Today's entry is a very little (but very happy) way of indulging that defiance. To one reader, I will give away a copy of A Foxfire Christmas: Appalachian Memories and Traditions. This little book is dear to me for several reasons. First, although a Texan and a Midwesterner by birth and upbringing, yearly trips to North Carolina instilled in me an early love of Appalachia. Attending college in East Tennessee deepened this love, and when I am weary or tired, the retreat I imagine is usually a cabin hidden somewhere in the Smoky Mountains.
The Foxfire series began as an effort to preserve the folkways of Appalachia, and to bring students into contact with the resources and stories of the past. According to the series website
"Foxfire" is the name that an English class picked, in 1966, for a student-produced magazine they chose to create, containing stories and interviews gathered from elders in their rural Southern Appalachian community. [...]
"Foxfire" is the name of a series of books which are anthology collections of material from The Foxfire Magazine. The students' portrayal of the previously-dismissed culture of Southern Appalachia as a proud, self-sufficient people with simple beliefs, pure joy in living, and rock-solid faith shattered most of the world-at-large's misconceptions about these "hillbillies.
I have two Foxfire books, and they delight me. Not only do I love "hearing" the voices of the men and women interviewed for the project, I take a comfort in knowing that in the event of some apocalyptic, survivalist kind of emergency, I have a book on my shelf with instructions for building a spinning wheel and butchering a hog. A Foxfire Christmas selects the best Christmas stories, recipes, and ideas from the Foxfire series and compiles them into a little compendium of traditions and tales. In it you can find plans for a pine-wood race car and cloth doll; recipes for gingerbread, dumplings, and popcorn balls; and recollections about traditions of Christmas past. Because so many Appalachian families celebrated Christmas in spite of extreme poverty, many of these traditions provide simple and beautiful alternatives to big Christmas productions and high-cost gifts.
Home is a place we create and sustain traditions, and Christmas is one of the best times for renewing our holy-day (holiday) habits. If you would like to be entered to win a copy of A Foxfire Christmas, leave a comment below that answers this question: What are some Christmas traditions that help you experience the joy of Christmas? Are there any new traditions you would like to start with your friends and family this year?
Be sure to leave an email address so I can contact you if you are the winner. Contest ends on Wednesday, December 7 at 11 PM.