The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

Visit us on FaceBookGenerations of Memories
from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Three Generations of Christmas Memories

By Ivalien Hylton Belcher © 1983

Issue: December, 1983

Grandmother: Nannie Wood Hall
Mother: Grace Hall Hylton
Daughter: Ivalien Hylton Belcher

I remember old fashioned Christmases when I was a child. All the decorations were hand made by Mom and Grandmother from the materials they could find. They made paper chains and used crepe paper and tin foil (saved from whatever they could find) for their trees. They always hung their stockings. My grandmother Hall said most years, she got an orange and a peppermint stick in her stocking. Once she got a little doll. It was about six or eight inches high and was made of celluloid. It had arms and legs that moved and hair that was painted on. It wore a little red dress with a little fine lace at the neck.

My mom, Gracie Hylton, says during the week of Christmas, in her childhood, they had a party and square dancing every night at a different house. Most of the time there was also a big supper. I would have loved this! Everyone in the mountains knows how I love dancing.

When the electric lights and fancy decorations came out, of course, I had to have some. But, you know I didn’t enjoy them at all and I do not have any now. All my ornaments are hand made. I love to gather native greenery, holly, running cedar and red berries to use throughout my home.

In the mountains around here, we go out Christmas Caroling, especially stopping by the shut-ins, older people and widows. We sing and take fruit baskets to them. I shall never forget one time we were singing for one man and tears rolled down his cheeks. Lots of small children go with us. What a beautiful picture to see my Grandmother Hall, sitting in her rocking chair surrounded by children singing.

Looking back, the thing I miss most of my childhood is those big bunches of raisins, still on the stem, we used to get at Christmas. How I would love to taste them again.

Sometimes we get snow for Christmas. This makes an especially beautiful sight. Wherever you are, I know you would enjoy a Christmas in the mountains.