Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Advent Calendar - Day 11 - Other Traditions

First Posted December 11 2010

Uncle Scott's Christmas tradition was unusual because he was and is the only person I knew who did this during the holiday season. When he came to visit, before he knocked on the door he would call out Christmas gift in a loud voice. I don't remember him or anyone explaining the why he did this. A light bulb moment occurred while reading slave narratives. This tradition may have originated during slavery.

"At Christmas time the slave children all trouped to "de big house" and stood outside crying "Christmas gift" to their master and mistress." Amanda McCray of Florida

"If we could manage to say "Christmas gift" to any of the Master's family on Christmas morning before they spoke to us, they would have to give us a gift of some kind." Malinda Discus of Missouri

"De fust one what said Christmas gift ter anybody else got a gif', so of cou'se we all try ter ketch de marster." Charlie Barbour of North Carolina

Ernest Scott was born in 1897. He married my Dad's sister Rosie Lee Durr.
The photograph, taken in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, is from the personal collection of Georgia Wise. The lady in the photograph is unknown.


  1. What an interesting story about your Uncle and how his Christmas saying might have something to do with an old slave tradition.

  2. It's interesting how you happened upon a possible explanation for what your uncle said.

    I'm constantly surprised how often I find information relevant to my family history when I'm not looking specifically for it.

  3. I never knew this. Thanks for sharing. Happy holidays to you and your family!