SAUTEE-NACOOCHEE - Visitors to the Sautee Nacoochee Community Center recently were able to step back in time to enjoy a 19th Century Christmas.
The annual Christmas at the Cabin, held at the Nacoochee slave cabin on the center grounds, featured primitive decorations, garlands of greenery and demonstrations of old-time ways.
Caroline Crittenden, project coordinator for the African American Heritage Site, discussed the four-hour interpretive program at the cabin.
"We decorate the cabin in 19th Century style, and we have interpreters that come up from the Atlanta History Center Tullie Smith Farm, and other interpreters who are in period costume interpreting 19th Century life and what Christmas would have been like for a rural white family, but also for a slave family - which would have been a very meager Christmas," Crittenden explained.
She and interpreters explained that for slaves Christmas was a time to celebrate, but on a much smaller scale.
"They might have gotten extra clothing, fabrics, socks, or perhaps fruit or some sort of ham is a likely thing," Crittenden said.
The interpreter explained that a slave woman might have knitted a scarf, socks or gloves for her husband as a Christmas present.
The free SNCA observance at the cabin also featured children making dolls, and stringing popcorn and cranberries.
"We have local musicians and vocalists sing," Crittenden said. "As the evening wears on and dark descends on Nacoochee Valley, the community chorale gathers around the bonfire singing Christmas carols."
The event is designed to bring the community together to reflect on the past.
"The whole point of this is to interpret a very primitive, rural Northeast Georgia Christmas, when times were simpler and the focus was on community and family and friends," Crittenden said.