The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Christmas Memories

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1983-2012

Issue: December, 1983

“I remember my mother carefully saving all the wrapping paper and ironing it so she could use it again the next Christmas.”

“I remember one year when I was only about five years old and my Father was Santa at our church. My mother carefully made his Santa suit when us children were in bed so as to keep it a secret. I didn’t recognize him! It was years before I knew the secret. My father was short and slim. Looking back, I know he must have made a strange little Santa but I doubt if anyone noticed. It was like magic.”

“We used to hold big Christmas celebrations at church at Christmas. The men would bring in a tree as high as the ceiling and we would all decorate it with a broom to reach the upper branches. The presents, wrapped or unwrapped, with a name printed on them were thrown on the tree. I confess that once my friend and I wrapped a stick of candy for each other and placed it on the tree just to hear our names called out one more time. The last present on the tree was always a practical joke played every year on one local farmer. Someone always wrapped up a pig’s tail and gave it to him. The humor in it seems to have been lost over the years but I can remember everyone getting a big laugh out of it and him being a good sport.”

“My grandmother died in 1954 but I can remember one of her memories. When she and my grandfather were first married, he was a street car conductor and they lived in the city of Winston-Salem. Their first Christmas Eve together they took a walk in the brisk December air and on one street corner a group was gathered together singing Christmas Carrols. They stopped to listen and perhaps join in. She said they were singing “Silver Bells.” I never hear that song at Christmas time but what I see my grandparents as they must have looked not long after the turn of the century, standing on a street corner listening to the same song.”