What to do if your child finds their Christmas presents

It’s been a hectic old week at the Whittle household.

Flea’s been off school, we’d had plumbers in fitting a new boiler, new radiators and fixing the bathroom leaks and what-not. And I’ve been working, madly trying to finish off everything that needs to be finished before my Christmas break – which I am DEFINITELY taking this year.

So that’s my excuse for hastily hiding an M&S plastic bag in the spare bedroom when I got back from a shopping trip with my Mum – a shopping trip where I’d painstakingly bought a dozen or so small gifts to go into Flea’s stocking, along with a copy of Kerplunk. Since I invited my Mum to play Words with Friends, I feel I need at least one game where I am unlikely to be thrashed on a daily basis.

There was the key-ring in the shape of Stitch, her favourite Disney character.

The super soft super-hero socks.

The jelly beans in a tiny keepsake tin.

The new book.

The Disney quiz card game that I thought she could play with her cousins on Boxing Day.

And I was quietly ever so pleased with myself since with these purchases it meant my Christmas shopping was DONE with a whole week to spare. I know. Just call me Mother Christmas.

Except it all went wrong yesterday when Flea and I were rushing to get ready for swimming, and Flea couldn’t find her dive sticks.

“Maybe they’re in the spare bedroom with the sleeping bags,” I guessed.

Flea rushed upstairs. Five minutes later she still wasn’t back.

A horrible thought struck me.

It wasn’t until bedtime last night, I got a moment to broach the subject. I decided to go softly, to begin with. “Oh, hey, Flea, did you see that copy of Ker-plunk I got?” I asked, cheerfully.

Flea froze, waiting to see where I was heading with this one.

Thing with kids is, you’ve got to lull them into a false sense of security during an interrogation. “Only, I thought it might be fun to play on Christmas Eve, I forgot to mention it to you,” I continued, airily.

Falling into my trap, Flea replied: “Yes, I saw it, Mummy! Do you know how to play?” she said, little eyes aglow.

“Sure,” I said carelessly. “What else didja see? I had a few other bits I thought might be fun…”

Flea proceeded to reel off a full and complete inventory of the M&S bag’s contents.

“There were some socks, Mummy, and I think they’re for a child because they were quite small…”

“For the kid next door, don’t you remember me mentioning it?”

“And there were some sweets…”

“For the church. There’s a collection on Christmas Eve.”

“And then there was a key-ring with Stitch on.”

“For your cousin. She loves Stitch.”

“And some cards…”

“They’re for Grandma.”

I almost got caught out by the new book and the PJs, but I told Flea that those were a special surprise for her that I’d planned to put in a surprise Christmas Eve sack for us to enjoy together before she went to bed on Christmas Eve. Thanks are owed to Chris for that particular bit of on-the-spot inspiration.

Like all good near-misses, we’ve both been left frustrated and overwrought.

Flea cried for 20 minutes because, “Now I won’t get to enjoy my special surprise Christmas Eve sack, and you’re disappointed and I don’t want you to be disappointed at Christmas, and besides, I don’t think Father Christmas would want to know that I let you down so close to Christmas Eve…” 

And I came downstairs and considered crying because now I have to go shopping on Monday when I’d rather poke my eyes out with sharpened candy canes. Not only do I need to replace the contents of the sodding Christmas Stocking but I also now need to buy new items for a bloody Christmas Eve surprise sack, not to mention the bloody Christmas Eve sack itself, after I found myself comforting Flea by telling her I’d replace the contents of the previously non-existent surprise festive item.


THIS is what happens when you do your shopping early, people.

Let that be a lesson to you.



Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 22nd December 2012 / 2:23 pm

    You see what happens when you’re organised?

    Actually I’m in awe of your parenting skills – anyone who can reduce their child to tears as a result of them finding their own Christmas presents clearly has some superior skills.

    Hope you and Flea have a lovely Christmas!
    Ruth (geekmummy) recently posted..What does Christmas mean to you?My Profile

    • 31st December 2012 / 12:40 am

      Thanks Ruth hope you guys did, too 🙂

  2. 22nd December 2012 / 5:27 pm

    Looking on the bright side, at least you’ll get to see the joy on all those people’s faces who will be pleasantly surprised to see you’ve bought them a gift! I guess that’s the good thing about toddlers, my 2 year old has walked past her presents hidden under a sheet a million times non the wiser.

    • 31st December 2012 / 12:41 am

      Yes, I remember those days fondly – this has been the first year it hasn’t worked! Gutted.

  3. 22nd December 2012 / 7:26 pm

    That’s exactly why I didn’t do my shopping until yesterday and wrapped it straight up! Bunny found one of her presents last year. i found out because she felt so guilty she started crying and then told me everything! Lol x

    • 31st December 2012 / 12:41 am

      Aw, sounds a bit like Flea. Gotta love a guilty conscience.

  4. 22nd December 2012 / 7:58 pm

    We pack presents into suitcases so that they don’t think of looking. Carrier bags in spare rooms are just too much temptation for my two. They have no idea that most of their presents have been in the house for weeks.
    Kate recently posted..Edible presents for teachersMy Profile

    • 31st December 2012 / 12:41 am

      Suitcases. Genius.

  5. Suzanne
    22nd December 2012 / 9:04 pm

    I had to have a little chuckle reading this but woah there, last minute panic or what?! I am sure that my middle child has found all of her presents but I was terrible hunter as a kid – found my presents every ear lol! Got to keep magic alive though eh?!

    • 31st December 2012 / 12:42 am

      I remember finding mine, too! But I always regretted spoiling the surprise.

  6. 22nd December 2012 / 9:05 pm

    I shouldn’t laugh, I know I shouldn’t but reducing your daughter to tears in this situation is an act of genius, you have my total admiration!

    • 31st December 2012 / 12:42 am


  7. Nikki
    22nd December 2012 / 9:32 pm

    God, as if shopping isn’t stressful enough once, you’ve got to go back in again – and so close to Christmas too. I’d cry just thinking about it.

    Sounds like you’re going to have to be a little craftier next year in your storage solutions 🙂

    PS We use suitcases too Kate- genius idea until wyou need to go overseas for work and then you have to unpackagain. Grr.


    • 31st December 2012 / 12:42 am

      I did hide some presents so well that I only found them yesterday – four days too late!

    • 31st December 2012 / 12:42 am

      I did hide some presents so well that I only found them yesterday – four days too late!

  8. 22nd December 2012 / 9:34 pm

    On the plus side… maybe everything will be half price and you can get twice as much, and remember to pop into BHS and buy more Biscuits that are now only £6 because you ate all the ones you bought today…oh wait sorry, that was me!!
    Rachael Jess recently posted..Lashes of London CompetitionMy Profile

    • 31st December 2012 / 12:42 am

      Ha! You should never buy the biscuits early.

    • 31st December 2012 / 12:43 am

      Thanks Emma, hope you guys had fun, too.

  9. TheBoyandMe
    22nd December 2012 / 11:10 pm

    Two words: ‘Oh bugger!’

    Good luck!

    • 31st December 2012 / 12:43 am


  10. 23rd December 2012 / 9:15 am

    hehe I knew their was a reason I am always so disorganised! I also use the ‘its for your cousin/neighbour/gran’ excuse if the postman brings gifts for my three when their at home – which they ALWAYS do – even if it means them turning up at stupid o clock in the evening they have the uncanny knack of waiting until all children are in the house to arrive with brightly coloured boxes, instead of arriving at the ordinary working hours when children are in school!
    sarahmumof3 recently posted..Silent SundayMy Profile

    • 31st December 2012 / 12:43 am

      Grrr. Couriers are the enemy of Christmas secrets!

  11. Becky Arber
    29th December 2012 / 12:12 am

    Haha oh Sally!! This made me laugh so much!!!

    • 31st December 2012 / 12:43 am

      We aim to please.

    • 31st December 2012 / 12:43 am

      Genius. My garage is far from waterproof, mind…