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Christmas in the Country at Exhange Place
December 1, 2018 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Kingsport, TN – Exchange Place will ring in the holidays, and the winter season, for young and old alike with its annual Christmas in the Country celebration on Saturday, December 1, from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm at Kingsport’s historic Living History Farm, located at 4812 Orebank Road. There is no admission fee for this final public event of the year at the tradition-rich farmstead, proudly listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Christmas in the Country features fresh greenery and trees, handcrafted wreaths and other seasonal decorations to give your home that special holiday cheer. Unique folk arts and crafts will be found on both sides of Orebank Road, including pottery, handmade greeting cards, unique soaps, stained glass creations, vintage clothing, wood working and painting, paper quilling, glass artwork, and jewelry. Your taste buds will be tempted with scrumptious breads, granolas and other baked goods.
Activities for the young’uns will be found in several locales throughout the grounds, but children of all ages are always excited to meet our resident animals. Our horses, cow and donkey will be found in the 1851 barn, while the sheep can be seen in different farmstead locations.
But most especially, Christmas in the Country furthers the mission of Exchange Place by demonstrating a slice of pre-Civil War wintertime farm life in our region, and showing how our ancestors would have prepared for the holidays. Over in the blacksmith shop, the skills that were needed to make hardware and tools for the farm, fix wagon wheels and, of course, shoe the horses, will be demonstrated throughout the day by acclaimed young artisan Catherine Shook Hendershot.In the log kitchen, the Eden’s Ridge Hearth Cookery Society will be preparing dishes that the wealthy Gaines and Preston families might have enjoyed during the holidays, like roast pork and cinnamon waffles.
In the newly restored outdoor bake oven, they will be baking ginger cakes (cookies), using a Gaines family
recipe, and replicas of Preston family tin cookie cutters.
In the Cook’s Cabin, our Junior Apprentices will be demonstrating beloved holiday traditions such as
popping popcorn, trimming an old-fashioned Christmas tree, and decorating the yule log that will be burned
at the close of the event. The Junior Apprentices, in fact, will be quite visible throughout the farmstead,
helping with the food preparation, performing a variety of chores, and selling their own handmade crafts
and decorations in the Schoolhouse.
The Yule Log Ceremony, a community tradition, will be held near the Cook’s Cabin beginning around
4:15 pm, and will conclude the day’s festivities. Originated by the Vikings, it served as a way for them to
honor their gods and request good luck in the coming year. Later it was incorporated into the harvest
festivals of Germany and Scandinavia, then moved to England when the Normans conquered the isles, and
eventually was brought to the New World by the Pilgrims. While the Preston family may not have burned a
Yule Log, we like to make it a part of our Christmas in the Country as a symbol of peace and good will for
our wonderful community. Since it was often decorated with evergreens and sometimes sprinkled with
grain or cider before it was finally lit, we encourage everyone to bring a sprig to cast onto the fire, and also
to wear fine, colorful headgear to the event, which will conclude with the singing of carols and, of course, a
cup of hot wassail! Derived from the Anglo-Saxon “waes hael,” which meant “Be in Health” or “Here’s to
You,” wassail helps us to emphasize the spirit of health and friendship.
For more information, you may call Exchange Place at 423-288-6071, or write to
Exchange Place is a living history farm whose mission is to preserve and interpret the heritage of mid-
nineteenth century farm life in Northeast Tennessee. Exchange Place is a non-profit organization maintained
and operated by volunteers and is supported by donations, fundraisers, memberships and grants.