Are you a peeker? A box shaker?
I peeked once. I can’t remember how old I was, maybe as old as 10, and one afternoon, a couple of weeks before Christmas, I got wise to where the presents were stashed. For whatever reason, my parents were out of the house, and so I told my toddler sister, her eyes as big as saucers, not to tell anyone, but, we were going to peek at our Christmas presents.
And we did. I can’t even remember what the toys were, probably Barbie dolls and board games; I just remember the thrill of breaking the rules and getting one over on Christmas, which, as a child was THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF THE YEAR. Unfortunately, the thrill was accompanied by the dread of having done something wrong and the fear of getting caught. I had defied my parents, and also, it almost felt like I sucked some of the joy out of the holiday.
I never peeked again.
Now, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t stolen a glance inside a gift bag to see if I could “accidentally” see what’s inside or furtively glanced into a shopping cart during a holiday shopping trip. Okay, maybe I am a bit of a peeker.
Now, the Big Peeking Incident happened at my dad and step-mom’s house. I never peeked at my mom’s house. I never had to: my mother loves presents. She loves giving them; she loves getting them. She gets so excited around Christmas time that, when I was a teenager, I rarely had anything under the tree come Christmas morning, because, in the weeks leading up, she had already given me all of my presents.
I don’t know if my kids are peekers, but I do know they are box shakers. Once the presents go under the tree, all bets are off. They eyeball, they measure, they scrutinize. They shake. Then, they start guessing.
“Is it Legos?”
“Is it a DS?”
Their gazes fall to the floor: “Is it socks?”
Luckily, I am so disorganized that, anymore, the presents rarely make it to the living room before Dec. 23, so they don’t have much time to inspect the packages.
My father lives out West, so he sent the girls’ gifts via Amazon. He emailed me last week telling me to look out for the package and to make sure and intercept it before the girls did, because the presents weren’t wrapped.
Well, guess what? When I got home last night, my younger one greeted me with an extra sparkle in her eyes.
“We got a package from Gramps,” she said.
“Good!” I said. “Don’t open it.”
“Too late,” she said.
The older one jumped in. “Did he get me the Sims 4?”
The younger one can’t lie. She just started backing away, her face filled with joy.
“No more opening packages!” I yelled.
A little while later, I asked the younger one if she’d seen her present, too.
“Uh huh,” she beamed. Then she said, “Since we’ve already seen the presents, can we just have them now?”
So, this was a case of accidental peeking. I’ll still wrap the things and put them under the tree, but I haven’t decided if I’ll label them as being from Gramps, or if I’ll label them from someone else, just to throw them off the scent a bit. At least I know they’re vibrating with anticipation, because, even though they know what they’re getting, they still can’t have it yet.
They’ll just have to shake the packages and wait till Christmas.

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