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I love Christmas in the mountains.  I left Hazard in 1985 but come home several times a year including Christmas time.  My favorite part of coming to the mountains in the wintertime is the smell of coal burning in the stoves and fireplaces of the mountain homes.  When I lived in Chicago, I loved driving on that final stretch of Highway 15 from Jackson to Hazard.  Now, I live in North Carolina and the stretch of road from Jenkins to Hazard is glorious.  When I get that first whiff of burning coal, I feel that I'm home.  It takes me back to my grandparents basement and watching my grandfather stoke the fire.  Sounds and sights and smells can conjure up memories that bring comfort and erase the years and each winter when I come home, the glorious smell of burning coal extends a welcome mat and envelops me in a warm eastern Kentucky embrace.  Renee Crawford Parris, Hillsborough, NC


At Christmas time each year, no matter where I am or what I might be doing a vision as clear as if were yesterday comes to my mind.  It is of me, six or seven years old coming out my Uncle Don's Restaurant [we called it "the drugstore"] headed for Newberry's and stopping at the Jaycees Dime Booth. My father was a Jaycee and worked the booth sometimes and I would try and help. I remember the booth seeming so tall to me and the wonderful music subsuming the entire scene. I have been away from Hazard a long time but this and other fond memories are ever with me. I am glad they don't fade away.  Joe R B Hacker II, Lexington, KY

The best and sweetest memory I have of Christmas was when my son went with his grandmother to see the nativity scene by the Baker Hill bridge. It was a cold and snowy night and the wind was blowing. When we got out of the car my son started to run toward the manger and then stopped. then moved closer and put his hand in the manger and touched the baby Jesus.  He looked up at his grandmother and said, he is cold. When we were leaving to go do some shopping he said we have to go back home. When we ask him why, he said I have to get my blanket. We went back for the blanket, went back down Baker Hill and he put this ragged blanket over the baby Jesus. He said now he won't be cold.  He never ask for this tattered blanket that he could not even take a nap without, after that night. My son was twenty-six months old at the time. And now forty-five years later he is still a kind and caring person.  anonymous

In 1969 I worked at ARH in Home Health with a lot of nice people, Ms. Basso, Mr. Broadhead, Ms. Akher, Mr. Roger, and so many more that I can't remember their names.  That Christmas was great.  We got gifts to every home that we visited that year.  It was so good to see the smiles on some of the kids that got clothes and toys.  That was 39 year ago and I can still remember that Christmas.  I will never forget.  My wife and I still help with gifts and food here in Indiana.  Just remember the reason for the season, Jesus our Lord.  May all you all in Hazard have a very Merry Christmas  Charles & Ladonie Harvey, Dunkirk, Indiana

In the late '50s, Dad -Charley Turner- would dress up in a Santa Claus suit and walk around Blue Diamond on First Creek and give out candy & toys to all the boys and girls that he knew would have a lean Christmas.  The men in the mines put up much of the money for the presents and the company store would donate some.  Of course the last stop was our house where he would give out presents and disappear into the back room and supposedly up the chimney.  Then dad would re-appear and say he just saw Santa leave.  One of the children later after studying things out said why, Santa Claus was daddy.  How do you know we would ask?  He had Daddy's shoes on.  Next year when Santa made his rounds in the coal camp, he had a brand new pair of black boots.  Ernest Turner, Booneville, KY

I just happened upon this website and realize that all of us around Perry County, up hollers, over the rivers and down the creeks have basically the same memories.  A lot of things I had forgotten; for instance, Santa reading letters over the radio and the gifts from Caney Creek, the lights and going to Woodland Park to see their beautiful decorations.  I was born on Acup Creek and grew up in the Bentown community.  As was the case with everyone else, we didn't have much but our Mommy always managed to get us some little something, how I don't know.  This Christmas, I was telling my grandchildren, as I do every year, about Mommy fixing us a "treat" in a brown paper poke and us kids hearing the noise when she got up in the early morning to line them up under the tree.  My youngest daughter, who is 24 asked, "Momma, what is a brown paper poke?"  I thought everybody knew what a poke was but I had to explain it to her!  My most poignant memory was in the early 60's when the mines were on strike and times were truly scary.  One of our neighbors, who had killed a hog, brought us a big ham and Mommy and Daddy really didn't how to react because our neighbor had several children and we knew he needed it more than we did. This man's name was Taylor Everidge, I don't know if he is still living but I hope some of his family reads this.  I am 60 and this Christmas is one I've never forgotten because of his generosity.  We sure did enjoy that ham!  Marselle Brashear Eversole, Oak Island, NC

My mother worked at Scott's 5 &10 cent store later to be T G & Y.  My dad drove the laundry truck for Hazard Laundry, they call him Smittie.  So many times I think about that Christmas booth and the music that was played. We left Hazard in 1962 and Christmas was never the same.  There is no place like Hazard, KY.  Sue Smith Blaine, Dry Ridge, KY 

My mother was a wonderful person, but not the greatest driver.  During one Christmas season in early 70's, she came around the corner by Watson's from the parking lot and clipped the little red Jaycee Booth.  Supposedly the two guys in the booth bailed out the window. Mother never noticed a thing!  One of the men walked in the store silently (probably in shock) carrying a piece of the booth.  My father, Vic Tedesco, just walked to the front of the store and said, "How much do I owe you?"  Suzanne Vittitow

I remember coming from Indiana to visit my grandparents every Christmas and my grandpa would have those little brown bags {pokes) sitting around the tree and all the grandkids got one because there was such a big family.  I remember hearing grandpa up early in the morning to tune in WKIC.  All the kids would lay in the floor on that big old feather mattress. We would go to town and you would see those green Christmas ropes stretched across the road with the lighted bell in the middle.  I loved those days gone by and miss them dearly and I miss my grandparents who passed sometime back.  I often wonder what would they think now.  My how times have changed but those good ole memories will always be in my heart and mind.  As you sit down Christmas day think about the days when things were much simpler and thank God for all that he has blessed you with.  Merry Christmas to everyone.  Bodie in Hazard, KY

I can remember when they hung lights across Main Street from building to building and they where so beautiful.  My Dad would take me and my brother to town in the night to see those lights it was so exciting and we loved it so much.  Funny how little things like that have changed so much.  Sherry Sizemore Smith, Airport Gardens, KY

I remember Christmas 1965 through 1969 in downtown Hazard, especially all the displays and songs in Newberry's.  The GREATEST place on earth!  It's still in my heart.  Walter Hignite, Nicholasville, KY

I remember when all of the Christmas lights went up at the Perry County Park and all of my family would go and see them.  I really enjoyed it and wish that they would put them up again!!  Brooklyn Gray, Knott County, KY

I remember my Christmas days in Blue Diamond Coal Camp in Tilford.  Special Christmas Hello & Wishes to Betty Jo Holcomb (Brummett).  We spent many holiday seasons & fun days together.  It was always exciting waiting for the camp "Santa" to visit each house and deliver "goodies" as a little girl.  My Perry County & Hazard memories will be cherished forever.  Wishing all in Perry County & Hazard , a very Merry Christmas & Happy Happy New Year.  Joyce Elaine Hubinsky (Peters)  Niles, Ohio

Dear WSGS, I just wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed your radio station playing nothing but Christmas tunes.  Our radio here at work is tuned in to your station allowing our employees to enjoy the beautiful sounds of Christmas.  It has definitely put us in a Christmas mood.  I hope this becomes a yearly tradition.  Have a very Merry Christmas and I hope your New Year is a happy and prosperous one.  Diana G. Colwell, Ky. River District Health Dept., Hazard, KY

I have enjoyed reading the comments.  I miss the Jaycees dime booth and the Christmas carols that came from there.  It was originally set up in front of the Grand Hotel.  After a year or two, the hotel management complained that it was disturbing the guests.  At that point, it was moved to the corner near Taxi Alley in front of Watson's.  People made a special effort to be close to the booth, to talk to the people who were passing by, and to receive the dimes and other change. Everyone knew it would be used in purchasing Christmas baskets, toys for the children who might not have any thing else, and also treats for them. Gosh, we have bell-ringers for the salvation army now but it doesn't seem the same. I know that the Salvation Army does do a good job, but the carols and all just seemed so much like Christmas time to me.  Also, do you remember the manger scene?  It was several different places.  The last I remember was at the foot of Baker Hill.  One year the cow was stolen.  It soon reappeared.  Another time the manger scene was on the roof on top of Memorial Gym!  Now, because of fear from those who do not believe, it is not displayed.  Our children and grandchildren and all people for that matter need to know "this is the reason for the Season."  Elizabeth S. Duncan. Hazard, KY

I remember Christmas in Kenmont, growing up and being with my Mom and Dad and family.  My sisters Jean, Pauline, JoAnn, and my brother Rex and I were so happy.  My Mom and Dad did not have much but they filled our home with love and happiness and the belief in the Lord.  One of my very favorite gifts I ever received was a little doll in a suitcase that came with some dress up clothes.  We always got fruits and nuts in our stockings and my mom always made the best Christmas dinner ever.  My brother Rex and my Dad, Matt Caudill, would always go and find the perfect tree to cut down and bring home.  Those were wonderful times and I miss my family and  all of the close times we shared.  To all my friends and family in Kenmont and Jeff may this be your most wonderful Christmas and New Year's ever.  Phyllis Milligan nee Caudill

Merry Christmas to all my family and friends still in Hazard and in the Blue Grass State!!  Joe Noplis, Tampa, FL

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Neace's house to yours.  Faye Neace, Hazard, KY

I remember going downtown with my Mom, sister-in-law and niece and nephews.  We would listen to the Christmas music playing at the little booth in front of Watson's.  We would go to TG & Y and Newberry's and shop.  After a little while, Mom would say, "well, I bet Santa has been there by now."  So we would load up and go home and sure enough Santa had been there while we were out shopping.  I know that was some of the most innocent and fun memory's I can remember having.  Everything changes from year to year, but I always remember our special trips to town.  I hope everyone remembers to make memories with their loved ones this season, and all year long.  Merry Christmas.  Mollie Greenlee, Hazard, KY

As a child I always looked forward to watching my grandparents (Ray and Lula Gibson) arrange all the "Christmas Goodies" for all the family.  It was a family tradition for as long as I could remember.  Every year they would go to a grocery Store in Vicco called Davidson's Grocery and order all the candies, fruits and nuts to put into the bags.  They had a certain way they would set all the bags in a line and give each and every person the same thing.  They never gave money or went out shopping for individual items.  I just loved it.  That's the fondest memory I have of Christmas.  I was raised by my grandparents.  I saw that every year until I was 17.  That was when  mommy (my grandmother) passed away.  Lula Gibson, Vicco, KY

Christmas has never been the same.  You grow older, special people leave this life, times change.  But, I can sit in the silence, close my eyes, and see & hear Main Street - the Jaycee booth, the lights, the Christmas music.  Also the warmth of my Grandmother's home.  The endless amounts of food.  The warmth of family.  I miss those days and have for over 30 years.  All of my family are gone from Perry County, the end of an era so to speak.  But those memories will be be with me forever.  Anonymous in N.E. Ohio

The event that stands out most in my mind from growing up in Hazard is going to Midnight Mass at the Mother of Good Counsel Catholic Church.  We would walk through the snow at Christmas time to get there.  Also, we would usually go to Vicco to see my Grand Uncle and the cousins and watch a movie at their theater (the Pastime Theater) and sometimes have Christmas dinner with them.  It was a busy time and a GOOD time!  My family ran Reda's Grocery at 375 East Main Street, so we could see all the activity on Main Street from the store windows not only at Christmas but all year long!!  Billie Reda Sowers, Dayton, OH

My most favorite Christmas was the year mom covered a fruit basket with fabric and placed a baby doll inside.  It will always be a special memory because mom took the time to make my doll a special bed.  Another favorite memory was when mom would read to us from the Christmas book, "The Shinnest Star".  In this book there was little, scruffy angel named Towsel Head who was always made fun of by the other angels.  But one year, Towsel Head was given the honor of polishing the star that would hang over the manger and that year the star shone brighter than ever and finally Towsel Head was no longer made fun of by other angels.  Mom passed that book on to me several years ago and though it is old and worn, I can almost hear her reading to us once again on a snowy Christmas Eve!  Linda in Vicco, KY

My most memorable Christmas was getting to go to grandmas house, Drucill Eversole on Big Creek.  We were all together and happy. We lived in Ohio but dad always came to Kentucky for Christmas. Miss it.  Kay Hill, Jeff, KY

I remember when I was a little girl and me and my dad opened our presents and I got a Holly Hobby doll and I always will love and remember that doll.  Cassidy in Hazard, KY

My best memories of Christmas are the times when we would drive from Dayton, Ohio to visit my Grandparents (Marcus and Lucinda Smith of Lothair).  The house was always warm and smelled of my grandmother's baking and the best food ever.  Her Christmas tree was always so beautiful and most interesting to me were the "bubble" lights.  I always put a strand of bubble lights on my tree because it brings back all the warm memories of those Christmases with my Grandparents in Hazard/Lothair, one of the best places ever!  Ronda Ghosh, Rochester, New York

I remember my Christmas days in the Blue Diamond Coal Camp at Leatherwood.  I went to school at Livingston Elementary.  I remember going to the movies and the Y, and walking past the long stretch of railroad cars on the way home.  One of my best memories was the nativity scene that was placed in the center of the camp.  I wish everyone a blessed Christmas, and a Happy New Year.  Betty Jo Halcomb  (Brummett) Leatherwood, KY

The Christmas that I remember the most is when I lived in Lothair and the coal miners got gift and treat bags for their kids and something to make for dinner.  We always had enough to eat and the best was we had the love in our family to make up for what we didn't have.  We couldn't wait until Christmas morning to see what we got. We didn't have much but we had a lot of love in our family.  Carol in Perry County

I remember Bill Douglas dressing up as Santa.  Mama told me I was afraid of him when I was real young.  I remember the Christmas story book I bought at the five and dime in 1958.  Still have it.  My mom had a beautiful handwriting and she put my name and the date in the book. I miss my Christmas' there in Hazard. I still have the jewelry box and stuffed dog my papa Johnson gave me the last Christmas we had together in 1964.  And the sugar cookies my mom used to make, eating peppermint candy with her dad, gingerbread stack cake with applesauce between the layers, the little parties at lower and upper Broadway, opening Christmas presents with the family, being too excited to sleep on Christmas Eve.  I recall the Jaycees booth, I put money there myself as a child. I remember the Christmas cookies my mom made.  What memories.   Carol Collette, Cleveland, TN

When I was a little girl about 12 years of age, me and my mom were setting up the tree for Christmas and there was a knock at the door.  It was a cab driver who had a bunch of presents and he was told to bring them to me.  WOW!  All for me.  I didn't know what to think or do.  I asked the cab driver who it was from because there was no name tag on them.  He said, 'all I know is Santa said to get them here to you.'  My mom called the cab company, Miller Cab I believe.. and asked if they knew who the presents were from.  She was told that all they knew was that someone had told them to take it to this address and give it to Vickie.  Anyway, I opened the boxes on Christmas day and it was from a store downtown I believe CATO..could be wrong, but I got a coat, gloves, scarf, sweater, jeans and a nice necklace.  And still to this day I tell that story every year to my kids, that even if Santa gets busy..there is a cab driver out there waiting to help.  Merry Christmas to every one back home.  Vickie (Baker) Sargent, Parkersburg, WV

I wish everyone in the universe a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year from Big Branch, Viper, Kentucky where I spent all of my childhood Christmas' to Middletown, Ohio where I've spent my last 10 Christmas' with my wife and son!  O what a joy it is.  Christ is born to save the world.  Happy Birthday Jesus Christ.  Timothy Paul Saxton, Middletown, Ohio

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from a Leatherwood Wildcat in Japan.  Herbert Elam, Yokosuka, Japan

I love Christmas time, when all my family can get together.  God bless everyone.  Jesus is the reason for the season. Mary Ann L. Smith, Hazard, KY

Reading these special memories brought back one favorite.  It was the Christmas Eve of 1954.  It is so very true that most of us in Hardburly and Fourseam didn't have very much in monetary things.  But oh the fun that we had.  Kids miss out on a lot today.  Oh, back to Christmas Eve of 1954.  That was the day my baby sister was born.  This year she will be 51 and she is still as sweet today as she was that first days I saw her.  I too, still think of the times that Santa Claus would come in the back of a coal truck bringing those brown goodies.  What a delight it was!  Merry Christmas to all in the Hazard area and please remember that this Holiday it is about the Jesus that loves all of us.  Also, don't forget our soldiers that fight for us now and those that have giving their lives for this great country.  Linda Little Leach, Orlando, Florida

Hello Hazard, Kentucky family and friends.  I recall the best Christmas I ever had when I was about 8 years of age.  I wanted and needed a new coat so badly and I remember going to TG&Y in town and I saw the very coat I wanted.  I tried it on and it fit perfectly and it was so cute.  Mom came over to where I was and looked at me as she saw the price tag on the coat.  She told me she didn't have enough money to pay for the coat.  I was so heart broken and put the coat back on the hanger.  As I did, there was another little girl that then tried it on and her mom bought it for her.  The girl looked at me as if to say 'ha ha I got the coat.'  Then on Christmas morning we opened gifts and guess what?  There was the coat, so beautifully wrapped in the package.  Mom had snuck and bought it for me when I wasn't watching.  I was so thrilled and I still to this day will always remember my new coat.  Merry Christmas Everyone and God Bless you!  Thelma  (Jones) Emery, Huron, Ohio

I remember all the good things about growing up in Glomawr.  We didn't have a lot but my mom always provided us with a present; some candy and a fruit bag.  We had 9 kids and I know it was tough.  I don't remember ever being mad about what I got.  I appreciated everything I got, unlike the children now.  Oof course we didn't get $250 games and other things as such.  I lost my mom this year in March and God knows I miss her every day.  I love you mom.  Linda Dalton Thornton, Houston, TX

I was raised in Chavies and could not think of a better place to live than in the hills of eastern Kentucky.  My favorite memory of Christmas was getting to go to Hazard and hear the Christmas music playing on Main Street and just walking through the T G & Y looking at all the different things, knowing we could not afford them.  We always looked forward to the snow, the time out of school, which I still look forward to, and sledding with other kids in the neighborhood.  We did not have store bought sleds.  We used anything from an old car hood to hand made sled that we managed to put together.  This don't sound like much now, but it sure was great then.  I also enjoyed the Christmas play at Red Hill Baptist Church, and playing the part of one of the wise men.  I believe one the greatest gifts, other than His only begotten Son, that God has given us, is our memories. Claude R. Miller, Chavies, KY

I ALWAYS loved main street at Christmas, but what I remember most is that every Christmas a group of young men (they all know who they are) always tried to kidnap the cow from the manger scene.  Some of them are no longer with us but every year the plan was always discussed with great care as to how they could achieve this without getting caught.  I'm still trying to figure this one out and I have been married to one them for 36 years.  He still loves to pull stunts like that so I have to keep a close eye on him or he'd be over there trying it still.  Donna in Prestonsburg

I remember great Christmas's...we had Coca Cola Santa's all over the place and my father would put red foil on the door then hang a wreath and shine a light on it that he placed in the yard.  Our tree was always fresh pine and made the house smell so good.  On Christmas Eve we'd drive around the town to look at the rich people's decorations then we'd come back and dad would read 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas,' and we'd watch A Charlie Brown Christmas while mom was making fudge.  After she was done, us girls would scrape the fudge from the pot with our spoons.  We then had to go remove the last starlite mint from our count down to Christmas banner that mom had made for both of us.  Then we'd go off to bed and try to get to sleep.  The next morning we'd get up and see the tree lights sparkling and glistening in dark, reflecting off the mirror and TV and we'd see gifts our parents bought us, and unwrapped gifts under the tree that Santa had brought, and our handmade red, green and white knitted stockings that mom made us were stuffed with little wrapped presents and apples and oranges.  We'd see that the plate of fudge and glass of milk was gone, then we'd see a note that Santa had left, thanking us for his treat, and telling us to be good, and mind our parents.  Cynthia Long-Clarke, Indiana (But I want to be in Hazard, Ky!)

My favorite memory of Christmas in Vicco, KY was Christmas Eve.  My Dad, little sister and I would go 'Santa Clause hunting' in Woodland Park and look at the beautiful lights and wreaths on the doors.  After I got older we still went for my sister and I remember Dad holding jingle bells out the car window and ringing them to make her think it was Santa's' sleigh.  After we got home, surprise!, Santa had already come and gone so keeping with family tradition we opened our gifts on Christmas Eve.  One year, when my Grandparents were visiting from Missouri, my Uncle had caught Santa (my Grandpa Bob) and had him tied up so we could meet him when we got home.  That was the best. This is my favorite memory of Christmas growing up.  My favorite recent memory is of my Grandma Daskum.  She always did a little dance for us when we got to her house to open presents.  This year, 2005, will be our first Christmas without her, but thankfully she will dance in our hearts forever thanks to the magic of my Aunts' camcorder.  It will not be the same but we know she will be there with us in spirit.  We love and miss you Grandma!  Angela in Louisville, KY

I remember Christmas many years ago as a child.  We were poor but we had lots of love and lots to eat on Christmas.  We hung our stockings and got our fruit and candy, but never any toys.  We just could not afford them.  I now have kids and grandchildren and I still stuff my girls stockings even with them grown.  The most special Christmas gift is finding things in their stockings.  We always helped mom make fudge at Christmas or went with dad to get the tree and bring it home.  Oh, the memories.  Some good and some bad, but mostly good.  Making the ornaments for the tree.  Popcorn strings and paper that we had colored and made into ornaments.  There were 8 of us kids and we all did our part.  Mom would cook the best dinner ever and we could have all the desert, candy and fruit that we wanted.  I don't think we ever got too full to eat it. Christine in Indiana

I was reading all the Christmas memories.  I remember as a child - Christmas with mom and dad - we had hard time but they always managed to get us a toy each and peppermint candy sticks and mixed candies and a filled stocking by the fire.  How thrilled we were because it was from mom and dad.  They taught us the meaning of Christmas.  The memories are great and will remain with me for a life time.  Thanks for everyone's memories.  Wilma Baird, Strunk KY (McCreary County)

Does anyone remember watching the TV and seeing the radar, and hearing the weather man say how close Santa was to Hazard and getting so excited that you couldn't go to sleep? Angie in Hazard, KY

My favorite Christmas memories is spending time with friends and family. Scott Napier, Crittenden KY

I have sat in front of this computer screen a lot in the last month or so and wondered how an unemployed pregnant lady like me was gonna be able to afford nice gifts for my family.  However as Christmas gets closer, I realize the one thing that will make me happiest this holiday season.  This will be the first Christmas my husband and I get to share together.  When we talk about Christmas or hang decorations, I know it does not matter to him whether or not he gets a gift.  The only thing that matters to my husband is that we are together, we are safe and healthy, and we are happy this Christmas.  Happiness, believe it or not, does not come from Wal-mart.  It cannot be wrapped or opened.  Happiness comes from your heart and from being with the people you love most in the world.  That is what I look forward to this Christmas.  That will be the Christmas memory that is cherished the most in my life. Kay in Hazard, KY

I have such fond memories of Christmas.  About 3 '0 clock in the morning, our mother Maggie would wake us up and say it is time to go caroling.  We would go across the branch to Jean Ritchie's house and make our way stopping at every house from Slabtown to Viper where the post office and general stores were.  The custom was - each mother or other member of the family would light a candle to let us know we were heard and appreciated.  Thanks to the Ritchie family, Jean, Edna, Kitty, Mallie and many more for making this such a fond place in my heart.  Aunt Abbie and my mother (Maggie) were half sisters.  Virginia (Brashear ) Budacki, Viper KY

I remember the Christmas Carolers coming from Hull Memorial Church from behind M.C. Napier and singing Christmas Carols at my grandparents house (The late Everett and Delsina Boleyn).  They always were
there year after year and I would watch as a young boy and always cherished it. My mom would fix refreshments and they would come in for a few minutes to say hi and warm up.  My mom and grandparents always gave us grandkids a wonderful Christmas."  Thanks Hull Memorial Church.  Danny Embry, Burnside, KY

I can remember the Christmas that I was in the third grade at Vicco Grade School.  I had Goldie Bell as my teacher.  It was the day before our Christmas party and I had asked for a big coloring book and the jumbo crayons, this was the only two things on my Christmas list.  Well I was getting ready to take a bath in the wash tub so I had to heat my water on the heater.  I started to take the water off and my arms gave way and I was burned very badly.  My hands received the worst of it.  Well I didn't get to go to the Christmas party but Mom and Dad let me have Christmas early.  I got my 300 page coloring book and a box of jumbo colors.  I couldn't use them right away but My family helped me to color all day Christmas.  Christmas was from the heart then not commercial.  Happy Birthday Jesus!  Deborah Allmond Burns, Anderson, Indiana 

Everyone has a favorite memory of Christmas.  Mine would have to be the early '50's.  At the time we lived in a coal mining camp at Fourseam, Ky.  If you are from a coal camp you know there were no wealthy kids, we were all poor financially.  We all were friends and all knew each other.  Christmas to camp kids was at most a cap pistol for the boys and a doll or tea set for the girls, a great treat was the brown bag of goodies, fruit and candy, from the company store.  We all believed in Santa Clause, we wrote letters to him and listened to the radio for him to read them.  Now to my greatest Christmas memory.  Our Christmas tree was the top of a pine or hemlock tree, cut from the mountains in Fourseam.  One year my daddy took me to help cut the tree.  After we had the tree and headed home he spotted a big tree full of mistletoe.  What a prize!  After stripping off all his winter clothes but his 'long handles' he very laboriously climbed the tree, knocking a plentiful supply of mistletoe from the tree.  Suddenly I heard him say, ' Bobby, listen carefully now.  I want to tell you how to get home from here, I am too tired to get down.' I can remember saying, 'Daddy I'll just wait here till you rest and help you down.'  Sure enough, after a long rest he shimmied down that tree, I still remember that ' rear flap' on his long handles just a flapping as he slid down that tree!  You know I think I can hear him laughing from HEAVEN as I recall this memory.  Wishing all my family and friends from HAZARD a very Merry Christmas.  Bobby Hurt, Birmingham, Al

I remember how I would wait for the family traditions that my Grandma (Mallie Farler) would share with me when I was a young girl.  Then as time passed, she was gone out of my life.  I grew up, married and had daughters of my own.  My family happened to be in Kentucky, on Maces Creek, for the best old fashion Christmas ever.  All of my cousins had gathered at Aunt Bessie's store.  Just having the warm cheerful atmosphere made for a delightful old fashion Christmas.  Aunt Bessie was in the house with us women, making monkey balls, when little Jason came running by and knocked the syrup off the stove.  Needless to say, no tempers flared and we all worked in laughter cleaning up the sticky mess.  Where have all our good times gone?  If only we could turn back the hands of time.  I look back to that precious moment in my life with cheer and heart felt memories..........smiles :).  Pam Harris (Kilburn),  Taylor, Michigan

This website brings back some very great memories for me and my parents.  Julius Roberts, Jr., Dayton, Ohio

Christmas in the hills of Southeastern Kentucky were ones of unforgettable memories.  The boys going to the hills and cutting down a Christmas tree, hoping it was the one that Mom wanted.  The married children coming in for the Holidays.  A time of families being together having fun.  Little children trying to stay awake for Santa and Mom and Dad hiding gifts until time for him to come.  We need love and family unity again.  We need the joy that the Christ Child brought us. Give someone a smile or a hug for Christmas. This is the best gift you can give. Happy Holidays.  Debbie in Anderson, Indiana

Having been raised along with 12 siblings, Christmas was always a special day for us.  Our Christmas was made great for us all by a very loving, wonderful Mother and a special man named Bill Stewart.  He was our Santa Claus.  

I thank every day for his life he gave for us and how people don't really think of the real reason of Christmas.  I am the proud mother of two beautiful kids, a son, William, who is 25.  He has the most beautiful kids.  Also my very special daughter named Amy.  She is 21.  She was born with Cerebral Palsy and has been in a wheelchair all her life.  Her smile when she awakes every moring is the best Christmas present I could ever get.  Her and William are my life plus a bonus.  William gave me two beautiful grandchildren, Keyana, who is 6, and Skyler, who is 4.  So for me, Christmas is about being a Mom and a Nanny.  I am so thankful for each and everything in life.  Ruth Williams, Fisty, KY

After reading all these memories from people who grew up just like me and had so little in the form of worldly goods, I have the warmest of feeling for all of the fine people from Hazard, may all of us be able to have just one more Christmas like our favorite one.... Merry Christmas to all of you.....Some how help children of today learn respect and feel the love we took for granted back then.  Rest in peace Mom and Dad, Garland, Sue and my sweet Danny. Betty Hewitt, Gainesville, Florida

I could sit and read these Christmas memories for hours on end.  Times may have changed, but the feelings are still the same.  May each and all have a most Blessed and Wonderful Christmas Season.  Merry Christmas, Gonzo. Anonymous, Hazard, KY

Everyone has his or her idea of what a perfect Christmas should be, I am no different.  With life pulling you in 10,000 directions and all the distractions that go with living life, we all need to slow down and enjoy life more.  My parents are both from Hazard. Then just as now, there were not a lot of places to work that would provide a good living for a new and starting family.  So my dad, just like thousands of others, left the mountains he called home.  He left in search of opportunity to provide for his family.  Something he did not want to do, but something he had to do.  My earliest memories of Hazard involve Christmas.  We would make the drive down that seemed to a young boy to take days. In reality the trip was only several hours.  The arrival was a big event.  My grandma would always meet us at the door and give me a big hug, and tell me what a big boy I was getting to be.  My grandma was a big woman. I am guessing about 5 feet 9 inches tall.  To a smaller boy she seemed like a giant. As I remember, she had big features, a big strong wide back and very large hands.  I remember watching her use her large hands to mix up the biscuit dough in a large bowl at her kitchen table.  Getting a hug from her was like getting swallowed up by one of the feather beds she had in the house.  I never really thought about her not having indoor plumbing or a furnace to keep warm. The bathroom was the outhouse, and the furnace was a coal stove in the living room.  I sure was glad to be under those 6 or 7 blankets when the fire went out at night.  My grandma never would let us kids get up out of bed until she had a fire going and the house was starting to get warm.  Christmas eve was the same every year.  We would sit around and talk or do whatever came to mind.  There were always bags of apples, oranges, and walnuts to crack open with the poker from the coal stove.  If we were really lucky they had some hard Christmas candy, the kind that came in the Gray Seal paint cans.  When the time was right they would hurry us children off to bed and tell us we had to go to sleep so that Santa Claus would come.  My grandpa would laugh and tell us kids he was going to wait up with his shotgun and shoot Santa when he flew over.  His did this all the time and my grandma would tell him to stop it and assure us children that he wasn't going to shoot anybody.  We all knew he was just having fun with us.  I can still remember sitting on the floor next to the coal stove opening  presents and being excited about whatever it was that I got that year.  What a wonderful simple time it was. It was more about being there in that four-room house, being with family and being together.  It wasn't that I didn't get this or that, it was being glad and oh so thankful for the few Hot Wheels cars and GI Joe men that I had gotten and wanted.  Today, as you rush around looking for the latest 'Hot' Christmas item, remember how much fun you had sitting by your grandma's coal stove.  Sitting there eating those apples and oranges and wondering what Santa was going to bring you.  Remember this is a time of year that should bring families together and be more about family, than not be able to find the latest and most popular Play Station 2 game.  I have lived in the city all my life. All in all not a bad experience, but it can't compare to a place I know where life seemed simple to this city boy.  A place filled with family, good food, and wonderful memories.  A place where I remember the best times I've ever had at Christmas.  This place is called Hazard.  Merry Christmas Grandma and Grandpa down at the Riverside Cemetery.  Grandma, I sure do miss your big hugs and homemade biscuits.  Merry Christmas Hazard, I wish I were there.  RC in Northern Kentucky

Remembering Christmas in 'Busy' (Big Willard) is such 'Sweet-Sorrow'.  So many of those who played such a part in making Christmas time so special for a little 'Toe-Headed' boy, are now forever gone.  I know it has been said, 'you can't go back home',  but that doesn't keep us from trying.  Some of the dearest and sweetest memories of my childhood (indeed,  my life) are woven around those 'days of Christmas'.  The trips with my brother and sister to the old  Post Office on the hill above Tess Gibson's store, to see if the package from our aunt in Indianapolis had arrived (this was the only toys we ever got....God rest her soul).  Sitting glued to the old radio,  listening to WKIC, as they tried to contact Santa to monitor his movement from the North Pole in the direction of Perry County and surrounding area.  There was a lot of static and the signal faded in and out a lot....something you expect to happen when you're trying to contact a speeding sleigh,  somewhere up near the North Pole..... I was patient.  Eventually, they got through, although sometimes it took several days, and we were assured that he was right on schedule for that Christmas day.  The excitement...the love that people seemed to have for each other around this time of year.... the friendliness....We were all transformed by the marvelous 'Spirit Of Christmas".  Although we were 'dirt poor'  we were rich in so many ways.  And never too poor but that there was 'something'  in the dirty old stocking which I hung by the hearth on Christmas Eve night, and lay in bed watching the chimney and stocking until I drifted off to dreamland snuggled down between two featherbeds, feeling so secure and contented.  The laughter, the hugs, the kisses, the smiles, during those 'days of Christmas'.....was the closest thing to heaven I can think of.  The Grinch, with all his trying, was never able to 'Steal  Christmas'  in that old house on the hill up Big Willard hollar....(or anywhere within a hundred miles of it).  This was in the '40's and '50's.....but those wonderful memories have not diminished in the slightest.  I am now 60 years old, but I haven't  outgrown the thrill of Christmas.  God bless, and the 'Merriest of all Christmases' to each and every one.  Ken Barnett, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

I love Christmas and I want everyone to remember the reason for the season, our precious Lord's birth.  Merry Christmas to everyone who reads this.  Jen in Hazard KY

I remember when I was growing up in Viper,Ky.  We lived at that time beside the Cavery Church by the side of the road in Viper.  My parents were poor.  My father was a coal miner.  What I remember most was on Christmas Eve there was a knock on the door.  When I opened it as a small girl, there stood Santa Clause.  He gave me a doll and a bag of Christmas candy.  He gave my two brothers a wagon and a tricycle.  I will never forget that Christmas Eve.  I still have some Christmas ornaments that I hang on my tree every year that belong to my mother.  I still miss all my friends that I grew up with.  I will always remember them.  Merry Christmas to all my friends from Viper and the surrounding area.  Norma Jean Roberts, Radcliff, KY

One of my sweetest memories just happened the other day when my mom and son marched high up in the hills, in search for that perfect, little, Charlie Brown tree for my son's room.  This is now a tradition for both of them and I will always remember that and maybe someday do this with my own grandchildren.  Thanks mom.  Melissa Miller, Bulan, KY


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This is my little boy, Dylan and his dog, Angel. They make a cute couple.  Submitted by Melissa Miller


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Again, my little one, Dylan, who's quiet a bit older now

                                   

I have many wonderful memories of Christmas time.  It has always been my favorite time of year.  Growing up in the fifties and sixties I have a lot of memories to draw from.  I still collect the old ornaments, they bring back memories for me.  There was just a special feeling in the air.  I thank my mom for always making Christmas a special time.  Jen in Hazard, KY

After reading the comments regarding 'Christmas' in Hazard, I wanted to say that the memories of growing up in Lothair are very dear to me.  I do remember the First Baptist Church plays at Christmas.  We had Preacher Gabbard at that time.  The church was up on the hill there beside the curve, across the service station.  I do believe that most of the time we also had snow.  After the Christmas play, we all would get a 'Treat' bag full of goodies.  That was priceless to all of us.  My Dad was a coal-miner at Black Gold, and we did have some tough times, but we always had food, clothes and a warm place to live.  Can remember the kids who lived close by, Emily Jane Franks, Luther Whitaker. Jimmy and Donnie Sinor,Wanda Faye Polly.  The Tackett girls, Shelby Jean Marlowe, Donald and Sue Chapman, and I could go on with more.  But we all were raised in good families and our Dad's worked very hard for their family.  If we all could go back again, I wonder what everyone would say about the long gone 'Christmas's' in Hazard. Bet it would be  a great ole time to see everyone from the past.  Shirlrey Riddle, Peoria, Arizona

Ida: Hi, my good friend.  I just read your comments on this page.  Love you and wish you the happiest and biggest Christmas ever.    You're always on my mind.  Have a good one.  I love you so much.  We really did enjoy our young days at Christmas time.  We also had a hard time then, my Dad was crippled for life and my Mom sewed to help get food.  Back then she charged $1.00 to make a dress and cuffed men's pants for 25 cents. She was an excellent seamstress. June Patterson, Hazard, KY

I remember when I was growing up in Lothair, there was a big Christmas tree in the power company lot with all the decorations and the memories of Christmas. There was always excitement in the air & I really looked forward to this time of the year. There was always big brown bags under the tree. After awhile, Santa Claus would show up to distribute the bags which had all kinds of fruit and a gift of some kind. I really had a good time growing up in Lothair. I will never forget those days 'till the end of my time. I really miss those times and I am sure that the ones that I grew up with will feel the same way. Bill Ferguson, Ohio and Florida

As I read the memories, tears come to my eyes. I remember a doll and brown paper bag of candy and fruit. The love we had from mom and my grandmother and the memories of Mud Lick Holler can never be taken away. The feather beds and warm quilts and all us kids in bed with our grandma, keeping warm because the fire in the fire place would always burn out before morning. Wish I could go back for a little while and be poor again and feel the love I felt then. Wilma Feltner Mattox, Homosassa,  Florida

I remember the red Christmas booth that Carol Collette mentioned. It always sat in front of Watsons.  I loved to give change there.  I loved to hear the Christmas Carols they played.  What wonderful memories.......Christmas is so different now. Teddy Hardigree, Harrison, Ohio

I was born in Hyden, Ky and  we grew up very poor with hardly anything. My parents were disabled and couldn't work so we had to live on welfare. I recall how my blessed mother and dad would go to town and they would buy me a doll and a coloring book and maybe some other little thing but I thought there were rich for this. Mother would always kill chicken and bake a cake, then we would sit around the fireside and daddy would play his banjo. I remember one Christmas - my mother and daddy didn't have any money and there use to be a junk yard - what they called it - across the river from us. My mother would go there and get the things that the town's people would throw away, that they no longer wanted. One Christmas, I remember she found some little dishes and a train set that actually blew smoke and she would find us clothes and shoes that no one wanted. This Christmas - we were really happy to get this stuff because she cleaned it up and gave it to us. She always hung us a little stocking by the chimney and we always had an apple, orange, nuts and a little brown sack of candy in it, plus a tiny little toy in the top of the stocking. We couldn't wait until Christmas morning to see what Santa brought us. We had one thing though that more people need today and that is the love of God. She taught us what Christmas really meant and that it wasn't just getting a toy but that it was the birth of Christ. I miss those days. My parents have gone on to be with the Lord and have been for 40 some years but there's never a Christmas that goes by that I don't stop and say I love you to them in my heart. God Bless you all. Edna Faye Smith, Riverside, Ohio

I remember going to Hazard on a Grey Hound bus. I did not really get to see town, I was only 5 at the time. We went to my grandfather's on Second Creek and went to visit my aunt over on Willard. My aunt and uncle had 11 kids, some of which had chicken pox's. I remember the ride back to Newport, I started to scratch. Oh  no, I too had gotten the chicken pox's. But I still love going to Hazard. I love all the season's in Hazard. Some day I hope to live there. Dee Kaye, Newport, Ky, (never far from Hazard)

Growing up in coal camps (Harveyton & Leatherwood) was 'SPECIAL', although I was an adult before I realized it. I don't remember expecting much as a child for Christmas in the line of toys or gifts. The memories that are the dearest to me are the 'Treat Bags' the the union gave out.  Each child in the family received fruit, nuts, and candy. I always loved the Christmas plays we had at schools. Now that was Christmas to me. Faye Pratt, Hazard, Ky

My favorite Christmas memories is when my sister Elizabeth & I would go into the woods to find the perfect cedar tree to cut down, drag home and decorate.  We walked many a mile to find just the right one.  If we couldn't find one on our land, then we would con some of the neighbors into letting us cut one from their property.  It had to be a cedar, nothing else would do. The other favorite Christmas memory is when I opened my packages on Christmas morning just after I started going to school and lo and behold, there was the little plaid raincoat, rain hat and umbrella all to match.  I just thought they were the prettiest gifts I ever saw.  MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL. Frankie L. Roberts, Dayton, Ohio

Will always remember getting an apple-orange & a small bag of marbles at the Cornett Hill school while living in Gregory Branch. Merry Christmas to ALL. Bobby Mills, Paris Tennessee

My favorite Christmas memory is when I found out there was not a Santa Claus. In the past I had wondered why Santa brought some people more than others. Some people did not get much at all and they were just as good or better than the ones who got a lot.  It was such a relief for me to know that Santa was my Mother and Daddy and that they got me what they could afford.  I never did really like the Santa Claus myth. It is too hard on poor kids and their parents.  I would rather celebrate Christmas knowing that it is Jesus' birthday and that he does not make any difference between the rich and the poor in his gift of salvation to us. Another favorite memory is the Christmas programs we had at the Lothair Baptist Church. I feel right sorry for children today who are bombarded with commercialism.  Life was simple then in the 40's and 50's. I can't go back, but I thank God for the wonderful memories I have of growing up in Lothair. Carlene Shackelford, Hazard, KY

My most memorable Christmas when I was five or six waking up to find what Santa had left me. It was something I did not want and like most kids that age I was brokenhearted crying to no end, I can't even remember what it was. So my older sister, Jean, feeling sorry for me, traded me what she had gotten, a Purple Teddy Bear that seemed to ease the hurt. I slept with that bear until most of the purple fuzz wore off of it and its eyes having to be sewn back on and several stitches to hold in the stuffing. My sister passed away in 1995 and there hasn't been a Christmas since that I don't think about how an old Purple Teddy Bear and a loving sister could make a Christmas which could have been my worst, make such memories. I'm now 46 years old and I still have the Bear. Gordon, Combs, KY

 
Just wanted to let you know that I have taken my daily walk around Hazard through your efforts and excellent Web site. Celebrating Christmas, Hazard Style, is etched deep within my heart.  I can hear the music from the Jaycee's booth, I can feel the snowflakes as I turned my nose upward, I can still look in the old store windows around town, I can still see many smiling faces and feel the heartfelt handshakes from many people who are long gone.  My memories are many and could feel more than a page, but just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the opportunity to take a daily walk through the seasons around my hometown.  Be Blessed this Holiday Season.  Ida Lee Hansel

My favorite Christmas memory was the year I received a (fake) alligator skin covered record player.  The year was 1966 and I was 6 years old.  It was a complete and total surprise to me and confirmed my belief in Santa Claus. Yeats, Hazard, KY

My mom's family are all from Hazard. I always looked forward to going to the 'holler' on weekends and Christmas - it was like a magical place for me and my brother and sister. Nothing bad could happen, it was an awesome feeling that's still alive in me at the age of 35. Mom used to put the fruit and nuts in our stockings and although we didn't have a whole lot, she worked hard for what we did get and we knew it. We never took her for granted and never talked back. Every Christmas I think back to my childhood: the snow, if we got it ... hoping for a white Christmas ... so excited we could hardly sleep but afraid not to ... when we came in at any hour from out of town seeing my mamaw standing and cooking a meal fit for a king ... papaw poking the fire in the old coal stove so the youngins wouldn't be cold and bedding us down with mamaw's quilts, so many you could barely breath. I wish I could go back to those days if just for a day. I miss them both so much. I have 4 children now - we live in Florida and they love and respect the 'holler' as we did and do. There truly is no place like home. Trisha Payne-Farr, Tampa, Florida

Reading these Christmas memories brings tears to my eyes and memories stored deep in my heart to mind. About 45 years ago my brother arrived home from college the day before Christmas. He hadn't done any shopping and needed to buy presents for everyone and asked if I would like to go to town with him to shop. Delighted, I went and it was late in the afternoon. We hurriedly went in and out of several stores and I remember him asking my opinion about what to buy and I was so flattered that he wanted to know what I thought, since I admired him so. We came out of Dawahare's when it was just getting dark and it had started snowing hard. I heard Christmas music playing up the street and all the Christmas lights were on. We were laughing, our arms full of presents. For a moment, time froze and I looked up into the sky at the falling snowflakes, the cold air blowing against my cheeks, carols playing in the background and my heart sealed the memory. He said we'd better hurry home and get some of the hot, spiced tea Mama had on the stove and warm up. When we drove up to the house, the Christmas tree lights were on and the ground was now covered with snow. A white Christmas. The night went on with laughter, spiced tea, cookies and talk about what Santa was bringing. Christmas morning, still cold and white, came with joy that Santa had surely come and left something special for everyone. The house smelled of oranges and tangerines. Big red apples, nuts and candy filled the tables by the tree. Santa had left a monopoly game and my brother, sisters and I played monopoly in our pajamas all day. My brother won every game and teasingly kept saying, as he bought up everything and tucked his money away, "I'm just a poor ole school teacher trying to make a living." I still laugh about that today. I live in Florida now and miss the cold and snow at Christmas. But, my brother lives here too and Christmas Eve he and his wife are coming for dinner. I'll have spiced tea hot on the stove and after dinner, I'm going to beat him at a game of monopoly. Shawnee Averitt, Naples, Fl.

After reading everyone's comments, I also realized that you don't seem to see as many happy and relaxed faces enjoying the Christmas season as you once did. I, too miss the Main Street Christmas environment. I remember when real live greenery hung over the streets with the lights, the Jaycees Dime Booth, Christmas Carols and TG&Y. You would see everyone on Main Street wishing each other Merry Christmas. We don't have time to do those things anymore and that is a real shame. Our children do not have the experiences we had and that is sad. Terry Anderson Feltner, Hazard, KY

The last day before we got out of school for the winter break, was the day each classroom at Vicco Grade School opened the package from Caney Creek!! The package from Caney Creek (Alice LLoyd College, for the uninformed) contained a toy for each and every kid in the school. Then on Sunday, the Vicco Church of God gave out 'Treats', usually an apple, orange, nuts, peppermints and chocolates in a brown paper bag. Everybody went to church the last Sunday before Christmas. Even backsliders got a 'Treat' bag. Vicco kid in the 50's

I have been sittin' here reading all these comments re: Christmas memories and my eyes are a little moist. If I could go back to any time in my life, I think I would choose Christmas morning when I was about ten years old. The smells of cap guns being fired by my younger brothers and the ever distinguishable smell of new rubber dolls. I got an electric stove that really worked, and a doll. My sister got a little sink that really worked and a doll and together we got a set of dishes and a table and chairs. As always we got some peppermint candy, and those delicious chocolate drops that you can't seem to find anymore, as well as a lot of fruit...a couple bananas, a pod of grapes, two tangerines, two big red delicious apples, two oranges and some nuts. I remember me and my sister pretending we cooked that fruit and we ate it off our new little dishes. My brothers always got a set of cap guns and whatever else boys got. Mommy would cook a big breakfast, and later that day she would have the best meal of the year on the table. There was always fresh made fruit salad, a couple of homemade pies, a couple of cakes, chicken & dumplins with all the trimmings....she made the best cornbread dressing in the world. I had no idea how much my mommy & daddy sacrificed and how hard my mommy worked to provide us with such wonderful memories. Our life was so simple but we learned values beyond any you will find in today's society. Merry Christmas to Hazard & Perry County...and thanks to this site for awakening in me memories that made my heart overflow and tears run down my cheeks. Ellen Browder, Louisville, KY

My favorite memory of Christmas growing up was a basket of fruit and nuts.  We didn't really expect gifts.  If we did get a gift, it was a real surprise.  I really miss my hometown.  Letty Stacy (Knapp), Ravenna, Ohio

I remember when I would go shopping in Hazard, when I had my three children between 1991-1995.  Hazard would also have a lot of Christmas lights to look at.  Tawynia Ritchie, Dwarf, KY

My father, J. G. Campbell, was in the army serving in Korea.  Mother, Ella Campbell, and I lived in the Eblen Apartments on the corner of East Main Street and Liberty Street.  Every year our family went for a drive on Christmas Eve to look at the Christmas lights.  This year it would have to be without Daddy.  No mail had come from him in quite awhile and there was no present for me from him under our small tree.  Mother kept assuring me that daddy loved me and would be thinking about me.  With a child's faith, I kept telling her not to worry.  My present would be there.  I knew this for a fact.  About 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve we were getting ready to leave.  There was a knock on the door and there was Santa Claus, disguised as my cousin Dent Holliday.  Dent worked at the post office and knew our situation.  The package had come in late, and Dent was making sure a little girl had a present from her daddy for Christmas.  Mother seemed surprised, but not me.  I knew my daddy would always have a present for me under the tree.  Thanks again, Santa Dent.  Eva Mae McCleland, Los Banos, CA

As a child I grew up with my grandparents and three sisters and four brothers.  My mother passed away when I was four years old leaving me to my grandparents.  We didn't have all that much, maybe a toy of some kind.  But the part I loved the most was the treat we got in a brown paper bag containing a apple, orange, tangerine, mixed nuts and hard mixed candy - I couldn't hardly wait for Christmas morning too come.  That was in the good old days.  Wanda Neace, Hazard, KY

I too remember Christmas on Main Street.  I loved the Jaycees booth playing the Christmas music.  Going downtown in the evening when the stores were open late, the Christmas decorations were up, the multi colored lights were glowing, the sidewalks were alive with smiling friendly people.  I especially loved it when the snow was falling.  We didn't have a lot, but we had each other.  There were seven of us kids.  We always got something special for Christmas.  We had the most wonderful parents in the world.  My mother always got me a beautiful doll for my gift.  I still have the one from the year I was 10 years old.  We didn't have a tree, so she put it in the closet and told me to hang up my coat.  There she was the size of a real 2 year old little girl.  I still love this doll and the many precious sweet memories from childhood.  Patty, Busy, KY

If times were good we got a few extra little gifts, but I still remember the one BIG gift!!!!! It wasn't wrapped, it just had your name on it.  Santie had brought it to you on Christmas Eve Night. And the Fruit, WOW~ It was so exotic, I loved the tangerines...My Pap would help us crack the nuts.  If he didn't, we would usually just destroy them, we used Pop Bottles - didn't have a big fancy nut cracker set.......Now a Child would be so disappointed to get a stocking full of fruit, nuts and candy.  They have that EVERYDAY!!!! But just remember how wonderful they were to us.  Jean

My memories of Christmas:  Huge red apples, so juicy it ran down your arm, the treat bags at Sunday school, the Christmas plays, drawing names at school, making decorations and a BIG ALUMINUM TREE mommy kept for years.  I always thought it was so tacky but would love to have it now. GOOD sweet oranges, all of us kids laying in one big bed by the crackling fire light and hearing Santa's Jingle Bells in the distance, kicking and giggling till we drifted off.....a nickel in your stocking the next morning, lighting real candles on the tree then the electric light sets with bulbs big as your fist, blue, green, and red, a big dinner, and company.  Hollergal

I had gotten a job cleaning the commissary floors at night for 35 cents an hour.  My sister was also working there and we saved enough money that year to buy mom a used Maytag wringer washing machine.  You never seen a grown woman laugh and cry so much and to top that off her mom and dad came in from California.  It was a great Christmas.  Anonymous

Oh, Christmas at our house (a five-room house with four daughters, one grandson and two parents!)  Every Christmas season mom made us clean the ENTIRE house before setting up our Christmas tree!  You know, we had the same artificial Christmas tree from the time I can remember till I was fourteen years old!  My older sisters would call that tree the 'Charlie Brown' tree.  As a small child, I wondered why?  But every year once we got it all decorated and lit up it seemed to come to life!  But as the years passed, that Christmas tree seemed to be getting smaller!  Why?  I wondered.  It dawned on me the last Christmas we spent in that house (I was fourteen)... that tree wasn't getting smaller, I was getting bigger!  And I also realized why my sisters called that tree the 'Charlie Brown' Christmas tree... it was only 3 feet tall! LOL.  Dooper

Memories are a wonderful possession.  They sustain us in the most grievous time's of our lives.  Mine are even more precious to me, now that I am getting older.  Like so many of you, it seems that Christmas memories are the most delightful!  We (my 8 brother's and sister's), have and always will be very close.  Our blessed parent's are still with us, thank God.  They did everything that was humanly possible to see to it that our Christmas's were special.  They certainly succeeded at that.  MOM, DAD, for all the time's you did without so we could have, THANK YOU, For teaching us the wonderful moral's we have today, THANK YOU, for making sure that we were in church and Sunday school every Sunday, THANK YOU, for teaching us to respect other's, THANK YOU, and last but no least, THANK YOU for your loving, caring, gentle ways that taught us patience through your examples.  How blessed we truly are to have you as our parent's.  You will never know how much you are loved.  Rachel  

We didn't have a lot for Christmas but we always had a little something.  I remember it was getting close to Christmas and we were playing hide & seek and boy did we hit the jackpot, finding toys under the bed.  Well we checked everything out and put them back.  How disappointed we were to unwrap the same presents again so we had to tell our parents because we were so guilty.  Tammy

I'm 37 and I've lived in Hazard all my life. There was nothing more exciting to me as a child than going to town. Everything was there. You could go see a movie, go to TG&Y and get a big bag of chocolate covered raisins from those great glass bins of candy, then go to Don's and have the best hot dog in the world. The last Christmas I remember downtown was 1980. I was in high school then. Town was slowly changing, but it was still the hot spot for everyone. The sidewalks were always crowded with friends, everyone stopping and talking. The Jaycees had a booth at the entrance to Taxi Alley. They were playing Christmas carols on a big horn speaker, the old carols, like Bing Crosby's White Christmas, Silver Bells, I'll be home for Christmas. The Court House Christmas tree was all lit up, the big plastic multicolored balls with the greenery draped from telephone pole to telephone poll up and down Main Street, and a steady stream of people coming in and out of Don's, the unmistakable squeak of the door always present. I remember standing there that evening in front of the Court House waiting for my mother, who had been detained in Don's talking at the check out counter. The high school and grade school chorus was taking there places on the steps of the court house. They all had candles, and as they began to light them before they started to sing, it began to snow, like the kind of snow from "Its A Wonderful Life", big feathery snowflakes. And the Jaycee booth stopped they're music, and the chorus began to sing Silent Night. And everyone stopped on the sidewalks and listened. And this little town I had grown up in, that I was so familiar with, and hated at times because it was just so boring, was suddenly the most beautiful place in the world.  I've thought about that Christmas many times over the years. Today it's malls, and Chuck E.Cheeses, and Internet shopping, everyone running around talking to a cell phone instead of each other. How fortunate I am to know the difference.  Anonymous

I really, really, miss Christmas on Main Street!!  Thanks for the memories!  I'm glad you put Hazard on the Web!  Anthony Grey, Jeff, KY

Christmas to me is all the smiles you get from people, people are in good spirits.  My favorite times were when my children were small and would sit in my lap to watch the Christmas specials on TV.  But now they are grown out on their own, so now I watch Frosty The Snowman alone.  Empty nest

You know as a child, you take for granted all the little things that make Christmas special. My parents are both from Hazard.  After they got married they moved away like so many others to find work and start a new life. We always went 'Home' as my dad called it at Christmas time. To see the mountains with all the snow was so special for a young 'city' boy. My grandmother was so special.  She was so loving and caring. She made Christmas special for everyone. As I grew older I began to take for granted all those good down 'Home' Christmas memories I had as a child. One of the last times I talked to Grandma on the phone was right before Christmas time. She was begging me to come 'Home' with the rest of the family. You see, I was all grown up and had fallen in love. Not wanting to leave my new love at Christmas I declined to go and stayed in the city. Oh if I had only known it would be my grandma's last Christmas.  She did as always, bought me a present and sent me candy back by my Mom and Dad. A new camera and some hard Christmas candy. I really didn't think much about it. Three months later she was gone.  Oh the days of youth when the wonder and joy of a down 'Home' Christmas filled my heart. I'm almost 40 now, and not a Christmas goes by that I don't think of her standing by the coal stove smiling at me at Christmas time.  God Bless her; I will remember her always.  She was so gentle and loving and is asleep with Jesus in the Riverside cemetery. Anonymous

Christmas was a special time for me as a child.  I can remember the decorations on Main Street as well as the Jaycees' Christmas booth playing that wonderful music.  I grew up in the 50's and 60's & there was no other Santa than Bill Douglas!  I can remember sitting on his lap in my 2nd grade classroom (Bertha Pendleton was my teacher) and telling him everything I wanted for Christmas.  We always had a live tree, but the ones I remember best were the white flocked ones that we got from Chester Stevens.  My Mom's homemade jam cakes and poinsettia Christmas tree skirts that she made bring back so many memories.  How I wish I could step back in time!  Betty Cornett Feagan

Santa Claus (Bill Douglas) made many a child happy at Christmas time.  He was so full of life and everyone loved him.  He was so kind and good to everyone.  He probably is still celebrating Christmas with our Lord Jesus Christ now. Merry Christmas to everyone. June Patterson, Lothair, KY

Santa Claus visits Collins Field.  Click here to learn more.

My memories of Christmas are the love of my family.  We never had hardly any money to buy gifts but mom and dad would always spend at least 20 dollars on each of us.  There was five of us.  We didn't get much at all for Christmas but most of all we knew we were loved and that was the most important thing.  We hardly ever even got a cake for our birthdays but then it didn't matter to us because we knew that we couldn't afford it.  When I tell my kids that I don't have the money, they act like money grows on trees.  I think if kids these days had to live the life that I did and struggle just to have supper on the table they would be a lot more respectable when they grew up.  I think that growing up poor and having a hard life is what made me strive so hard to make a better life for my kids.  And let them have more than I ever had and believe me they do.  But spending Christmas with my family and enjoying just the love and not the presents learned me so much.  We were always taught that it is better to give than to receive and each of us have lived our lives around that quote.  Anonymous

When we were little we got to travel to Vicco, KY.  That's because all our grandmother's relatives were there.  We stayed the night with my great grandmother.  The next morning we awoke to the best smelling aroma, homemade biscuits & gravy.  She had a feast on that table.  She had been up along time to put it all together.  I had heard her early that morning working on that old stove trying to warm up that house for her guests.  When she had everything just right, she woke us up to warm up our tummys with love.  Later we climbed the hill to visit grandma's sister and what a shock, Santa had stopped in for a visit, (years later we found out it was Uncle Claude).  I still remember it like it was yesterday.  Merry Christmas and let it snow to cover those beautiful mountains tops, just like I remember.  Anonymous, "No mountains here."

I remember one Christmas in Vicco, Ky. I was five years old and had never seen Santa Claus. I remember my mother said Santa Claus was going to be at Martin's Deptartment store. I lived right in Vicco at that time so when it came the time of day that Santa was due there I headed for Martin's. I can still remember the shock of seeing this big man in a red suit with a long white beard. It was like someone hit me with ice water when he walked through the store. I broke into a run and didn't look back. I ran up by Hall's restaurant and hid.  Anonymous

There is so much I miss about Christmases in Hazard, the smiling faces, handshakes, greetings like 'Christmas Gift' (how many remember that one), music from the Jaycees' booth, and snowflakes hitting me in the face. Ida Lee Hansel, Spartanburg, SC

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