Celebrating Appalachia Videos Christmas

Saying Christmas Gift in Appalachia

tipper saying Christmas Gift

In my latest video I talk about the tradition of being the first to say “Christmas Gift” on Christmas morning. I grew up with Granny and her family playing the traditional game and I’m trying my best to keep it alive.

I also share the story behind some of my favorite Christmas decorations.

I hope you enjoyed the video. Have you ever heard of the unique Christmas tradition?

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  • Reply
    Douglas Mosier
    October 2, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    We did a song in high school choir for a Christmas concert one year about this very tradition. The first line was “Christmas Gift! Hand it here!” so I’m guessing the “loser” in the game had to hand over some little trinket. As it was explained to us by our director, people would go “Christmas Tree-ing” (looking at trees in people’s houses) and the phrase was shouted over the threshold as the homeowner opened the door.

  • Reply
    Barbara Tucker Luna
    January 25, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    My father’s side of the family, the Tuckers and the Carroll’s from west Tennessee all said “Christmas Gift!” It was a game to be the first one to say it. It always brought such laughter in joy to them! My grandparents and my dad and most of his siblings have all since passed away, except for two sisters and one brother. Them and all of us cousins that remain and still carry on the joyful tradition.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    December 23, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    It was “Christmas Eve Gift”, in my family. It came from Mama’s family–Daddy’s family didn’t do it.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 23, 2020 at 11:17 am

    We did this on the last day of school before Christmas break. The day we took gifts to school for the names we drew. That’s the best day of the year. All we did was watch the Christmas play and exchange gifts. I always got a box of chocolate covered cherries or a box of Red Band Peppermint Sticks. I played like the peppermint sticks were cigarettes.

    For those who don’t know, “played like” means pretend! “Made out like” would have worked too.

  • Reply
    December 23, 2020 at 10:24 am

    My Mom and Dad both said this, even to us when we got out of bed on Christmas morning.

  • Reply
    Gene Smith
    December 23, 2020 at 10:10 am

    In our Upstate SC neighborhood everyone said, “Christmas Eve gift!”…but no gifts were given or received, It was the same game as “Christmas gift” and was always said with a smile, which itself was the gift.

  • Reply
    Bob Dalsemer
    December 23, 2020 at 9:31 am

    Now that I’ve moved away, I enjoy seeing your videos and reading your blog even more! Merry Christmas to all the Pressley-Wilson family.

  • Reply
    December 23, 2020 at 9:31 am

    I’ve never heard of this, but I love all the traditions that carry so much weight in our hearts and heads. Merry Christmas Tipper!

  • Reply
    December 23, 2020 at 8:56 am

    I enjoyed this video. To me anything made by hand has more meaning to me than something bought in a store. This is for Don, I have a friend that has 8 55 Chevrolets. No they were not given to him. He has two that are restored to original condition, even to the battery and two more that he turned into hot rods around 500 hp. The others are waiting to be restored. He is very talented and does all of the mechanical and body work himself. I know this is not the same as having one that is unrestored and in mint original condition If he reads this he will be knocking on your front door.

    I wish Tipper, her family and everyone else on this site a safe and Merry Christmas. I hope all of you can spend time with your families.

  • Reply
    Patricia Small
    December 23, 2020 at 8:51 am

    Thanks for sharing your Christmas memories and reminding us to look back at our own! Don’t those little things make us happy!
    Blessings to you, your family, and all the “Blind Pig & Acorn” family!!!

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    December 23, 2020 at 8:49 am

    Merry Christmas, enjoyed the post and thanks for the Glenn Brown flying goose in walnut on the corner shelf.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    December 23, 2020 at 8:41 am

    Tipper, I look forward to your blog every morning just wondering what you’ll share next! I adored looking at your Christmas decorations and I especially liked the train and the 2 Santa “chochki”- Yiddish word for a trinket / you handcrafted. I liked the window into your world and thanks for sharing! The spark plug is a real humdinger!!! I’d love it too because it was the spark plug that helped you two love birds spark…. Have a great day the day before Christmas Eve. I’m hoping to get some cooking done today but it’s only hoping at this point…. Merry Christmas!!! I’ve never heard of saying Christmas Gift first but, hey, I like it!!!! P. S. Your skin is flawless and glowing and you look very pretty , dear lady!

  • Reply
    Shirley J Denton
    December 23, 2020 at 8:36 am

    We never had that tradition. What we did do every year was wrap a gag gift for some unsuspecting victim. It was always hilarious, as most would forget about the tradition. I cannot recall all the gifts, but one year was a pair of really gaudy crocheted huge ruffled slippers/socks with red bows. somebody had picked up at a yard sale. With Mom and Dad gone this is no longer a tradition, and I had almost forgotten until I read your post today.
    We do carry on with a tradition of mischievousness at our family reunion. I had picked up a “Just Married” sign at a thrift store which we had big plans to attach to the bumper of my Aunt and Uncle’s car before they left the reunion. They have probably been married 60 years. and they have an excellent sense of humor. Unfortunately, that fell through when reunion had to be cancelled due to Covid. My granddaughter did her every couple of years decluttering of my house and tossed the sign. She did not even ask why I had that sign in my possession. At least she knew what my leather britches were this round. My Dad could be a prankster, so one reunion he put a bumper sticker on that same uncle’s car for a politician my Unk detested. One has to choose wisely those that possess a great sense of humor.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 23, 2020 at 8:36 am

    Somehow or other the “Christmas gift” tradition missed us where we lived. Probably others in the county kept it but I never heard of it then. I do not recall now where and when I first heard about it.

    As your Mom did, my Mom would get Dad involved in a project of hers from time to time. After he was hurt in the mines she had to be his legs for some things. He made things in his wood shop. I have several items. One of them is a pen & pencil holder make out of white oak. I’m sure there was a story about where the wood came from but unfortunately I don’t know it.

    It is probably a good thing for you all that very few of the BP&A readers know your phone number (smile) else we might try to be first Christmas morning. Good thing also that you all are in the Eastern time zone.

    I have taken hundreds of pictures I guess thinking about using them to make cards. I took one this morning of the early sun shining on the holly berries. But I have never buckled down and produced the cards. I have fallen behind in the technology field.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    December 23, 2020 at 7:30 am

    My Aunt Lela always said this…..she also gave me a mint ’55 Chevy 2dr! It is in my carport now!

    • Reply
      December 23, 2020 at 7:41 am

      Don- Wow I bet that car is a beauty!

      • Reply
        Sallie the apple doll lady
        December 23, 2020 at 9:21 am

        My mother always said Christmas Gift on Christmas Day either on the phone or when somebody came to the house. I don’t remember anybody else doing it though they might have.

  • Reply
    December 23, 2020 at 7:23 am

    I think Jimmy Carter wrote about Christmas Gift” in his book “Christmas in Plains.” Another rural Georgia author (and former physician), Ferrol Sam’s Christmas book is titled, “Christmas Gift” and he talks about this tradition, too.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 23, 2020 at 7:00 am

    I love your love of Christmas and Christmas decorations, it warms my heart to come to your house during the holidays and see and feel your warmth and love of the holidays.
    Thank you for being who you are! You probably don’t have any idea how special you are and how much I love you!
    You are the Christmas Gift!

  • Reply
    December 23, 2020 at 6:42 am

    My Mom,my sister’s did this for years. All are gone now except my big sis. We still answer the phone call on Christmas morning this way.

  • Reply
    J. David Chrisman
    December 23, 2020 at 6:33 am

    “Christmas Gift!” Our family does this as well! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    Donna WM
    December 23, 2020 at 5:59 am

    Our mail ran Sunday, and my ring was in the mailbox. Thank you so much! My husband has it on his ring finger and it fits him perfectly. He is very happy to have it. Please tell Ed Ammons we appreciate his gift of the ring he made, and thank him for me, for his generosity. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

    Both my parents were from north Missouri, but their ancestors came through Kentucky to get to Missouri. My dad’s sister, my Aunt Gladys, used most of the Appalachian phrases and words you write about, and my dad did too. We called corn-on-the-cob “roastinears” (roasting ears) and “Idee” for idea. “Your’n” was common for “yours”. If my mom said I looked “peak-ed”, that meant I looked sick. So many words like that, and when I hear you or the others say them, I am back in my childhood and it’s 1950. My husband’s parents came from the Missouri Ozarks, so of course they used the old-time words too. Their ancestors also traveled through Kentucky to arrive in the Ozarks.
    About the Christmas gift game? I’ve only heard about that one time, when we were celebrating Christmas with my nephew and his family. His wife is a native Oklahoman, and their whole family says “Christmas Gift” the first time they see anybody on Christmas Day.

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