Tag Archives: Christmas in Appalachia

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 […]


The Santa Train pulls into town

In Appalachia Santa Claus comes the weekend before Thanksgiving. Since 1943, the Santa Special, more commonly known as the Santa Train, has traveled 110 miles through the mountains of eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia and northeastern Tennessee to distribute loads of candy, toys and other goodies to eager bystanders, most of whom have made it a […]


They’s heaps o folks here still believe on Old Christmas

OLD CHRISTMAS They’s heaps o’ folks here still believe On Christmas – that’s Old Christmas – Eve, The elders bloom upon the ground, And critters low and kneel around In every stall, though none I know Has seen them kneel, or heard them low, Unless, maybe, ‘t was Judith Daughn And she’s been dead these […]


Breakin’ up Christmas

Breakin’ Up Christmas is both the name for 12 days of partying, dancing, and music making ending up on January 6th, Old Christmas day, and also a song sung during that period. The tradition harks from the area that roughly includes Surry County NC, nearby Grayson and Carroll counties in VA, and the independent city […]


Christmas Eve on Lonesome

It was Christmas Eve on Lonesome. But nobody on Lonesome knew that it was Christmas Eve, although a child of the outer world could have guessed it, even out in those wilds where Lonesome slipped from one lone log cabin high up the steeps, down through a stretch of jungled darkness to another lone cabin […]

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