Tag Archives: Christmas in Appalachia

Time for Kris Kringling

For Pennsylvania Dutch children Christmas started yesterday, the beginning of ‘chriskringling’ (or ‘Kris Kringling,’) the two-week period culminating in Christmas. It’s a hybrid of trick or treating, mischief night, and Christmas caroling. Tradition dictates that after dressing in costumes, the children sneak up to a neighbor’s house armed with noise makers of every shape and […]

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We didn’t trim a tree at home; we didn’t have any trimming

“I don’t think I was ever any more excited than on that last day at school before Christmas when Miss Dumire asked three of us girls to untrim the tree. She gave each of us a box and said, ‘Try to put the same amount in each box.’ So we were careful, helping each other […]

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There’s more than one definition of fruitcake in Appalachia

Yes, it’s heavy as a brick, and lasts long enough that you can re-gift it year after year without anyone commenting on its shelf life having expired. Blame the Scots. Early versions of the rich style fruitcake, such as what we know today as Scottish Black Bun, date from the Middle Ages, and were luxuries […]

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I tried to get her to sing all the song

John Jacob Niles composed the Appalachian influenced Christmas carols The Carol of the Birds, The Flower of Jesse, What Songs were Sung, Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head, and Sweet Little Boy Jesus. I Wonder As I Wander, one of his most popular carols, illustrates the working methods of this inveterate collector of homegrown musicality: “I […]

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