An old expression, “Christmas Gift," was much used in days gone by, but is rarely heard any more except among the older generation. It’s meaning is roughly the equivalent of saying “Merry Christmas.” And that is my wish to you today.
The expression can be traced back to as early as 1844 in the southern United States, when people would wake on Christmas morning and rush to say "Christmas Gift" before anyone else. The person being told "Christmas Gift!" was expected to present the person saying it to them with a present, such as candy or nuts.
In more recent times, it was carried out in fun, with no real expectation of a treat to appear. I heard this term growing up, used by members of my mother's family, but the term has "died out," as there are so few of the old generation remaining. It was a tradition to try to be the first one to "get" the other members by uttering the phrase. It was a way to create fun when often in reality there were few Christmas treats.
"Christmas Eve Gift" was a variation, and the Dictionary of American Regional English traces the first written uses of "Christmas Eve Gift" back to 1954.
In 1991, Georgia author Ferrol Sams published the book Christmas Gift, a charming account of Christmas in a Fayette County, Ga. Sams, who also authored Run with the Horseman, weaves memories of his boyhood Christmases in the dark days of the Depression when the family was strapped for material resources adequate to their generous spirits. During that time, members of the Sams household, he writes, would greet each other with the joyous cry of "Christmas Gift" in order to share the tidings of the season and celebrate their connection.
So I am wishing each of you a Merry Christmas, or “Christmas Gift.”
Thank you so much for reading and leaving comments here on my blog. It has been a real pleasure “getting to know you" through your visits and comments. I have met many of you through your interesting and entertaining blogs, and these past months have been such a treasure.
Now it's time to relax and enjoy your holiday with family and friends. Be safe and be happy!