What was the traditional holiday greeting when visiting friends and relatives at Christmas many years back?

Around these parts, the old folks used to visit neighbors and relatives’ homes around Christmas time just for the joy of sharing hospitality with one another. There might be an exchange of food, but there were no grand displays of conspicuous consumption. The simple joy of visiting was the luxury exchanged. Upon arriving at a home, the folks coming in the front door would shout, “Christmas Gift!”. Whether it was a not too subtle hint or no, the folks being visited knew to be ready with some sweets for the occasion. It just wasn’t done to withhold a tea cake or a warming cup of coffee from the visitors. The communities were small in Gwinnett County and eventually the visits would balance. I wonder if any of my cousins or long-time friends remember “Christmas Gift!”

The vintage family photograph from circa 1920 pictures my grandmother, Nellie Mae Mills Liddell with my Aunts Ruth Liddell Seay and Virginia Liddell Russell in the garden of the 1840 Homeplace which is now the site of much commercial development around Steve Reynolds Boulevard in Duluth.

These folks practiced hailing friends and family in the traditional manner. I wonder is Sandra Seay Henley, Faye Russell Clayborn, Phyllis Russell Carlton Laber, Beverly Russell Rungruang, Nancy Liddell Simpson, or Tyler Liddell Thrasher remember hearing the warm, Christmas greeting of old?

Mike Green
December 21, 2012

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