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Dictionary of American Regional English

Index Terms (Region, Usage, Etymology)

Introduction to DARE Volumes in Print

Used as a greeting on Christmas day;origthe first person saying it received a present from the person(s) spoken to.

23.16, Threatening to catch him for a Christmas gift next morning, [she] disappeared up the stairs.]

44GA[Black], Im gwineter bounce in on Marse John en Miss Sally, en holler Chrismus gif des like I useter.

7.270SE,To holler Crismus gif = to cry Christmas gift.

112OH,The first thing when you woke you tried to catch everybody, and you caught a person if you said Christmas Gift! before he or she did; and then the person you caught had to give you a present. Nobody ever said Merry Christmas! as people do now; and I do not know where the custom of saying Christmas Gift came from. It seems more sordid and greedy than it really was; the pleasure was to see who could say it first; and the boys did not care for what they got if they beat.

Merry Christmas. Negroes and the lower class of whites use the expression literally as a begging formula. It is felt to be appropriate only on Christmas morning. In other cases it means nothing more than Merry Christmas.

A greeting on Christmas morning. The person who is caught, i.e., who is greeted first, is expected to give a present to the one who catches him. The custom is passing away.

80, In the the North and in most of the North Midland

is the universal Christmas salutation, and this expression is now freely used by the younger generation in the South and the South Midland, especially in urban areas. The simple folk of the South and the South Midland still say

This salutation is also still heard from older people in southern Pennsylvania (from the Susquehanna westward) and is in rather common use in the Ohio Valley, in West Virginia as well as in Ohio. It seems fairly clear that both the South and the Midland had this expression from early times, and that

in Pennsylvania and on Delaware Bay in fairly recent times.

Formerly common as a greeting on Christmas Eve; usually a gift, like candy or nuts, was expected.

To greet each other on Christmas morning

183 Infs,chiefly Sth, S Midl,Christmas gift;

233neTX,Among the older informants,

is the usual greeting heard early on Christmas morning.

has increasing popularity as the level of education and size of community decline. . . Geographically,

is most popular in the northeastern counties. [Reported by 49.5% of infs.

40Sth,The usual Christmas greeting is

A few of the choices in Tennessee and Georgia are

as natives of the region will point out, is a part of a Christmas morning game and thus has a different function from that of exchanging the greeting

What do people around here say to greet each other on Christmas morning?

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