It’s a festive nightmare when 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.
It’s the same for lots of families. There’s so much going on, and it’s hard to keep on top of everything. Plus kids – they’re SO curious!
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.
When your Child finds their Christmas Presents!
It was a shopping trip where I’d painstakingly bought a dozen or so small gifts to go into Flea’s stocking, along with a game of Kerplunk. Since I invited my Mum to play Words with Friends, I feel the need for 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, my daughter’s 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.
I was quietly ever so pleased with myself since with these purchases. Flea is going to LOVE them, and 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. 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. Has my child found her Christmas presents?
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 did you see? I had a few other bits I thought might be fun…”
Flea proceeded to reel off a full and complete inventory of the bag’s contents. Yes. My child has very definitely found their Christmas presents.
Strategy 1: Deny they’re for them
My first response was to pretend that the Christmas presents were for other people. This did work pretty well.
“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.”
Strategy 2: The Christmas Eve Surprise
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 my friend Chris for that particular bit of on-the-spot inspiration.
Like all good near-misses, we’ve both been left frustrated and overwrought. I’m relieved that you don’t have to spoil the magic of the season, just because your child finds their Christmas presents.
And I figure that if some of those toys turn up under the tree that’s just because Santa saw how much she liked them.
The downside? Well, 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…”
Second downside of my child finding the presents? 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 to get some new stocking fillers.
Oh, and not only do I need to replace the contents of the stocking, but I also need to buy new items for a Christmas Eve surprise sack, not to mention the sack itself. That’s because 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. Your child finds their Christmas presents.
Let that be a lesson to you.