Ah, Christmas Eve Gift

I thought I’d familiarize everyone (except for Seth and Kristen and Mom, of course) with a Kolb family tradition. I suppose it actually is a Wilkerson tradition since my father’s maternal grandmother was the one who started it, but since my dad was a Kolb and I was a Kolb before becoming a Carpenter, I shall call it a Kolb family tradition.

The tradition** is as follows:

Try to be the first to say “Christmas Eve gift!” to everyone on Christmas Eve and (you guessed it) “Christmas gift!” to everyone on Christmas day. Generally, this happens one on one. For example, I would call my mom back in Texas and try to say it before she could. If I can do it to the whole family, huzzah to me. But that’s obviously very difficult. So conquering one person at a time (and possibly only one person) is the goal.

Originally, this only happened on Christmas day. And the reason everyone was running around yelling these phrases was because if someone said it to you before you said it, you would have to give that someone a gift. It started out sweetly and innocently enough, but now we no longer have to give presents for losing. Instead, we suffer the shame and humiliation of loss.

This may sound simple and fun. It is fun but not simple. In fact, it involves a lot trickery and conniving to do well. There’s a lot of jumping out from around a corner and scaring people into an inability to say it to you; saying it before a person has a chance to wake up; calling people from different numbers so they can’t tell it’s you on Caller ID. All in all, it makes for an interesting two days, and some might even say it adds a certain “edge” to Christmas.

One particularly sneaky idea that Donnie came up with this year, but will probably not put into action because it would annoy people too much, is to call my parents tonight at 10 p.m. our time, which would make it 12 a.m. their time, making it officially Christmas for them so we could yell “Christmas gift!” at them but they wouldn’t be able to counter with it because it technically wouldn’t be Christmas yet for us! So very sneaky.

I recommend adopting this tradition into your family. ‘Tis a lot of fun!

**Variations of this tradition have naturally cropped up but have so far failed to stick. They are the following:

– Saying “3 Days before Christmas gift!” or “Christmas Eve Eve gift!”
– Saying “Valentine’s Day gift!” or any of the other holidays

While these don’t work, they still make the other person momentarily fearful that they’ve lost, which is always fun.



  1. Donnie’s idea is particularly sneaky! Unfortunately, since we’re in the “Eastern” (or Colombia) time zone, we’d always lose out on that one. It seems Donnie has found a glitch or loophole in Christmas Gift. Well done!

  2. Now that you have revealed your secret weapon your family will catch on and there will be no phone-answering at midnight. 🙂

    How fun this tradition is! We have a similar Ruiz (my maiden name) tradition, only it’s year-round and involves making a (slightly disturbing) silly face. I managed to pull this one off at my brother’s wedding, in his wedding video. Perhaps I could have chosen another (less permanent) venue, but at least I won.

  3. Hey Claire,

    We have the same “Christmas Eve Gift” tradition too!!! Maybe we’re related! I wonder where the tradition got started? Adam and Eve?

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