things she’s made over the years. She has a giant red fork and spoon trimmed in fake holly that she’s used in the kitchen ever since I can remember along with a plastic length of bells woven with Christmas greenery that she hangs between the kitchen and living room.

To be honest with you I was tired and didn’t want to put up Granny’s Christmas things that day, but once the girls said they’d help we had it done in no time and it made me feel bad that I was dragging my feet over the chore.

While we worked Granny said “I remember one time Geneaieve and I decorated the whole house with pieces of holly. It was after we’d moved in with Grandpa and we were great big girls. We went to the cemetery and gathered the holly. Someone went with us and shot mistletoe out of those big oak trees for us so we had that too. I can’t remember if it was George, Lucky, James, or Woodrow. Whoever it was that had a gun handy I guess. We hung the holly over all the doorways and on every nail we found on the wall. I don’t remember why there was so many nails, but there was a lot. ”

I ask Granny what their mother thought about the holly she said “Oh she liked it. She liked anything us kids did.”

I’m glad my sense of responsibility made me help Granny when I didn’t much want to. I might have decorated her house, but she shared a piece of Christmas past with me that I’ll not soon forget.


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  • Reply
    Wesley P Bossman
    December 21, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Hi, Tipper,
    Thank you for your sharing of memories and for the inspiration from your family and the reader comments. I loved the Robert Frost lines. I feel enriched just imagining what your family and town are doing so many miles away each day. A joyful Christmas and Peace to all of you, now, and in the coming year.
    God bless us, every one. Wes

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    December 20, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    Memories sure do pop up in abundance around CHRISTmas time, don’t they.
    I pray everyone’s CHRISTmas memories are good ones.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Lee Mears
    December 20, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    What a sweet picture of your Mother and Aunt.
    My Grandmother said her father, Poppy, got slightly upset when he went in a house that didn’t have a nail for him to hang his coat on. It had to be a nail, not a hanger.
    More than likely he never saw a closet.

  • Reply
    December 20, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Good Humpty Dumpty story Ed.

  • Reply
    December 20, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Such a sweet picture of your mama and her sister. The dresses look like what I wore when I was a little girl. A lot of my everyday dresses were made from feedsacks, because my grandmother had chickens. The prints were so pretty, and now fabric manufacturers are reproducing them. The holly trees are full of berries in central Virginia, and I’ve heard it’s the female tree that produces the berries. I’ve also heard that if the trees are full of berries, we’re going to have a rough winter weather-wise. My mama had a holly tree and it was full of berries every year, and some winters were mild.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    December 20, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Beautiful sharing. Your mother has passed down her pretty features to you and the girls
    His a Blessed Christmas

  • Reply
    December 20, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    We don’t decorate for Christmas anymore or any holiday for that matter, I use to help with the tree some but decorating was always the Wife’s specialty, but to many sleepless nights and getting older has taken its toll. It’s kind of take it a day at a time thing now.

  • Reply
    December 20, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    I called our Gospel Radio Station and talked to Donna Lynn today and she asked me what she could play. I said something by Chitter and Chatter and she played “River of Jordan”. After that, she played “Working on a Building”, by the Girls and Paul. I’d know that Signature Sound anywhere, I love it. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 20, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    I was in the kitchen the other day cooking when the door busted open and a total stranger rushed in. He jumped up on a stool, pointed a pistol at me and said “I’m hungry! Make me an egg!” So I said “OK, you’re an egg!” and went back to my cooking. He rolled off the stool and splattered all over the floor. I’m sorry I did that. I should have made him a biscuit. He was a mess to clean up. Want to buy a pistol?

  • Reply
    December 20, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    What a nice Christmas Story! You look a lot like Granny.
    My brothers and I use to shoot Mistletoe out and sell paper polk fulls to a bunch of Imports across from the Topton Baptist Church. They were Rich People and they all knew each other. We thought of them as nice folks cause they let us mow their lawns in the summertime too. Back then, you could buy lots of Treats for $2.00. That’s what we got paid for mowing their lawns. We’d head for “Bigfists” Gulf Station to spend our Bounty and if he wasn’t drunk, we’d get us a dope and either a candy bar or a Devil’s Food cake. Sometimes his wife, Mary waited on us.
    Lordy, at the times I’ve experienced, and your stories that you shared brought back many memories. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 20, 2017 at 11:19 am

    And speaking of cheer, when I was growing up those things you sit in around the table was pronounced by some as “cheer”. I, being one to correct others’ speech, would admonish them, “it’s not ‘cheer’ it’s pronounced ‘chur!'” When I got older and realized that the vast majority pronounce it “chā-er”, did I go back and tell those I had berated that I too was wrong? No, just because I was wrong too doesn’t excuse them from being wrong, right? Grab a seat!

  • Reply
    Leon Estes
    December 20, 2017 at 11:00 am

    One Christmas my Dad went next door to Grandpa’s front yard and cut several branches out of Grandpa’s Cedar trees so we could have a Christmas tree that year. We decorated with glass balls and icicles and popcorn strung on thread. Memories are good. Thank you for sharing yours!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    December 20, 2017 at 10:23 am

    Love the photo!!

  • Reply
    December 20, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Those girls knew how to decorate a house didn’t they? Mistletoe and holly hung on every nail paints a pretty picture of two little girls making do with what they had. I wish I had paid more attention to Mom’s Christmas stories. I just read in a magazine this morning where someone said that when an old person dies it’s like a library has burned.

  • Reply
    Steve in Tn
    December 20, 2017 at 8:57 am

    As I get older I prefer simple. Easier and just enough to excite the senses.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 20, 2017 at 8:26 am

    I’m sure you have a great deal to do so it is natural that you should get a little Christmas fatigue. It is hectic this time of year.
    You remind me of Robert Frost’s lines:
    “The way a crow shook down in me,
    Dust of snow from a hemlock tree,
    Has given my heart a change of mood,
    And saved some part of a day I had rued.”
    Btw, holly berries are rather few and far between this year. The birds have already eaten the few I had. I was hoping to still have some. But they needed them more.

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    December 20, 2017 at 8:09 am

    The best present is a story. Thanks for sharing it with us. Thanks to Don, too, for his story yesterday.
    The best part about a story being a present is that it is the only present that gets better as you re-gift it!

  • Reply
    December 20, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Aww…what a sweet Christmas memory! I am so very thankful for the precious things I won that Granny made with her own hands. I put an ornament holder wire through the star, and it hangs proudly on our tree! I will think of her each time I see it…hopefully for many years to come! I feel so blessed to have two things she made. 🙂 We also enjoyed the book…I read it to Zach, and we got a kick out of the story. I copied down the recipe and plan to try to make it one of these days. Merry Christmas to all of you!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 20, 2017 at 7:19 am

    Christmas always bring memories of family. I love hearing your family memories, Tip, they are always so sweet!

  • Reply
    December 20, 2017 at 6:41 am

    Great picture and story. I can hear your mom’s voice telling it.

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