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This weekend I began my Christmas shopping. It may only entail a few items thus far, perhaps one for myself too, but it's a start.

The mall, festively decorated in trees, garland and lights, only perpetuated my itching holiday spirit. I wandered into Pottery Barn, marveling at the variety of rustic, bright and shiny ornaments. For a moment I reminisced of Christmas in New York, blanketed with snow, until I heard a woman's southern twang declare, "Heavens to Betsy!" and was reminded I was in the south.

"Heavens to Betsy"- an expression of mild surprise- is just one of the many southern expressions I have become acquainted with since moving to North Carolina over five years ago. Here are a few others.

Cut the lights - A request to either turn off, or on, the lights. It's interchangeability lends to its popularity.

Fix me some dinner - "Fix" can be used to substitute cook, bake, or general make, as in a sandwich.
I'm fixin' to - Here, "fixin" is used to imply that the speaker is about to do something.

Bless your heart - An expression of sympathy or pity; oftentimes an acceptable substitution for whatever you would say that triggers a mother's "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

Get up with - To meet or get together with someone; "I'm getting up with Johnny later."

Appreciate it - Although "appreciate" isn't limited to the south, the preceding expression is used interchangeably-and quite commonly-with "thank you".

hush puppies - Not necessarily a phrase, but a side item of fried cornmeal that comes with food like fries. I'm a fan.

Piddlin' - Similar to "messing", as in "He spent all his time piddlin' about, he didn't finish his homework."

Ya'll - A phrase I've grown accustomed to using as it is much shorter than "you guys".

Hankerin' - Meaning a desire, as in "I have a hankerin' for apple pie."

Good night! - My favorite expression of surprise used by my father-in-law. This phrase was validated when Scotty from American Idol used it on stage (more than once).

It's over yonder - It's over there

What are some southern phrases you know and love?