Newsletter: December 2023

Hey Friends:

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

This is certainly a busy time of year, but I’m wondering…are you ready to celebrate? Are the gifts wrapped and piled under a beautiful tree? Is the house decorated and ready for a special guest? Is the table set and the feast planned? I hope the answer is YES! But if not I’m sure it will all come together in a beautiful celebration.

Speaking of celebrations, I’ve been thinking about how people across the United States celebrate Christmas and what traditions they hold. I took a look into the traditions celebrated here in East Tennessee and the Appalachian Mountains, and I found quite an assortment that have stood the test of time and continue to delight each of us with the magic of Christmas. Here are just a few:

Fruitcake. Yes, fruitcake. Most people turn their nose up at the mention of fruitcake, but in the early days of the Appalachian people, fruitcake was a special treat. That’s because the term fruitcake meant something entirely different. We think of all that candied citrus stuffed into a sticky batter full of nuts, but long ago that wasn’t the case. Fruitcake was actually what we know today as an Apple Stack Cake. Seriously! Makes sense, right? No candied citrus for the early Appalachian people!

Superstition. Ever heard animals talk at midnight on Christmas Eve? The people of early Appalachia certainly believed they did. In fact, there are many people today that believe the magic of Christmas allows the animals to talk at midnight on Christmas Eve. Listen carefully and you just might hear one.

Serenading. We normally think of caroling, but the people of early Appalachia went serenading, which was considered mischievous behavior. I guess they liked to play jokes on their neighbors and friends. They would sneak up on someone’s house and start singing or yelling. The goal was to surprise everyone in the house. If they were successful then the serenaders could expect a small Christmas gift or treat. Even though carolers today still expect to earn a small treat, there’s no more sneaking around. Thank goodness for that!

So, there you have it. Just a few Christmas traditions from long ago in East Tennessee. Even though they’ve changed somewhat over time, they’re still beloved customs that speak of the rich culture we experience today.

By the way, what’s your favorite tradition? Does it come from the early days in the Appalachians? I’d love to know!

Well, my friends, here’s to Christmas and the traditions that make the season special. I’m wishing each of you a very merry and blessed Christmas.

And don’t forget…let’s mortgage!

John Fleming, Jr.
People’s Home Equity
Loan Originator | NMLS 1850409
(865) 745-5626

P.S. Housing in East Tennessee is becoming less and less affordable. But there are still some good loan options for your buyer. Send them my way and I’ll help them find and secure the best option for them.

Food For Thought

According to the 2023 State of Housing Report published by KAAR, prices and inventory remain the same, and housing in East Tennessee is increasingly unaffordable, leading to a shortage of options for the aging and disadvantaged groups, along with first-time home buyers. Right now it’s important that buyers know their options and the programs available to them, and I can help with that.


To kick off 2024 I’m doing something that’s been on my bucket list for quite a long time. I booked a ticket to…The Philippines! Warm summer weather, pristine beaches, natural wonders, and delicious cuisine await, and I can’t wait to get there! I’m headed out on January 9th, and will be back in Tennessee on January 25th. I’ll catch up with you then!