Merry Christmas and happy holiday to all! Chrismas is a tense morning wherever the Meads gather, as we jump whenever the telephone rings. There’s an old South Carolina custom that when two friends or relations greet one another on Christmas morning, the first one who says “Christmas gift!” gets to select one of the other person’s presents. I’ve never known anybody to actually get an extra present this way, but we are nothing if not determined and we all continue to try. If you call us on Christmas Day, don’t expect anybody here to answer with “Hello?” and give you a chance to say “Christmas gift!” We are onto this trick and to protect our rich hauls of presents we always answer the phone with an aggressive “Christmas gift!” to get in first. So don’t call us unless you are ready to part with a present.