Thursday, December 8, 2011

'Tis a reason for the wrapping; Sneaky mitts spoil Christmas surprises, but not sentiment

I love surprises. I’ve always loved them, even as a small child. Yes, I knew where my mother hid the presents for Christmas, but I didn’t go into the closet looking for them. Not intentionally.

In the natural course of things, however, I did find a few. I remember one gift in particular. It was a doll head mounted on a molded plastic beauty stand. She had long blonde hair, her own make-up collection, and girly hair accessories; my friends and I had great fun “dolling her up,” so to speak. That is, until somebody came along with a magic marker and ruined it all. Why do kids do that? Magic doesn’t wash off!

Sigh, I digress. I’ve recently learned those dolls are called “styling heads,” and they still make them, which makes me feel better, like my doll is somehow redeemed from her ill fate by continued mass production. But here’s my point: I found the doll before Christmas, so when Christmas Day came around, I had to act surprised when I spied her golden locks under the tree. I’m not a great actress, mind you, but I pushed my guilt aside and did a decent job of it.

Now my brother, on the other hand, he was a present peeker. He was always sneaky about stuff. He knew where the presents were, same as I, but unlike me of the reasonably clear conscience, he didn’t think twice about plundering the goods.

As an adult, I’ve taken an informal survey about how folks handle surprises. Some, like me, are big fans of the surprise element, and all the suspenseful steps leading up to it. Other peeps, well, they’re all about peeping. They don’t believe in the sanctity of the “Wrapped Gift.” These offenders readily admit their bad childhood sneakiness – e.g., finding "Santa's" secret stash, unwrapping the gifts, playing with the toys, and rewrapping them with deceitful glee, only to pose as innocent, surprised children, full of wonder Christmas morning.

There are those, however, who still cling to the sneakiness in adulthood. These are the truly shameless, the ones who really deserve to shoot their eye out.

My love of surprises did bite me once. My birthday was coming up, and my erstwhile boyfriend wanted to tell me what he had gotten me. “No, no, no, absolutely not,” I told him with naïve enthusiasm. “I love surprises.” Oh, but not this one. Looking back, I should’ve just let him tell me what the present was – then I could’ve saved two weeks and broken up with him right then.

My son is the same way about surprises, so it must be genetic. We have great fun every year building the suspense to great heights, planting small clues outside the packages, hazy, indiscernible hints as to what’s wrapped inside. It’s delightful torment.

As wonderful as the surprises of Christmas are, I love the openness too – shared greetings with family, well wishes to strangers, the hearty, pine-scented, clean air of winter, and the pure, philanthropic joy of giving.

This year, as always, I’ll send up my heartfelt prayers, and send out my holiday greetings – good tidings I’m cheery to share, with special thanks to my customized, magnetized, CrinkledNose holiday photo card (pictured below). To all who will read this, I wish you a Merry Christmas! And to all who will also get this card in the mail, you can get some practice acting surprised when you open up the envelope. :)


  1. I did pull off a pretty good birthday surprise this year, and I've also got a pretty big sleeve of "wouldn't have suspected for even a minute" suprises.... What girl wouldn't love a newwwww vacumn cleaner? I am the gift man!

  2. I shall act very surprised when my card arrives! Who me, I haven't seen a thing :) Very well written blog