The Historic Charm of a Pioneer Christmas in Old Appalachia

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Beginning December 6th, the Museum of Appalachia located in the mountains of East Tennessee will celebrate Christmas in Old Appalachia, a festive winter celebration that captures the beauty and simplicity of an old-fashioned Christmas.

Decorating cabin at the Museum of Appalacia

Decorating cabin at the Museum of Appalacia

Beginning December 6th, the Museum of Appalachia located in the mountains of East Tennessee will celebrate Christmas in Old Appalachia, a festive winter celebration that captures the beauty and simplicity of an old-fashioned Christmas. Inside the cabins, simple cedar Christmas trees are draped with paper chains, popcorn strings, sweet gum, and sycamore balls. In the Dan’l Boone Cabin, a dormant sapling wears cotton “snow” and scraps of cloth for bows. Pine clippings, magnolia leaves and holly berries line the mantels above the fireplaces. The Little Tater Valley School House is adorned with hand-made ornaments made by local students.

Tattered or well-worn quilts are laid under the trees; topped with carved wooden animals, tin horns, rag dolls, wagons, and spinning tops—all of which were presents found early on Christmas morning. Children often opened their Christmas packages to find practical gifts, such as new shoes or books, purchased from a mail order catalog; and relished in the joy of receiving something as simple as an orange or a peppermint stick.

On December 6th and 7th , the Museum has planned a variety of charming holiday festivities to kick off its Christmas season. Such fun activities include: craftsmen demonstrating traditional arts, warm fires surrounded by traditional porch musicians playing seasonal music, local authors signing their books, and a delicious home-cooked dinner at the Museum’s restaurant.

Continuing through December 24th, special holiday exhibits include the children’s display in the Hall of Fame, with toys and furniture made by loving parents and grandparents, and Granny Irwin’s traditional Christmas Crazy Quilt—brought out only on special or festive occasions.

Browse the regional, ‘American made’, hand-crafted gifts and books in the Shop at the Museum for a special Christmas gift. Enjoy hot, southern country-style lunches, served daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Museum restaurant. Home-made cakes, pies, cookies, and other holiday treats are available all day, or can be made special to order for Christmas gatherings.

December hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily (8:30 a.m.-3pm on Christmas Eve and closed Christmas Day). The Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate and a not-for-profit organization, is located 16 miles North of Knoxville, Tennessee, one mile East of Interstate 75 at Exit 122. For more information, call 865-494-7680, or visit the web site at http://www.museumofappalachia.org.

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Stephanie Wells
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