Every year, I insist that whoever I'm spending the night with on Christmas Eve keep my presents hidden until I am in bed, and then they can put them out as though Santa has come. I made my parents do this, and now I make Bryan do it. Yes, I know that Santa isn't real, but I don't care. I like the surprise and the excitement of not seeing any of the presents until I wake up Christmas morning. You may think that I'm a little old to insist on this, but this little quirk is the direct result of a self-induced tragedy I experienced as a child. Let me tell you about it.
Growing up, I have no idea where my mom managed to hide my Christmas gifts, but Santa visited me every year, even after I figured out he wasn't real. For most years of my childhood, gifts would just appear under the tree and in the living room floor Christmas morning, me having never even seen a shopping bag in the weeks leading up to the big day. My mom was really good at keeping the mystery of Christmas. Until one year.
This particular year, I think I was maybe 8 or 9, I guess my mom got ahead of herself and had all of my presents wrapped and stored in a big bag at the top of her closet a week or more before Christmas. I don't know if she just trusted me to leave them alone until Christmas since they were already wrapped or if she thought she had a better hiding place than she did, but this is the only time I ever remember *knowing* where my presents were before I got them.
At the time, I was a latchkey kid, I'd get home from school maybe an hour or two before my mom got home from work and just go inside and watch tv or whatever. Except one day, maybe there was nothing good on TV or maybe I was just a curious little twit, I decided to explore this wonderous bag of goodies.
I went in my mom's room, took down the bag, and, as inconspicuously as I could at 8 or 9, unwrapped every single one of those presents to see what was inside. Ooh, lord, it was so exhilirating! And lemme tell ya, there was a lot of good stuff in there! All was going stupendously well until, rrrrrippppp! The wrapping paper on one Barbie outfit did not cooperate, and there was no way in hell I could stick that one back in there without my mom realizing I had unwrapped it!
As you can imagine, I was terrified and racked my brain for a plan to cover up this little misstep in my snooping. Finally, I decided to hide the outfit in my room and keep it there until after Christmas, and just hope that my mom would not notice I didn't unwrap that one on Christmas morning. Hopefully, I would not be found out.
Well, Christmas morning finally came. And it was the most disappointing Christmas of my entire life. Until that time, I did not realize how important the surprise of it was to me. That's not to say I was disappointed by the gifts--I had been anxiously awaiting being able to play with them for the week since I peeked at all of them--but Christmas was just not as fun when I knew what every thing was before I opened it. And had to pretend I had never seen it before. :)
Ever since then, I don't want to see or touch my gifts until it is time for me to open them. I am also realizing as I write this that this incident is probably also why I get thoroughly distraught when someone can't keep a surprise. The eight year old in me wants to shout out, "Don't ruin the surprise! It's the best part!" And so every year, "Santa" is still forced to visit me. :)
Oh, and as far as my mom goes, she totally found me out that year. She will tell you that she found me with one of my Barbies wearing that outfit i hid before Christmas ever came... I remember that I did manage to at least wait until after Christmas to dress Barbie in that particular set of clothes... but either way, as soon as she saw it, she figured out what had happened... you can't get anything past your mom!!!!