Christmas was never quite the same after you found out the truth about Santa when you were about eight or nine years old. Some spoilsport at school with an older brother or sister would spill the beans on the myth of Christmas and this would be confirmed in early December when you found presents, that were supposed to be still at Santa’s factory at the North Pole, on top of or at the back of your parents’ wardrobe.
Early December was the obvious time to find Christmas presents because it was just after dad’s November pay day and because Mrs Gamble, the Freeman’s catalogue agent who lived a few doors away, was making more frequent drop-offs than usual.
I remember when this happened and I discovered the gifts wrapped in mid-December and I sneaked them into the bathroom, locked the door and carefully unwrapped the paper to see if this was true. It was quite a shock to find some new additions to the model railway and quite difficult to wrap them back up again to cover up my snooping. Even more difficult of course to pretend to be surprised when I opened them again a fortnight later on Christmas morning!
Richard, my brother, of course is nearly eight years younger than me so we had to continue to pretend about Santa in our house until I was about fifteen, although I am fairly certain sure I told my sister straight away.
Anyway, never mind the twelve days of Christmas here are my top twelve tips for children for finding Christmas presents:
1. Search only when you are sure your parents won’t catch you. Preferably while they are gone for at least an hour or so, and if not, search while they are busy elsewhere in the house. It helps to have a quick place to hide in if you hear someone coming.
2. Look for presents in really obvious places. Some parents can be careless like this. Check their wardrobes, under beds, etc.
3. Rather like a computer game check every room, no matter how mad this may seem (even your own room!). Search all nooks and crannies, including cabinets and cupboards. Once you are sure there are no presents in the room you are in, move on to the next one.
4. Concentrate the most time in your parents’ room. Look on high shelves that are out of reach (this is an equally good tip for all rooms), and see if you can find anything there.
5. Check inside bags. If your parents are sneaky, they may have hidden things inside a plain plastic bag. Do not disregard anything if you really want to find your presents.
6. Consider taking pictures of how the bags are arranged before moving them around to see the gifts. That way when you’re done looking, you can look back on the photos and arrange them back to the order they were in. You could also use a mobile phone camera if you have one.
7. Difficult this but if possible check your relatives’ house (especially grandparents), family friend’s house, or neighbour’s house.
8. Snoop around in your parents’ internet history, if possible. They might have bought stuff online and even if you can’t find it you can at least see what it is.
9. Ask a brother or sister if they know, or agree to exchange information on gifts you know they are getting, for information on gifts that they know you got.
10. Try shaking gifts that may be under the tree already (if your parents do that) and try to listen to the noise it makes, how heavy it is, and if it rattles in the package a lot or a little.
11. Try slightly peeling the gift wrap to view a minor spot of the gift, or, and this is really only for experts, if you’re skilled enough, try unwrapping the whole thing and re-wrap it.
12. Look inside your parents cars. A lot of times parents leave receipts in the car so you could look there, also try looking in your mum’s purse. They usually keep them in there in case they have to return anything.
Follow these simple guidelines and I it’s a sure thing that you can can really spoil any Christmas Day surprises!