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Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve Gift

I have spent the majority of the day at work, or bothering my honey while he has been trying to catch some much needed shut eye. I meant to write a blog earlier today, but for some reason I just couldn't find the time.

While on my way to work this morning, I concentrated on one single thought. ...

Christmas Eve Gift.

My grandmother "Mamaw Orell" (my dad's mother) is the one who introduced the saying to me years ago. As I drove to work, I turned the radio down and began to concentrate on the idea behind this phrase that my family (till this day) uses on the Eve of the greatest Holiday of the year.

As I was growing up, I never thought about the meaning. I only knew that When Mamaw came through the door, or when I went to see her on Christmas Eve, I could count on hearing those words come from her with that sweet smile to follow. ..and the most comforting hug I will ever have the pleasure of knowing.

As I began to think of the meaning, I began to reminisce about the days with my grandmother. I laughed when I thought of her silly songs she would play on the guitar and sing to me. I mourned for the homemade banana pudding and baked sweet potatoes she used to make. I cried tears of longing for her beautiful words of poetry and her incomparable sweet spirit. I miss her so much. As we age, we come to realize certain things about those who have left us along the path of life.

Mamaw kept me when I was too young for school and I still have very vivid memories of being with her and Papaw during those years. Those two people have had such an impact on me...regardless if I have recognized it until now, or not. I thought of this today, while I was seeing her face in my mind. And, I wanted to research the idea behind this phrase that reminds me of her during this time of the year.

So, I got on the internet and looked this morning.. then, when I got home I looked some more. I would like to share with you some of the things I found:

Christmas Eve Gift is generally more common in the Southern states. Some say it originated with the slaves. Some say it originated long before that in Europe. Then, there are some that say it originated during the height of the Great Depression.

Some families use it as a game. On Christmas Eve, the first one to say "Christmas Eve Gift" would be the proud recipient of a present from whoever their victim was. I read how several families used this as a part of their Christmas traditions.

Then, I found something tonight that made the biggest impact on me. "Christmas Eve Gift" is also used as a greeting (which is exactly how my grandmother used it). When you see family for this special holiday, saying "Christmas Eve Gift" announces that you are here and that you are bringing the gift of your presence for the gathering. During the Great Depression, families used this as their gifts to one another. There wasn't money to spend on material things, so they all realized that the greatest gift of all; is the gift of each other. We are the Gift.

My precious Grandmother was indeed a gift. And, not just on Christmas Eve. She was a lifetime gift that expired too soon... But, she was one of the best gifts I've ever been given. Tomorrow, I can guarantee that I will hear this phrase more than once. My family now uses it as a symbol of her. ...even more than when she was alive.

There will never be a Christmas that goes by that I don't think of her and remember the greatest gift she gave me. ... herself.

I pray that God Blesses you and your family with a wonderful holiday. Merry Christmas to you all.


  1. Precious Memories how they linger.Beautiful tribute to a beautiful person in my life as well.
    Christmas Eve Gift back to you...Amanda. Love you!

  2. We have always said "Christmas Eve Gift" to each other (brought to us by our father, Bill) although none of us have ever known why exactly. I choose to believe your take on it - that WE are the gift to each other! THANK YOU!

    1. We are the gift. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Christmas Eve Gift. My grandmother and grandfather used it as the game. I can remember this well as far back as I can remember. I passed it along to my children and hopefully it will be passed to theirs. It is a beautiful way of honoring my loved ones that have passed and a way for me to stay connected to that tradition on Christmas Eve. Thank you so much for your beautiful memory of your family.

    1. You’re so welcome. I am humbled to see so many who also use this special phrase. Merry Christmas.

  4. Loved reading about this as my mother always said it growing up. She was raised during the Depression.

  5. Christmas Eve Gift is mentioned in Emma Sampson’s book, Billy and the Major, and published in1918. My family has being doing this for as long as I’ve been alive (44 years) and I too thought we were the only ones until I started researching after our Daddy passed away in May of this year.

    1. God’s grace and comfort for the loss of your father. I’m glad to know that others use this. Thank you for your comment and for reading. Christmas Eve Gift! 😉

  6. We always tried to be the first one to say "Christmas Eve Gift," and the recipient would say it back to us. Glad to know others have the same tradition, brings back wonderful memories.