Christmas was never quite the same after I discovered the truth about Santa when I was about eight or nine years old. I don’t recall being especially devastated by the revelation, I must have been having doubts and confirmation was just a reality punch.
A couple of years ago I asked my ten year old granddaughter what Santa was bringing her and she raised an eyebrow and looked at me as if to say ” Move on Granddad”
Some spoilsport at school with an older brother or sister would inevitably 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 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 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 that I told my sister straight away and spoilt it for her early on.
Anyway, never mind the twelve days of Christmas here are my top twelve tips for children for finding Christmas presents:
1. You really don’t want to get caught by parents so search only when it is completely safe to do so. Preferably while they are gone for at least an hour or so, if they have gone to the pub this is best but 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 surprisingly careless about 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 and under floorboards. Once you are sure there are no presents in the room you are in, move on to the next one. Check the attic if you possibly can. Don’t forget the garden shed.
4. Concentrate the most time in your parents room. You might need a step ladder for this but 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. Take a forensic approach. Check inside bags. If your parents are sneaky, they may have hidden things inside a plain plastic bag. Look behind books in the bookcase. Do not disregard anything if you really want to find those presents.
6. Take 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 grandparent’s house but don’t go more regularly than usual because they might get suspicious. They might be old but they are not stupid.
8. Snoop around in your parent’s internet history. This is so easy because kids know more about computers than old folks. 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 feedback 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 parent’s 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 in January.
Follow these simple guidelines and it’s a sure thing that you can can really spoil any Christmas Day surprises!