by Rebecca Talley
On Wednesday I spent the entire day wrapping Christmas presents. My fingers were numb and my eyes were bulging out of my head. My kids had informed me that it wasn't at all like Christmas because there weren't any gifts under the tree. They wanted me to wrap the presents and put them all under the tree so they could . . . squeeze them, shake them, count them, and otherwise snoop.
Usually I spend all this time trying to be sneaky buying the gifts and then spend even more time wrapping them and placing them nicely under the tree. And, day after day, the gifts are all rearranged. I can always tell which kid was the last to snoop by where the presents are placed. Year after year, I ask them to please leave the presents alone so nothing gets broken or accidentally unwrapped. And, year after year, they ignore my request.
So this year . . . I outsmarted them. Instead of putting their names on the presents, I put numbers on them. Yep, I actually wrote a number on each gift and then put them under the tree. The kids' reactions were priceless. "Are you serious?", "No, way, numbers?", "Mom, you're killing us here." "I can't believe you put numbers on the presents." "I bet I can crack her code." "Let's just open all the presents and figure out whose is whose."
And, while they were all lamenting the numbers thing, I had a stroke of genius. Since my husband and I are completely worn out by Christmas and we're the ones (the kids are far too busy resting and/or playing with their Christmas gifts) that have to do all the cooking and preparing for the big family meal with my sister and her family, we have this ongoing argument with the kids about what time to get up on Christmas morning. The kids want to be up at 4:00--the only day in the entire year that they get up early voluntarily. We want 7:00 so we can get a few hours of sleep before the big festivities begin. So, I said, "And I won't give you the code for the numbers until after 7:00 am on Christmas Day."
Well, I might as well have said we weren't going to have Christmas at all by their reactions. The oldest kids were the worst. They all fell on the floor and whined and complained. Me? I just enjoyed every second of it because this is the first year in too many to count that I might be able to actually keep the gifts a secret until Christmas.
Besides, I haven't had this much fun in a long time! Christmas cheer is in full force at my house--at least for me :).