Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Presents

Waiting and Wondering
My mother would have had numbers on these.
When I was a kid, my mother was a master at keeping our Christmas presents secret. One of the first rules of hers was that after Thanksgiving, we were not allowed in her bedroom. Next if we found out what any present was before Christmas morning, she told us that it would be given to the Salvation Army. This alone was enough to keep me from looking too much. Every year at Christmas time, we had to pick out one of our current toys to give to them, so I understood who they were. I was willing to give up one toy, I wasn't willing to give up the new toys that were coming.When we got a little older, our presents were labeled with numbers instead of names. Every year the numbers were different and seemed to have no rhyme or reason as to who got what number, but she told us she had a system.

However of all of these present rules, the one I remember the most was that we were not allowed downstairs on Christmas morning until my aunt and uncle arrived. It wasn't like they got there in the middle of the day, but it seemed like forever to me. However, my mother had a way of making the waiting bearable. When we went to bed the night before, we took the toaster, a loaf of bread, and a stick of butter with us. As a child I thought this was very special and was fascinated with the fact that we used the window sill as a refrigerator for the butter. The next morning while we were waiting, we had toast for breakfast. Then finally we would be called downstairs to see what Santa and others had left for us.

While I didn't always understand all of the present rules while I was growing up, I realize that they were one of the things that made Christmas special for me. My mother understood that anticipation is sometimes the best part of something.

Now lets move on a little bit. I realize that one reason that my mother's gift practices worked was because she had four fairly rule abiding children. However I know that sometimes curiosity gets the best of kids and they can't help themselves. For example, a friend was telling me about her children when they were younger. She wasn't sure where to hide their Christmas presents to she put them in the back of her large van with a blanket over them. The gifts couldn't be seen, couldn't be reached from any of the seats, and the kids were never in the van by themselves. So she thought they were safe. However one day, the two older kids lifted up their younger brother and pushed him through the vent window into the van. He then unlocked the doors so they could all get in and see the gifts that were coming. They never let on that they knew anything even on Christmas morning. It was only recently as adults that they told their mother what they had done.

I'm gonna have to ask Wally and Theo if they ever did anything like that because it was only recently that I learned they climbed out on the roof when they were supposedly taking a nap.Who knows? Maybe they were looking for Santa.:)

Do you do anything special to keep gifts secret? Have you ever secretly found your gifts ahead of time?