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.