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Monday, Nov. 24, 2014

Hiding gifts is part of the game

Friday, December 16, 2011

No matter how young their children are, parents spend time in the months prior to Christmas trying to figure out where to store gifts to keep them secret. My husband and I should be beyond the stage in life where that is necessary. We are not. Our offspring are now asking us to hide stuff at our house for them. They figure their own children are just as snoopy as they once were. They remember how they searched every nook and cranny prior to Christmas to be sure they had done enough hinting to get the gifts they really wanted.

There is no point in kidding ourselves. There are lots of homes that get searched prior to Christmas by nosy children. A cousin and his family were going to have a special Christmas at a cabin in the mountains of Colorado. They felt it would be a memorable one for their small family and had no doubt it would be a white one. Extra luggage kept the gifts out of sight until the Christmas Eve reveal. The week prior to their departure from home was spent reassuring the children that Santa would find them in their vacation spot.

Christmas morning dawned bright and clear and the snow they hoped for glistened outside their windows. The children squealed with delight when they found the pile of wrapped gifts beneath the Christmas tree. They took turns with the unwrapping so everyone could see just what the other person had received. Their 6 year old was elated when he received a helicopter he wanted but his reaction was not what his parents expected. He said, "Wow! Now I have 2 helicopters." He was reminded that he had planes at home, no helicopters. "No daddy. I have a helicopter, too. There is one just like this under your bed."

The part of the Santa story we played up when our children were small was that Santa would come on Christmas Eve to reward good behavior. There were no gifts under the tree until the night we hid in a darkened basement playroom waiting to hear Santa's sleigh bells ring. Then we heard him come in and stomp his way over to the tree. Later each of the children found a special gift (often without wrapping) from Santa but all other gifts were shown as coming from Mom and Dad or their grandparents. We didn't want Santa to get credit for everything they received. Our reasoning was it would cushion their disappointment when the day came that they began to doubt the Santa stories. Their question, "Is there really a Santa Claus?" could be answered honestly. "As long as you have someone who loves you or you love someone, there is a Santa Claus. Some day you may turn into Santa Claus yourself."

My personal Santa has it very easy this year. I was invited to a jewelry party and he told me to choose something I would like for Christmas and order it. That made it very easy for him, right? The necklace I chose was to be sent to us in the mail. I told him to watch for the package and when it came he should put it away until Christmas. At least I would have the fun of seeing it for the first time when it came as a gift from him.

That almost worked. One day he brought the mail in and tossed me the package. "What is this?" he asked. He had already forgotten that it was his gift for me. I reminded him of our earlier conversation so he took it and put it away somewhere. If he forgets where he put it, and that could happen, I will go into the snooping-mode myself. This Christmas stuff gets more difficult as we get older. No matter how it is handled, I cling to the belief that there is a Santa for everyone. Some of us just have Santas who need more guidance than others.

mdroder@yahoo.com

By Mary S. Roder
Musing With Mary