Christmas Gift

A Florida Folktale 

Away down South, an old custom dictates that if someone comes up to you on Christmas Day and says "Christmas gift" before y’all do, why y’all are obliged to give that person a present. Mind you, the custom does not say what sort of present y’all should give! But those of us who hail from the South consider ourselves to be gentlefolk. The gifts given and received in this manner are good enough to keep the custom alive and well.

Now, this is not to say that this custom does not have its drawbacks. Why, the Devil himself got a hold of the eastern coast of Florida in this manner! The Devil, being a canny fellow, knew that God was walking about Florida one Christmas Day, so he hid himself behind a stump. When the Lord came strolling by, the Devil jumped out real fast and said: "Christmas gift!" And the Lord, being as fine a Southern gentleman as you could meet, held up to his end of the custom and told the Devil, "You can have the east coast," and continued his stroll. So now the Devil plays hurricane games with the east coast of Florida whenever it pleases him.

 

You can read a longer version of this story in Spooky South by .