Oh, You Shouldn’t Have!

Dee Dee's Gourmet MinisJust the other day, I met a new friend for lunch and handed her a bag of our new Dee Dee’s Gourmet Minis. She exclaimed that I shouldn’t have gone to the trouble, but I told her that it was merely a sersy. Imagine my surprise when she had no idea what a sersy was!
I asked a few of my favorite wordsmiths and got an earful. Some speculated that the word sersy is short for “surprise,” or that it is derived from the French word souci, meaning “care.” Everyone seems to have a different spelling too: cercie or sursy, circe and searcy. I must have found 10 variations.
Whatever its origin, we in the South know that a sersy is a gift for no reason. The charm of a sersy is that you never asked for it. Maybe you mentioned truffles you like or a little trinket, and it is later given out of friendship. A sercy is a gift that is not meant to be reciprocated; it’s more of a, “I saw this and thought of you” type of present. My best friend and I always play down the little gifts that we give one another by calling them sercies, as if to keep each other from saying, “Oh, you shouldn’t have!”
A sersy doesn’t have to be a purchased gift—the thought truly is the gift. For example, a recipe for pepper jelly from the grandmother of a friend is the perfect example of a sersy. She took the time to get the recipe, write it up on a recipe card and mail it to me. I had not asked for the recipe, merely commented that the jelly she was serving was some of the best I had tasted.
I think a sersy is quintessentially southern, a charming colloquialism, steeped in tradition, and a thoughtful gesture.
What about you? Do you know and give sersies?