Memories Of A Country School Christmas
Nana's Ham Ball

Christmas @ The Folk School

Christmas at the john c campbell folk school

If you're somebody who likes to drive around and look at Christmas decorations-the John C. Campbell Folk School is a must see. 

John c campbell folk school kissing ball

This time of the year the folk school is be-decked with all sorts of fresh greenery. Along with Christmas trees there are numerous wreaths and more than a few kissing balls.

Jccfs christmas

In true Appalachia fashion, the folk school uses past JCCFS catalogs to make paper decorations ranging from chickens to dancing Christmas folk. The windows have paper stars hanging from them to catch the sunlight and the banisters are garnished with paper and ribbon. 

John c campbell folk schools childrens christmas party

The JCCFS hosts numerous Christmas events throughout the month of December-one of which is their annual kids holiday party. This year's kids party included decoration making, a rousing game of musical chairs, folk dancing by way of Morris dancers and cloggers, and of course an appearance of ole Santy. 

Chatter and Chitter are dancing with a new clogging team these days-the Kudzu Kickers. Check out the video below to see the dance they performed for the holiday party. 

(*Before you watch the video you need to stop the music player-the music controls are along the top of this page on the far left side-just under the Blind Pig logo. Click the center round button to stop the player.) *For those of you who have trouble viewing the video-go straight to youtube to see it by clicking here. Chatter and Chitter are the two middle dancers.

I hope you enjoyed the clogging-and getting a peek at the folk school's decorations. In case you didn't know-the 2014 John C. Campbell Folk School Catalog is now available-you can go here to request a copy or here to view a copy online.

I'm tickled pink to be teaching a cooking class for the folk school again this year. I'll be teaching during Intergenerational Week-July 13-19. The folk school holds this special week each year in an effort to expose today's youth to traditional crafts, music, and food. The neat part of the week-the young students take a class alongside a parent, grandparent, or other special adult. You can check out all the details about Intergenerational Week and my class, Relishing Mountain Flavors by going here (page 84 if you already have the catalog). 


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That was some clogging! And I wonder...does anyone else hold their breath watching performances like this, just hoping everything goes right?
Of course, with this group, I could have kept breathing right through! ;)

I know the folks in your class this summer will have a great time and learn alot---I did in your class last year! Good to know you're doing another one.

Enjoyed the video--so much energy and talent!
Oh, to be close enough to see them in person and to see the Folk School all decorated!

Love it!

The image that popped in my head when I read Jim's comment about us old men trying to clog like those youngsters, was of someone trying to stomp out a fire in a blivet bag. Don't know what a blivet bag is? Ask the Deer Hunter I'm sure he knows.

The dance was great! I agree with Miss Cindy about the prettiest decoration in the first picture.
I sometimes think I missed my calling. I should have worked for The Secret Service in Washington.LOL I am always scanning the crowd or looking for details in some photo. For instance, did anybody notice that little toddler also in the first photo? She is partially obscured by that folding chair near the Christmas tree. If so did, did you check out those tiny little black shoes and those two precious, little twin blonde pony tails? Also there is another one in the fourth photo with the coral colored sweater.

The girls sure can strut and do their thing. I hope they continue these fancy steps for many years so I can say that I remember how great they were when they were in high school. The Folk School decorations look marvelous.

that makes the day better. Re: question of family tree of dancing - we saw a master of Irish dance who demonstrated the tap evolving and did an impressive dance tapping with one foot and step dancing with the other!!!!

Tipper: Those girls have it down PAT! I am so glad we got to seem them during their practice session! Just one tiny detail. The beautiful girl on the end needs a belt so she won't have to deal with pulling her britches up during her fantastic performance!

Best regards,
Eva Nell

Wow! That was great!

Nice dancing. Put them in a Kudzu field and they could do some damage - or maybe kick up a passle of new starts ~~. But that would be a waste of good dancing.

Can someone tell me the "family tree" of Irish dance, clogging, and tap (and other relatives of these forms)? For Irish dance (and to some extent, apparently, clogging) what was the reason for not moving (or seldom moving) the arms? Do men clog?

In any case - the simple joys are best!!

Great job by all of the cloggers and the bowing wave at the end was the toping on the cake.

Tipper--That clogging was a pure delight and leaves me all wistful harkening back to the days, many a Christmas ago,when I could shake a leg in at least a fashion at least vaguely reminiscent of this performance. Alas, any clogging efforts on my part now are likely to last about 45 seconds.
I also got a real chuckle from the one girl (second from the right for the viewer) who had a bit of trouble with her blue jeans wanting to slide down. Now, had they gotten away from her, that would have been a "sho-nuff sight." If you didn't notice, watch again and you'll see what I mean (she also had to pull up her sleeves a couple of time). I chuckled every time it happened.

On a related note, I love the name "Kudzu Kickers." Someone showed some alliterative genius in coming up with that moniker.

Jim Casada

Loved the clogging video! My what a talented, beautiful and loving family. Merry Christmas.

I enjoyed Chitter and Chatter's
performance with the Kudsu Kickers.
Yeah, I'm one of them that use to
love driving through the neighbor-
hood at Christmas Time to enjoy all
the different ways to decorate.
Congradulations on your teaching
class again. I suspect someone's
gonna get some Good Cookin'...Ken

I enjoyed the clogging video. All the girls did a great job and you must be proud of the talent Chitter and Chatter have. My wife and I went to the village school to see our Granddaughter, Isabelle perform. Along with singing she also danced an Irish dance similar to River Dance. Thank you for sharing the video.

I sure did enjoy the clogging this morning. Those girls are so good! I am trying to get our Grandchildren in clogging. I wish we lived close enough for them to participate in some of the school activities...I saw what I would call "the broken ankle step forward" that the group did? Mercy how did they do that! LOL
My arthitis ached just watching!

I make a hanging ball something like the one you pictured...I take a Arsh (Irish) potato. Wire around the center and make a loop. Have already picked, winter greenery, cedar, pine, boxwood, holly, ivy, berried shrubs, etc. etc.
Using a knife sharpen the ends of the little branches as you go. Take your great-great-Grandmothers ice-pick to help make holes all around the potato as you stick the pieces in the potato. You can do this mathmatically, starting one left, one right, one back, one front, one up and one down..keeping on around and filling in the empty spots...Stick in the Mistletoe so all can see it when you hang it or place a Mistletoe pick from the dollar store in the bottom..Tie a pretty bow with streamers qnd you have it...The potato will keep the branches moist thru the Christmas season!
Loved this post as usual...
Great job girls, wish I could have been there.
I think I will order me a catalog..
Whatcha cooking this year, Tipper?
Thanks for this post!

I think the prettiest decoration is the pretty girl in the top picture, but then, a grandmother can't help being proud!
The clogging was wonderful. I know how happy the girls are to be dancing with this new group.
I love that the Folk School uses it's own past catalogs to make decoration. It's kind of like practicing what you teach!

What a delight to see Chitter and Chatter with the "Kudzu Dancers" performing at the Folk School! And to see pictures of the decorations brought back wonderful Christmas memories of the times Grover and I went there during the holidays when we lived in Epworth, GA (near Blue Ridge. One Christmas, the Christmas poems of mountain poet Byron Herbert Reece were performed to music of autoharp. The artist's name is not immediately within my current memory, but the experience was wonderful! And thanks to all of you who read and responded to my Country School Christmas memories! Joyous Christmas!

I love visiting the Fold School any time, but Christmas is best.

I fell in love with the girls clogging video when I watched it on their Facebook page. The choreography and teamwork are excellent. I especially love the way the clogging sounds accent the music and the enthusiasm of the cloggers. The team must have practiced many hours for its polished performance.

So that's how Santa's little helpers stay fit during the rest of the year!

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