Holidays with SJ: Part 2

Now that Dorothea has kicked off our Holidays with SJ feature with a festive start, let's keep the spirit going as we turn our attention to Priscilla and learn how she spends the holidays: 

 Priscilla of Southern Journeys

Priscilla of Southern Journeys

What does the holiday spirit mean to you?

I am very thankful that I have lived long enough to enjoy the real spirit of Christmas and that is the blessings of our risen Christ and His promise of eternal life to believers. It means that I can share the joyous occasion with my family and friends and know that I am celebrating the birth of Jesus and not get caught up in the “Hype”. It wasn’t always like that. I used to get all caught up in shopping for gifts, having to find that last minute gift and planning those big southern meals. So in a word: Blessed.

What are your favorite childhood holiday memories?

Wow! There aren’t many that I can recall being that it was nothing like the children of today- my “grands” included. We were very poor, but happy because the whole neighborhood was in the same boat. I was a happy child and am now a very happy adult and back then,  according to my mom, wise beyond my years because I never worried my parents about what I was going to get- I was just glad that I got something.

However, I do have a favorite and it still brings a smile to my face. I don’t know at what age I was at the time, but anyway, children of my generation played outside a lot and inside only when the weather was inclement. So on one of those inside days I was going to play under my bed---and what do I discover? A beautiful doll in a box. I was so happy because I don’t remember asking for one. (We used to make dolls using the six-ounce bottles of coca cola and ice strings. That’s another story). After finding the doll under the bed, every day when no one was aware I would go under the bed and play with my doll being very careful not to get her dirty. I did this for about a week and on Christmas morning I was just as excited as though I had not seen the doll before.

I was so glad to see how happy my mom was that I was so excited. She lived to see me and my children get grown and get gifts for them. Just recently they were talking about two particular stuffed animals that she gave them, which I still have in storage. My oldest son is 43.

 Vintage black doll. Photo courtesy of

Vintage black doll. Photo courtesy of

What are some holiday traditions in your family?

My family holiday tradition is just that- “traditional." We go to a designated family member home and on Christmas morn we get up very early and watch the youngest children open their gifts-then we exchange gifts. Laugh, talk, and enjoy being together. Later we watch family oriented movies and eat too much. Take the children outside if they have outside toys.

If we are at my home, we talk about the decorations on the tree because I still use the things that my kids made when they were children. I still put them on my tree. Now their children are able to talk about the ornaments that their parents made as kids. Kids don’t do much of that in schools anymore. When I am visiting one of my three children at Christmas-we still do the same thing-minus the old decorations, because I leave them at my house.

What is your favorite holiday song or movie?

My favorite carol is “Silent Night” My favorite movie is “The Preacher’s Wife”. I had watched it so much until the children hid the tape on one of their visits - they always had to watch it along with whatever movies we watched. I found it again last year and am now waiting to see if it’s on DVD.

What do you want for the holidays this year?  

To be peaceful and remember to be very thankful.

What does it mean for you that people are receiving gifts that you have made for SJ?

It means that we are making someone’s wish come true or that someone is getting nice handmade gifts from Southern Rural Black Women who are very proud of their heritage and the work we do and the struggles and challenges we have met.

 Priscilla (second from left) sharing a holiday meal with the ladies of Southern Journeys

Priscilla (second from left) sharing a holiday meal with the ladies of Southern Journeys

 Priscilla sewing for Southern Journeys

Priscilla sewing for Southern Journeys

How do you make the season bright? Share with us in the comments below and on our social media pages!

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- SJ