One of my family’s Christmas traditions growing up was the placement of Christmas gifts before Christmas was here. I’m not talking months before, nor just the day before, but as gifts were bought and wrapped, they were normally placed under the tree with delicate care from my mom. They sometimes appeared as early as 2 weeks before Christmas day.
I loved being in our house for Christmas. The tree was freshly cut, the smell of the wood from the wood fireplace burning, the lights glowing on the tree. None of those colored lights, they were always the classic looking goldish yellow. A nativity scene placed carefully on top of the piano. Garland wrapped around the stair case railing. It was always so calming. Except on a certain occasion…..
They mood drew me to them. They looked so beautiful, enticing, irresistful….I’d want to touch, just peek, feel anything I could do to get just a little closer. But I had to be careful. I had to make sure I was alone. Otherwise the beautiful moment would end in a snap with a “TRICIA!!!!! GET AWAY FROM THOSE GIFTS!!!!”
Yep, I was the family snooper. I was good at it too. A shake here or there, I knew in an instant what it was and was 99% of the time correct come Christmas day. We always got a few sets of new clothes as kids. My mom either bought them from Nordstrom or the classic, but no longer existing Meyer & Frank and The Bon Marche’. These, she probably got store boxes with them. They were easy targets for my expert fingers. Just a sleeve and a bow, that was it. So easy to unwrap and re-wrap in a way that was completely unnoticeable. CD’s and books were for the simple snoopers, I passed those up for the challenges, the square or rectangular boxes. Cabbage patch kids were easy too. They came in an odd shaped box. Puzzles….I had that down in half a shake. I even taught my younger sister my tricks.
Of course my parents knew what I was doing. They figured it out. I was never caught with an unwrapped gift until Christmas morn, I don’t think. But one year changed the game: when she started hiding the wrapped gifts.
One Saturday, my mom was wrapping gifts in private. My sister and I casually walked into the living room and caught my mom….she had left the coffee table trunk open. Lisa and I looked at each other with huge, excited eyes. What could be in there!?! We looked over our shoulders and carefully tiptoed towards to trunk. When we peeked in, we were disappointed to see its contents already wrapped! We expected unwrapped gifts! But at least we knew where she was hiding them now. We decided to wait until my parents left us home alone to open that trunk ourselves.
The day had come, we were home alone for hours. Lisa and I rush to the trunk only to find an obstacle in our way…..a lock. Darn it!!! We searched high and low for the key to that lock. Combed my parent’s closet, bedroom, sewing closet, Dad’s workshop, everywhere we could think of to find that key. We probably found keys to locks my parents don’t own anymore. To no avail, nothing we tried worked.
We confessed when we were older about the trunk fiasco. My mom just chuckled and said, you couldn’t find the key because it was always on me. She got us there.
Yes, I am a master snooper. I loved discovering what I was going to get for Christmas or my birthday, and while there was a little piece of me that was disappointed there was no real surprise on Christmas morning, it never made me keep my fingers off those enticing gifts the next year.
I still love to snoop. However, it is different now. My husband, daughter and I live on the opposite coast from my family. Since having Erin, travel during the holidays has not happened. We just got tired of it. This means a lot of online shopping for both sides of the family. It’s great because I don’t have to wrap a single gift for those on the west coast. I just simply point, click, checkout and ship to a family member’s address. I’m smart about it. What is for my parents is shipped to a sister’s house and vice versa. That way, there’s no chance they’ll open a package found on their doorstep that is for them. My parents do the same for us: point, click, ship. Almost all of us have an Amazon wishlist. It just makes it simple for everyone. If our item isn’t there, it’s in a Google doc sent to each member of the family. Except, my parents don’t have the extra address to ship to. This means, we get the packages usually with that smiling Amazon logo on the side waiting for us. Addressed to either my husband or I. There’s no hiding place in our apartment. So, the candy is left in the open….just speaking to me…“open me, Tricia. Open me.” I can’t because both of us have received a text from my parents before I can get my hands on it. And opening a shipped package and closing it back up well enough to look like it was never opened at all is almost impossible.
This year, Amazon ruined it. Probably not intentionally, but I’ll blame them anyway. There were two ways they spoiled my snooping fun:
1) Their wishlist: When someone makes a wishlist on Amazon.com, buyers from that list can buy and choose to have the item still appear on the list when the owner’s logs on to their account. That way the person doesn’t know what was purchased for them Clever, Amazon! But, you forgot one thing: your mobile site does NOT do this! I stumbled upon this on accident. I went to check a price on a toy for my daughter. It was available for 50% off at a different site. She has her own wishlist under my account. I noticed there was nothing left on my own wishlist and in fact all items were gone. I thought that this had to be some mistake, so I logged on from a real computer. All items were untouched and on my wishlist. So, Amazon, if you’re reading this, please fix your mobile site! I already know all the items on my wishlist are bought for me! Now, there’s no need for me to snoop this year!
2) Amazon’s boxes: I’ll go ahead an say it. I’m getting a Kindle Fire HD. Yep, so excited here!!! It arrived yesterday, thanks to Amazon’s fast shipping! Yet, one thing they failed to do with their Kindles is PUT THEM IN A GENERIC AMAZON BOX! That’s right folks, my Kindle Fire HD came with it’s shipping label applied right to the Kindle’s own box! Now, I understand the reason for maybe not wanting to wasting a box and more packaging material, but during Christmas season? Really!?! It wasn’t too hard to snoop on that! Maybe Amazon can make sure that orders taken from someone’s wishlist or at least during the Christmas season could be shipped in generic boxes so that Master Snoopers everywhere can keep up with their beloved hobby during this Holiday season.
So, the Kindle sits in the worst spot: on top of our dresser, in plain sight. Texts were sent to both my husband and I with orders that it was to be unopened and wrapped until Christmas day. I should have never told my Mom that it came in it’s own box. BIG MISTAKE. Now, she’s got my husband keeping me accountable! It’s fun to be a great snooper, but these sticky fingers ache when it means there is something under that tree you REALLY want to play with NOW that you know you can’t.