Thankful November

Thankful November…Not Over Yet

Collage of 2021 photos

“On Christmas morning our brothers would get up around three or four o’clock in the morning, long before daylight. They always had firecrackers and Peter would get ahold of them firecrackers and away he’d go. He’d shoot a big firecracker off first—beat the neighbors waking everybody up. You never heard such an explosion! I’m surprised Daddy let them buy such stuff, but that was what they liked. “

—Bernice Williams and Burice Bradshaw – “A Foxfire Christmas”

“I remember all of our Christmases were special. My momma would set our plates on the table, and Santa Claus would come to see us in our plates. We usually got an apple, and orange, and some stick candy. That’s all we had. Sometimes we would get nuts, and usually Momma would have made a rag doll or some kind of little toy for my sister and me. My Dad would have made the boys a slingshot or a new wagon or a new sled that they could ride down the hill on. I think on Christmas morning would be the most special time when we got up to see what we had in our plates. [The most special gift I ever got] was a time [when] Daddy was real sick and we didn’t have anything at all. The neighbors came and they brought us some toys and things they had made. If it had not been for that, we wouldn’t have had any Christmas. We had a large family, and the neighbors knew our father was sick. Maybe he had had a tree fall on him or something, and he hadn’t been able to get out and work. They brought us some rag dolls for the girls, and some toys for the boys. It made my mama and daddy so happy knowing we would be able to have something.

—Mrs. Lovell – “A Foxfire Christmas”

“I remember one Christmas we begged Mama to hang her stocking up, and the next morning there was a great big old sweet potato in it. Ohhh! Us kids thought that was so funny!”

—Alma Lusk – “A Foxfire Christmas”

As often happens my Thankful November Giveaways are stretching into the month of December. Today’s giveaway is a used copy of “A Foxfire Christmas.” To be entered in the giveaway leave a comment on this post. *Giveaway ends December 5, 2021.

If you’re looking for some Christmas music, be sure to check out Pap and Paul’s cd “Songs of Christmas.

Last night’s video: Making Russian Tea in Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Wanda Robertson
    December 5, 2021 at 2:33 pm

    My grandma gave all her grandchildren firecrackers for Christmas, and we would set them off at her house after Christmas dinner. I was afraid of them, so I just threw them in a big fire they had build outside. I’m still afraid of them.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2021 at 6:51 am

    I really like the Foxfire book series, but don’t remember this one devoted to Christmas, if it’s not too late please enter my name in the drawing. Thanks so much for your generosity in the “November Thankful Giveaways”

  • Reply
    Ben Wooded
    December 3, 2021 at 1:47 pm

    Great memories. I wonder if the tune, “Breaking Up Christmas,” refers to those firecrackers? Thanks as always for your generosity

  • Reply
    December 2, 2021 at 1:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing Appalachian memories! Love your blog.

  • Reply
    Marilyn Reed
    December 2, 2021 at 11:20 am

    I think my favorite Christmas gift as a child was the wooden child-size cupboard my dad made for me to keep my toy dishes in. It was painted a soft green color. I wish I knew what happened to it!

  • Reply
    Danilee Varner
    December 2, 2021 at 5:02 am

    Those are sweet stories! We are all di spoiled now with too much. We don’t always appreciate the small things.

  • Reply
    Angela J Short
    December 2, 2021 at 12:05 am

    Sounds like an interesting book.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2021 at 10:56 pm

    I remember several of those lean Christmases. After I was about 11 or 12 Dad began to get more work in the Winter and things got better. Then he bought apples and oranges by the case and several types of nuts and candy.

  • Reply
    Annette Hensley
    December 1, 2021 at 8:24 pm

    These Christmas description are definitely consistent with how my Mama and Daddy related what they got on Christmas. The simplicity certainly didn’t diminish the excitement and joy of Christmas!

  • Reply
    Beverly Robertson
    December 1, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    We always got an Apple, orange, candy and nuts in our Christmas stockings as kids. I continued this tradition with my own child. When he got older he asked me why. I’d never really thought about it. It was just the way we had always done it. My mother provided the answer. These gifts were a large part of their Christmas each year. Growing up poor with a large family, this was sometimes all they got. Except for the fireworks as described in your post. We’ve never had fireworks for Christmas, but Mother says that they were always part of the celebration.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    Your readers could write a book about their Christmas stockings!

    Christmas in the early ’50s was still shaped by WWII. Being the 9th of 9, only my youngest sister and I hung stockings. We would get an orange, an apple, a tangerine, exotic nuts (for us), peppermint candy canes, and a type of candy that had a white peppermint flavored filling and chocolate covering. We also got raisins – the old kind that had seeds and stems. We would each get a surprise gift from Santa.

    The most fun my sister, 4 years older, and I had was pooling our money and shopping for our parents and siblings. In those days we still had downtown shopping districts where all the stores fronted a street. We would make a survey trip through all the stores we were likely to make purchases. Then we would go to a soda fountain to get energy to complete our mission. Most times we never got it all done in one trip; so the next Saturday we would repeat the process. Once our trove was complete, we’d buy wrapping paper and ribbons and enjoy wrapping them together.

  • Reply
    Jenny Young
    December 1, 2021 at 4:46 pm

    I have some of the foxfire books but not this one. I’d love to own this one too.

  • Reply
    Colleen Holmes
    December 1, 2021 at 1:05 pm

    Me, me, please!

  • Reply
    Colleen Holmes
    December 1, 2021 at 1:02 pm

    Yes, I’m entering. That’s one of the ones I’m missing to complete my set. My Foxfire books are read and reread, even highlighted. Lol

  • Reply
    Deb Blackwood
    December 1, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    Such special and life affirming times.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2021 at 12:15 pm

    Brought me back when I was a child. We would get an apple and orange and one of those big peppermint sticks. We thought that was something. Maybe one toy, but it didn’t matter to us because you don’t miss what you’ve never had.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    Reading the memories of Christmas posted sure bring to my mind the many stories my Mother would tell me of what her six sisters and four brothers would find in their socks Christmas morning in NE MS. They were so excited to find an Orange, Apple, Peppermint Stick and some nuts. The oldest two sisters were responsible for going out in the woods and finding a little cedar tree which they would cut and bring home. They didn’t have store bought ornaments but they strung popcorn, cut & glued a garland of construction paper and found old tinfoil from cigarette packages to make a star. I would love to read a Foxfire Christmas.

  • Reply
    Sherry Whitaker
    December 1, 2021 at 10:54 am

    Christmas has always been a treasure in our family. I was surely blessed with lots of aunts & uncles …some close to my age. The real meaning of the season was , to my heart, the main focus. I am so thankful for loving parents who displayed a true love
    & joy for the truth & passed that in to my sister , brother & me & all those aunts & uncles as well. My Dad, a sawmiller when growing up in Arkansas, loved those Foxfire books. Put my name in the hat!

  • Reply
    Wanda Bramlett
    December 1, 2021 at 10:45 am

    We used to have a foxfire book or two, but I don’t remember one totally devoted to Christmas!

  • Reply
    Annie Buck
    December 1, 2021 at 10:29 am

    I would love to read that book. It’s so important to keep These memories alive.

  • Reply
    Sharon Cole
    December 1, 2021 at 9:54 am

    Would love to read this book. Take care and God bless!

  • Reply
    Donna Brewton
    December 1, 2021 at 9:28 am

    Sadly, I didn’t ask my parents about their Christmas memories so I have to be content with other folk’s memories of that era. I’d love to read this Foxfire book. I’m going to write down all the memories I have of Christmas in my journal. Maybe one day my children or grands will want to know how we celebrated.

  • Reply
    Sandra henderson
    December 1, 2021 at 9:21 am

    I enjoyed reading these little stories, I’m sure this is a wonderful book! I enjoy hearing stories of how it was in old times. I’d love to win this book!

  • Reply
    December 1, 2021 at 9:10 am

    I love that Christmas CD!

  • Reply
    December 1, 2021 at 9:09 am

    Christmas at our house was much like the stories written in the Foxfire books. I love to tell my grandkids about some of the gifts I got for Christmas and the way we decorated. Our tree was always a cedar that was cut from the hill behind our house. It didn’t have many ornaments, just big lights that got so hot we couldn’t turn them on very long at a time. The smell of a cedar tree brings back strong memories of Christmas. A set of jacks, paper dolls or a 4″ baby doll with moveable limbs and eyes were as exciting to us as an expensive electronic game kids might get nowadays. It was the Christmas plays at school that made all the kids feel like they were on a stage in Hollywood. It was an exciting time for the audience as well.

  • Reply
    Angelyn McLain
    December 1, 2021 at 8:51 am

    I have a Foxfire Christmas and I just love it. If I should win I would give it to my Dad for Christmas. When he visited for Thanksgiving I put two Foxfire books by his bed and he loved reading them. He would come to breakfast sharing the stories.

  • Reply
    Gloria Frazier
    December 1, 2021 at 8:48 am

    I would love a copy of Foxfire Christmas.
    My mother was from a family of nine children. My grandfather (who I never got to meet except once when I was about a month old) worked at a saw mill. She said they would get an apple, sometimes an orange and a peppermint stick. Once in a while there was a small gift. Their gifts weren’t wrapped but everyone was excited.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    December 1, 2021 at 8:45 am

    I loved those stories. Would love to win the book. I dont have a lot of memories of Christmas from when I was a child. I do remember when I was in the 3rd grade, we drew names at school. Everyone got toys except for me. I got a pair of gloves. I remember sadlly watching all the kids play with their toys while I sat in my chair holding my gloves.

  • Reply
    Jane ODell
    December 1, 2021 at 8:37 am

    One of my Granddaddy’s favorite Christmas stories was the year his dad gave each kid a dime for Christmas (his momma died when he was a baby and his daddy was raising five kids on his own in the early 1920s). He took his dime and bought some fire crackers and…his words every time…”bam, bam, bam…just like that…Christmas was over”…followed by a big ole laugh. This was always so funny to us. I love the Foxfire books, but if you happen to draw my name on this one, please give it to Denise R, I hope it will bring her some great memories of her family. So thankful for you, Tipper!

  • Reply
    Pastor Lon
    December 1, 2021 at 8:32 am

    I love reading about the different ways and traditions that families celebrated Christmas in years gone by. That’s too funny about the firecrackers at 3 in the morning lol. When I was really young I remember my Grandaddy Howle giving us a bag of pecans (from his trees in his yard lol) and some fruit and we were content and grateful for that. I look forward to the Blind Pig reading each morning.
    Thanks Miss Tipper!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 1, 2021 at 8:19 am

    I have a copy of Foxfire Christmas. My sister gave it to me years ago. But whoever wins it will like it. Some good recipes there for one thing.

    In our lifetimes many of us re-live what Solomon learned and wrote down for us. Joy and happiness is not in possessions. Our daughter, son in law and grandson are coming to our house, first time we ha e seen them in two years. I’d rather have them here than any thing. That’s on the receiving side. On the giving side it is a big expense to them, far more than sending gifts would have been. Just think, all this and heaven to!

    Life is a riddle in some ways. Our elders tried to tell us how to live well. We didn’t really ‘get it’. Then we lived and did get it by and by. Now we try to tell those coming along behind us. And they don’t ‘get it’ either. But they will. Reckon it has to be come by personally. Nobody can give us the answer. We have to find it.

    • Reply
      Patricia Wilson
      December 1, 2021 at 10:16 am

      Amen! Ron, you spoke truth! Joy is found being content with what God has given you.

  • Reply
    Cathy Sparks
    December 1, 2021 at 8:04 am

    I would love to read “A Foxfire Christmas”. I fondly remember the stories my day told me of his early years and his Christmas in the hills of Kentucky. He was one of 15 children so Christmas morning back then wasn’t filled with lavish gifts like today. He said he was lucky to get an apple or an orange.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2021 at 7:54 am

    Those were such sweet memories they shared. It made me think about my mom and dad, what Christmas was like for them. I don’t recall them talking about Christmas when they were children. I’ll have to ask my sister if she remembers them talking about their childhood Christmas. I know when I was a child our stockings were filled with an apple, orange, nuts and a candy cane or two. We each got a toy or two and then clothes or shoes, which ever we were in need of at the time from Santa. However the best part was mom making a big Christmas breakfast and dinner. We were to full from breakfast to eat lunch, or even snack, but by dinner time we couldn’t wait to eat. I miss those days of all of us being together, but thankful I can still remember Christmas as a child.

  • Reply
    Denise R
    December 1, 2021 at 7:42 am

    My dad always bought and read the Fox Fire books as they came out. When he and Reda hit the road 25 years ago, he sold them all. I remember reading parts out of the books when I was a kid, but sadly they’re gone. I don’t see them around here anymore and when I think about it, it’s been that way for several years. What I remember about them was interesting and the fact that the authors captured the history from the people they interviewed. Those old time ways are important to know and learn from.

  • Reply
    Kathy Gautier
    December 1, 2021 at 7:28 am

    Love the Foxfire Christmas memories. At my Grandma’s we would go out to the woods on the farm and cut down with the axe a Christmas tree and bring to the house. Grandma had bubble lights (I still love them to this day) and big old glass ornaments and we would decorate our little tree! How I loved it. Then, she would make hot biscuits with chocolate gravy and hot chocolate and we would have a feast! She always gave us something practical that we could use. How I miss those days. Thanks for the memories, and this would be a great read.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 1, 2021 at 7:03 am

    One of the things is my life that I am thankful for is The Blind Pig greeting me every morning!

  • Reply
    Martha D Justice
    December 1, 2021 at 6:57 am

    I remember my Daddy telling us how excited he was at Christmas one year in particular. He got an orange and a peppermint stick. He said he poked a hole in the orange and stuck the peppermint stick in and then licked the orange juice off. One year he got a marble for Christmas, best gift ever. My dear sweet mother was raised in an orphanage from the time she was eight until she was fifteen. She never told us of anything special about Christmas. Some memories are too sad to share.

  • Reply
    Kimberly Moore
    December 1, 2021 at 6:28 am

    It’s great to laugh first thing in the day and this one brought me a laugh! Christmas Eve At Grandparents’ house we’d tuck our kids in bed and an uncle or aunt would wait a bit, then jingle bells under their windows and run. The kids would yell they’d heard Santa and we’d feign disbelief.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2021 at 6:22 am

    Last night I had a simmering pot of freshly made Russian tea on the stove when I came across your video showing how you make it. This time of the year our kids and grandchildren know there will be a cup to be had when they drop by. I had also been listening to the Christmas CD for the first time❤️. Your posts bring alive the memories of a childhood in the mountains of western NC.

  • Reply
    Philip D Mundy
    December 1, 2021 at 6:15 am

    Please enter my name in the drawing for “A Foxfire Christmas” Reading and Thinking about the people from that time period, they gave thanks and appreciated more alot of the things we take for granted. I know I have been blessed. Hope you and all your readers had a Happy Thanksgiving and have a Blessed Merry Christmas

  • Reply
    Nancy Vater
    December 1, 2021 at 6:12 am

    Foxfire Christmas would be a nice book to read this month!

  • Reply
    December 1, 2021 at 4:35 am

    Not much more exciting than waking up on Christmas morning to the tree with toys underneath. We did not get toys otherwise! Children actually didn’t miss them, as we used our vivid imagination to play. My Grandma’s tree always had homemade ornaments, and I thought it was beautiful I had aunts and uncles my age, so when weather permitted it was so fun to visit my grandparents through the holidays. Nobody ever had many toys, because it would have been considered a waste. I remember my uncle proudly wearing his Roy Roger’s cap and sporting a cap gun. I love the Foxfire books because they are not too far different from the ways of my grandparents.

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