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The Christmas Key December 10, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Lessons, People, Special Events.
Tags: , , , ,

“What should we do about the kids snooping around for presents?”

At the image of four tiny detectives inspecting the premises for Christmas clues, dad grinned.  Then said, “Shhh . . . here’s Hercule.”


Grasping Teddy, Jamie frowned.  “What’s her cue?”

“Hercule Poirot.  He’s a detective.  Like Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew, and Harriet the Spy.  Why are you up?”

“I can’t sleep.”

“Give it another try.  Santa’s watching.”

“That’s why I can’t sleep.  Knowing he’s watching makes me nervous.”

“No doubt.  Back to bed.”

As Jamie shuffled off, mom frowned.  “I never snooped as a child. Did you?”

“Me?  Of course not. I paid Marjorie to snoop for me.”

“Ho Ho Ho.  Funny.  Now, be serious.  What should I do?  I leave gifts in the car until they’re asleep. Then, like a thief in the night, I tiptoe around doing a quick wrap and stash.”

“So what’s the problem?”

“They unwrap them! When they find a package with their name, they peel back the tape and sneak a peek.”

“Let’s wait until Christmas Eve to put names on the packages.”

“I’ll never keep them straight!”

“Use a code.  Instead of names, use numbers.”

“OK.  But what d’ya bet those little monkeys will find my cheat sheet?”

“It’s their Christmas.”


Pursuant to plan, mom labeled gifts with assigned numbers.  One problem: she didn’t share her key code with dad before excess holiday stress and a mounting sleep deficit landed her in the hospital.  With pneumonia.

Dad had to unlock the code.  Alone.  Without a key.  On Christmas Eve.

He made a few mistakes as he swapped out numbers for names.  Of course he did.  That’s to be expected of a frazzled parent, short on sleep, with a wife in the hospital, four kids bouncing off the walls, snow to shovel, a dog to walk, and a job requiring ample time and attention.

On Christmas morning, we held our tongues.  We “oohed” on cue.

Later, when dad wasn’t looking, we reshuffled each mis-given gift to its intended recipient.

How did we unlock the code?

Elementary, my dear Watson.  We used mom’s key.

* * * * *

Join Susanna’s 3rd Annual Holiday Contest ~> Merry Mishaps abound!

* * * * *

Thanks to a mad twist of Hamlet’s Shakespearean soliloquy, Col selected me to host Haiku Monday this week ~ Enter at Haiku Monday ~ (A Twist of) Fate  

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1. shreejacob - December 10, 2013

Ha! My parents were hilariously..well…I don’t know what to call it.
My sister and I would be allowed to pick our gifts and then my parents wrapped them and on Christmas they’d say Santa sent it. I know really makes you wonder if my sister and I were even normal…because we’d BELIEVE it!

We still laugh about it…till tears run down our cheeks..hehe

nrhatch - December 10, 2013

Bwahaha! “I believe!” :razz:

2. katecrimmins - December 10, 2013

I never lost the snooping touch. When I was dating this particularly hot guy, he brought my gift over early to put under my tree. We were going to exchange on Christmas. Of course, I unwrapped a pair of beautiful gray high heeled boots (I could wear them then). To ensure that he get enough positive incentive about this wonderful gift, I went out and bought a complete outfit that worked really well with it. He was so proud of himself when I opened it and slipped them on. It was a perfect ensemble. (Those days are long gone. The beloved husband and I barely exchange anything but love.)

nrhatch - December 10, 2013

Why you sneaky snoop, Kate! What a great tale. BFF and I are the same ~ we rarely shop and wrap gifts for each other. So snooping is a moot point.

katecrimmins - December 10, 2013

Hey, I made him feel like he bought me the perfect gift! (and I got to buy another outfit for myself — win-win in my book!)

nrhatch - December 10, 2013

That IS a win~win.

3. Pix Under the Oaks - December 10, 2013

I sneaked a peek one year and boy my Mom taught me a lesson. Never again!

nrhatch - December 10, 2013

I think we got away with it due to safety in numbers. With four of us to keep track of, my parents felt they had to choose their battles with extreme care.

4. colonialist - December 10, 2013

Such fun!
I sneaked a peek once – the gift of a Gecado pellet gun was so marvellous (as opposed to the Daisy-type which was the height of my expectations) that I was in agonies of suspense for the next few days in case I had got it wrong and it wasn’t really for me. (Still have it, and it works.)

nrhatch - December 10, 2013

That is so cool that you still and it AND it works! You’ll have to take you granddaughters out for target practice one day. :D

5. Grannymar - December 10, 2013

I love this story.

Only last year, my Elly (now 35) asked me where I hid the presents each year in the run up to Christmas. She said she searched the house every year and never found them. I said “Well, if you never found them, I am not going to tell you now!”

I don’t think she visits you blog, so I am safe in telling you the secret. She had two drawers in the base of her bed, always covered by a valance, I don’t think she ever realised they were there. I wrapped the gifts and marked them with a tiny initial. At some stage on Christmas eve when Elly was busy or out with her dad, I moved them but only placed them under the tree when she had finally gone to bed.

Now I am Santa’s helper for my neighbour, she collects the parcels on Christmas eve, if I am away for the holiday, she has a house key.

nrhatch - December 10, 2013

What a fantastic hiding place . . . right under her nose! And how great that you can be Santa’s helper for your neighbor.

6. ericjbaker - December 10, 2013

it’s a whole different world now with Amazon Wish Lists and such. My son puts what he wants on the wish list. I order some of it… then I put it all back on the wish list, so if he peeks, it looks like I didn’t order anything. I just hope he doesn’t take the next step and look up my order history.

nrhatch - December 10, 2013

Go you! Half the fun of Christmas for kids is the anticipation of wondering whether their wishes will be realized. Glad that you are one step ahead of him . . . so far. ;)

7. suzicate - December 10, 2013

I was always a snooper…and so were my kids. It took us about five years before we discovered they’d found our secret hiding place years before. Sometimes I used a particular wrapping paper for each recipient…that ensued many guessing games until Christmas Day as they always oohed and aahed over the largest gift hoping it was for them.

nrhatch - December 10, 2013

Snooping seems to be a perennial favorite among the readers of this post . . . tis the season to be snooping. :shock:

8. Three Well Beings - December 11, 2013

What a great story! At least the parents tried. I don’t think my mom ever really hid the presents too deeply, but she also had the attitude, “It’s their Christmas,” I think. She knew we snooped, and just let us! :-)

nrhatch - December 11, 2013

I think my parents gave up shortly after this ~ probably because my dad didn’t want to have to decipher the code again on Christmas Eve. :mrgreen:

9. jannatwrites - December 12, 2013

Hahaha…love the story! My parents just used tape….lots of tape. Oh, and they would box things in large boxes with tools, nuts, bolts, etc. to make it where we couldn’t easily guess what was in the box. Fun times!

nrhatch - December 12, 2013

Thanks, Janna. I think Susanna’s contest is still open if you want to dive into the merry mix-up and play along.

I don’t remember my parents trying to camouflage gifts, but the 4 of us did when wrapping presents for each other ~> boxes in boxes.

10. Jarm Del Boccio - December 13, 2013

I loved your story! And I love mysteries and Hercule, too. Well, done. What a mishap that would have created!

nrhatch - December 13, 2013

Thanks, Jarm! Dad had his work cut out for him doing that last minute decoding on Christmas Eve. :D

11. laura516 - December 15, 2013

Once, my mom wrapped one of my brother’s gifts in layers of newspaper first. When he inevitably peeked, he saw an ad for an aquarium and thought that was his gift! It worked:)

nrhatch - December 15, 2013

Yay for mom! I re-wrapped two presents this morning b/c the paper was see-thru (peek-a-boo). :shock:

Newspaper would have worked like a charm to obscure the writing.

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