Placemaking - Day 1

With Christmas just a few days away, Southern Journeys' worker owners would like to share a few seasonal reflections about the places we call home during this time of year. "Place" and "Place Making" are receiving renewed prominence these days as environmental disasters are hitting our homes with increasing frequency.  Not only are we coming to understand the impact of our activities on the earth (both helpful and harmful), but we are also recognizing how our connection to place nurtures our sense of who we are as both individuals, families and communities.

WinterWoodsSnow-long goodbye.png

For Shirley, one Southern Journeys artisan from rural Alabama, the seasonal memory of going out to find a Christmas tree, tasked to the girls of the household, is symbolic of her relationship to her childhood surroundings and to being together outside.  During the month of December she would anticipate the annual cold trek with her sisters.  While she hoped they would find something suitable and cut it down quickly while the air was still warm, she was also excited by the uncertainty of what lay ahead.  She looked forward to escaping the usual chores, the embrace of tall trees illuminated by dazzling sunbeams and the challenge of fulfilling the duty as charged.  

Dorothea, another Southern Journeys artisan, describes her foray into the Georgia woods as follows:

"Growing up with my parents and 16 siblings, me being the 9th child, the middle man (lol), going in the woods to get a medium size pine tree was a family event.  My dad would chop it down. My siblings and I waited for the moment to drag that tree home together. My dad made that ole homemade stand for our tree. Sometimes we used a cane syrup can filled with sand to support the tree (which it didn't always work but seems like we were always there to catch it when it started to lean).  We loved helping my mom decorate it. Sometimes we used hand me down decorations. Christmas Eve everybody was so excited;  wanting to stay awake to see SANTA come down the chimney. Not sure if it was milk or water we left, and a slice of cake, but it was gone one when we woke up.   That's my story and I'm sticking to it."

Holidays with SJ: Part 1

The holidays are a special time for Southern Journeys to celebrate the people and things in our lives that we cherish all year round, including our company and the community supporting us. For this "Holidays with SJ" feature, we're sharing our holiday memories with you as we count down the days. We begin with the spotlight on Dorothea

 Dorothea celebrating the holidays

Dorothea celebrating the holidays

What does the holiday spirit mean to you?

Dorothea: Getting all the decorations up and seeing the city lit up. The presents under the tree. The smells of the cakes and the pies.

 

 

 

 Opening presents with the family

Opening presents with the family

What are your favorite childhood memories?

I remember the apples and oranges and Brazil nuts and wanting to sneak into the brown paper bags when my parents went out shopping for the kids. And the hand-me-down toys. You had breakfast every morning except Christmas because everyone was so excited.

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

My parents had sixteen kids. Back in the day, as the older ones leave home and move to a different state, they would still come home every Christmas with their kids. My siblings and I would all open gifts on Christmas morning. Our family members who live close to each other started a tradition years ago in which we draw names on Thanksgiving day. That way, we all receive a gift for Christmas. And it may be small, but it's the thought behind it that counts. And the end of the day, everybody would return home and years later, still today, the siblings and our small grandkids go to my mom's to spend their Christmas Eve and open gifts in the morning. Then we celebrate Christmas and have dinner and everybody returns home.

 

 

 

What is your favorite holiday song? Holiday movie?

My favorite song is Silent Night. I particularly like the Temptations' version. My favorite Christmas movies are Home Alone and Once Upon a Christmas Ever.

 

What do you want for the holidays?

First, my health and strength and my family members, friends, and neighbors to be alive and well. And I want most of all to thank God for another Christmas I can celebrate.

What would it mean for someone to receive a gift that you made for Southern Journeys?

That people are pleased with our products. That our products are getting out there and helping our company to grow. And most of all, in the near future, there will be jobs for the next generation. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Southern Journeys celebrating the holidays together

Southern Journeys celebrating the holidays together

 Dorothea and Jessie of Southern Journeys

Dorothea and Jessie of Southern Journeys


How do you celebrate the holidays? Let us know in the comments below and on our social media pages!

Liked this feature? Subscribe to our blog and enjoy upcoming holiday interviews from more women of Southern Journeys. 

- SJ

 

Holidays with SJ: Part 3

So far in our Holidays with SJ feature, we have reminisced about the holidays with Dorothea and Priscilla of Southern Journeys. Now Fannie would like to share with you how she spends her holidays.

 Fannie of Southern Journeys

Fannie of Southern Journeys

What does the holiday spirit mean to you?

The holiday means a lot to me because of my religious beliefs. When I was a child, I used to think of the holidays as lights and gifts but now that I'm older, my religious beliefs make me think of Christmas as more about Christ's birth.

What are your favorite childhood holiday memories?

My favorite childhood holiday memories were when we used to open our gifts on Christmas morning. Another favorite memory was trying to find the gifts before Christmas, playing with our gifts and putting them back before our parents could notice, and being "surprised" on Christmas morning.

 Fannie's favorite Christmas meal. Photo Credit: dannybuoys.com

Fannie's favorite Christmas meal. Photo Credit: dannybuoys.com

What is your favorite holiday song? Holiday movie?

My favorite movie is A Christmas Carol with Ebenezer Scrooge and my favorite song is Silent Night by the Temptations. 

What do you want for the holidays?

This year we've had some illnesses in the family. This year I just want everyone to be well and happy. Gifts don't really matter much this year.

What would it mean to you for someone to receive something Southern Journeys made for the holidays?

It's wonderful. It's just like making gifts for family members. And the thrill of seeing someone use something that you made. I think it's great. I'm just wishing everyone a happy holidays. I hope we make a lot of sales - Christmas and the New Year's. 

 Fannie (left) and Jessie sewing for Southern Journeys

Fannie (left) and Jessie sewing for Southern Journeys


How do you celebrate the holidays? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below and on our social media pages!

Want to hear more about the women behind Southern Journeys? Subscribe to our blog and enjoy upcoming holiday interviews and more. 

Wishing you very happy holidays,

- SJ

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 www.franshouseofdollsandtoys.com

Vintage black doll. Photo courtesy of www.franshouseofdollsandtoys.com

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!

Liked this story? Subscribe to our blog and enjoy holiday insights from more women of Southern Journeys. 

- SJ