When I was younger, and actually, right up to when Dad died back in 2010, my family had a tradition for Christmas Eve. We would sneak up on each other and shout “Christmas Eve Gift!” and the person who was “got” would have to give the other person a gift on that Christmas Eve. Now, usually, no gift was given, as it was just the fun of being the person who got the other person by surprise.
One chilly Christmas Eve in Texas (yes, if you’ve been reading the news and seeing other FB posts, it does get frosty even in SE Texas), I’d gotten up early that morning, as I usually do, and I baked a huckleberry cobbler (huckleberries are just the best). I did my weekend routine of walking next door to Mom & Dad’s to spend the morning and have coffee with them, but this time, I also had a cobbler hot from the oven. I put the cobbler down on a chair next to the back door, and unlocked the door using the key Mom & Dad gave to me some years back. The house was all dark. I opened the door a little wider, and all of a sudden, Mom & Dad jumped out from behind the door shouting “CHRISTMAS EVE GIFT!” Thankfully, I’d set the cobbler down because it would probably have been dropped to the ground otherwise. Mom & Dad were gleefully chuckling over having gotten me (because, it was usually the other way around).
Now that I am living with my sister in Washington state, we don’t do that tradition. Apparently, Christmas Eve Gift was started (or restarted) after my sister had left for college decades ago, because she said they never did it while she lived with them, and she looked at me oddly for trying it out with her. Sigh.
So, no more Christmas Eve Gift, but still lots of memories.
Many of us have some sort of holiday tradition – maybe even more than one. In my family, the tradition was, on Christmas Eve, to see who could say (or shout) “Christmas Eve Gift” first, before the others could. That meant they’d been “gotten” and they had to hand over a little gift to the person who had gotten them.
One Christmas Eve morning, probably some 12-13 years ago, when I was living in an apartment in Texas, next door to my elderly parents, I woke up early to bake a huckleberry cobbler. An hour and a half later, fresh from the oven, I carefully bore my dark berry prize down the stairs and across the lawn to my parents’ back door. My intention was to get the cobbler safely onto their dining nook table, then go and wake them up with the words “Christmas Eve Gift!” and then we’d all have that luscious, hot, cobbler for breakfast.
Carefully setting the foil-covered hot cobbler down on the chair next to the back door, I brought out my set of keys and quietly unlocked the door. Stepping inside the dark house, I flicked on the light switch to the dining nook.
“CHRISTMAS EVE GIFT!” my parents shouted as they stepped from their hiding place behind the kitchen wall, extremely tickled with themselves. I’d been “gotten.” Thankfully, the cobbler was still outside on the chair, or else we’d have been spooning it up from the floor, because I’d probably have dropped it in surprise. Very clever, my parents were, on that Christmas Eve.
Mom and Dad are gone and we don’t celebrate that tradition any longer. All the other Christmas Eve Gift events, I cannot remember. This one, though, I remember as if it happened just a few minutes ago.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you and yours. I hope you have some sort of memorable holiday tradition of your own.
Since I was a toddler, it’s been a tradition in my family to try and be the first to surprise the other person by yelling out “Christmas Eve Gift”! The person who was “got” then had to give a little gift to the person who did the “gotcha”. As the years rolled by, it was not so much about the gifting as it was the “gotcha” part. To this end, family members would go to great lengths to surprise one another.
One Christmas Eve, I had gotten up very early to bake a huckleberry cobbler to take over to my parents next door, for breakfast. Nothing beats a nice, warm-from-the-oven cobbler. So I traipsed over to their house with the food, set it down on a chair outside, and unlocked their back door. The house was dark and I knew my parents (then in their early 80’s) were probably still asleep. As I entered the dark house, my parents jumped from behind the door (where they had been hiding in wait for me) and yelled “Christmas Eve Gift”, scaring the bejeebers out of me. They definitely “got” me! They were quite tickled with themselves, and I was glad I had put the cobbler on the chair outside…..otherwise we would have been eating huckleberry cobbler off of the floor
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