Friday, December 5, 2014

Santa Doesn't Wrap The Presents He Brings You - Who Knew?


As Christmas Day gets closer I have been thinking about the traditions that our family have cherished over the years and how they have enriched the fun and excitement of the Christmas season for our kids.  There is one in particular that I am thinking of that I want to share with all of you now - especially those of you who have small children.  When I first became familiar with this tradition though, I was so surprised!

Now if you believe in Santa Clause - STOP READING RIGHT NOW!  This post is strictly for mommies, daddies or non-believers only!  I do not want to be responsible for ruining someone's childhood by giving away a secret here.  

When my husband and I had been married for two years we were preparing for our first Christmas at home with our little boy, Matthew, and we were excited about sharing that day as a family.  When we celebrated our first Christmas with Matthew he was only 6 months old so he was only interested in eating and sleeping and we had traveled to Idaho to spend the holidays with my husbands family.  

This Christmas we were still in school and like most young couples, we did not have a lot of money so things were going to be sparse but we didn't care.  We had each other and our little boy and we were really looking forward to waking up Christmas morning and enjoying the day with him.  

In preparation for that big day we had purchased one or two small gifts for each other and a few for our son.  They were all carefully placed on a shelf in our bedroom closet - not that we needed to hide them because our son was only 1 1/2 years old so he didn't really know what was going on and wouldn't know what to do with a wrapped package anyway.  One morning when my husband headed off to school for the day I was in that Christmas spirit of wanting to decorate, bake, listen to Christmas music and wrap presents and so that is what I did - all day long.

After feeding my son I put him down for a nap and quietly went into my bedroom to grab the presents that were hiding on the top shelf of my closet.  I took the packages out to our living room where I had the wrapping paper, tape and bows waiting for me.  I carefully took each package and one by one wrapped them up taking my time to make sure that each one looked like it had been wrapped by a professional wrapper.  After I finished wrapping each package I carefully placed each one under our tree and marveled at how beautiful it looked.

I spent the rest of the day putting up decorations around our small apartment, baking holiday treats and listening to Christmas music.  It was a wonderful day for me and I will always look back on it with great fondness and affection for that first Christmas with Matthew where he might understand a little about what was going on.

That evening as I was standing in our tiny kitchen preparing dinner I was feeling so accomplished about the day and looking forward to my husband coming home so that I could show him what I had done.  I was excited!

When he walked in the door he put his things down as normal and gave me a hug and a kiss.  We talked for a few minutes and I pointed out all the things I had done that day except the presents under the tree.  I wanted him to notice that himself.  When he finally glanced over at the tree and saw the presents underneath he said, "Are those ALL the presents wrapped and under the tree?"  I told him that they were and asked him if he liked my wrapping job!

 This is little Matthew on Christmas morning.  The very reaction Santa hopes to see on every little persons face!

He looked at me with question in his eyes and asked me where the Santa Claus gifts were and I told him that everything was wrapped and under the tree.  He looked disappointed and I felt bad but more than that, I wondered what he was talking about!  In the house that I grew up in everything was wrapped and hiding in a closet until Christmas eve. 

My husband explained to me that some gifts were supposed to be wrapped and under the tree and that these presents were from and for family members and friends.  Santa Claus gifts did not show up under the tree until early Christmas in the wee hours of the morning and they were certainly not wrapped because Santa does not have time to wrap every single gift that he delivers.  This was the first time I had ever heard this news.  I was shocked!

I was shocked and then I was sad.  I was sad because I felt like I had let my husband down and how could I not know that Santa Claus actually brought gifts and that they were never wrapped?  I was embarrassed and I felt bad about ruining Christmas for my little boy.  
Here it is in the middle of the night AFTER we unwrapped the Santa Claus gifts!

My husband could see by the look on my face that I was upset and he quickly came up with a solution.  You won't believe what we did!  When our little Matthew finally fell asleep my husband and I sat down beside our beautifully decorated tree and carefully picked up each package and shook it until we figured out which gift was which.  We then took the few presents that my husband said were supposed to be Santa Claus gifts and unwrapped them and put them back in the closet where they would stay until very early on Christmas morning.  You learn something new every day!

 This was the next day, December 26, 1984, at Gma Meng's house.  See how nicely the Santa Claus gifts are displayed?
My eyes were opened to something else new that night that was never a part of my Christmas experience but has been since that time up to this day.  Santa Claus actually sets your gifts out nice and neat in beautiful piles around the tree for each person before he leaves your house!  He also fills your stockings that are hanging on the fireplace or wherever you have them, and places them beside each persons pile of presents.  Crazy!

There is one negative side to all this Christmas prepping and presentation and that is that the mommy and daddy of the house have to be up to help Santa make all this magic happen so that means they have to stay up late OR get up in the middle of the night to help.  Yikes!  That is hard to do!  One year my husband and I fell asleep and didn't wake up until we heard the kids going down the stairs.  We had to tell them to go back to bed while Santa finished up.  Hard to do when the sun is already up!

I have to say that of all the things we do at Christmas time, I think this particular tradition is great.  Even to this day with kids that are  all grown, when they are at home, they expect to see a nice pile of presents just for them sitting around the tree, some presents wrapped and some not wrapped.  It just wouldn't seem like a proper Christmas without this perfect display of Christmas.

It doesn't have to be expensive and it doesn't have to be a lot of gifts.  It is just important for it to look like Santa was there!

Happy Christmas preparations in your home!

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