The book was Christmas Gift! and it was written by Ferrol Sams, a storyteller and physician from Fayette County, Georgia. The book celebrates a boyhood in rural Georgia and the simple joys of family, country living and childhood.
I've gone on to read many of Ferol Sams' other books and they have all delighted me, but Christmas Gift! gave Christmas back to my family in 1990. Thank you, Dr. Sams.