Hiding Christmas presents - Secret gift location for children
If hiding things was an Olympic event, I’d be a shoe-in to win gold every four years.
My skills at making objects seem to disappear at home know no bounds. In fact, just about anything important that I choose to put “somewhere safe” seems to go missing.
Perhaps I should rephrase that first sentence. If hiding things from myself was an Olympic event, I’d be a gold medal holder. When it comes to hiding things from anyone else, I revert to a true amateur competitor status.
When I was younger I grew up in a single-parent family with no siblings. Mum’s way of hiding Christmas presents from me fell into three categories. The first of which was to put the presents on the highest shelf of her wardrobe in her bedroom
The house we lived in was built in the late Victoria era, and the rooms were large with ceilings higher than the majority of newer built homes today. The purpose built wardrobe ran from floor to ceiling, and any presents that were hidden at the top ran the risk of not being brought down in time for Christmas.
Many a time we’d get into Summer and suddenly a present would be thrust into my young hands for seemingly no reason. Years later I discovered that the reason was simply that an unwrapped present from the previous Christmas had been found lurking at the back of the wardrobe.
The second way of hiding a present was in plain sight. This was favoured more when I had just started school and was innocent and naive.
I remember a few occasions when I stumbled into the spare room where mum was busy tidying, only to be confronted with a toy that was in the corner of the room, or in the cupboard, without a hint of being wrapped or hidden. I never had reason to go in the spare room normally, so I can understand looking back why the larger presents were kept there, but each time it happened, mum always explained that she was looking after the gift for a friend and that it was actually a present for “the boy across the road”.
I bought into this fib more times that I care to admit, and vividly remember detailing to my mum that the boy across the road was getting the very same present that I had asked Santa for. Of course, a few weeks later the Castle Grayskull He-Man set (or the Spectrum computer, or whatever that years big present was) would miraculously be unwrapped by me on Christmas Day to much merriment and naivety by myself.
Lastly, and this occurred more as I got older, things were rarely hidden, merely parcelled up and put away. Gifts would be wrapped and put under the bed, or in the spare room, and I was given strict instructions not to go near them, lest it would ruin Christmas for me as there would be no surprises.
Of course, being a nosey oik of a child, one year I delved into the drawer where various presents were wrapped, and skillfully undid one of the annuals, slipping the book out of the bottom of the wrapping and marvelling at it, before carefully pushing it back in and replacing the present where I’d found it. Naturally, a few days later, my crime was discovered.
I obviously hadn’t resealed the present or replaced it as carefully as I’d have liked to have thought I had, and I was given a stern talking to. Even now the memory of the disappointment in mum’s voice haunts me. If I hadn’t ruined Christmas for myself, then I’d certainly killed some of the magic for her, and I made a promise to her that I’d never snoop around the presents in the future - a promise that I stuck to for fear of seeing her crestfallen face again.
There were occasions when I was surprised, though. One memorable year, all three present-hiding standards were ignored. When I was around 8 or 9, I’d wanted, wished and begged for a Raleigh Vector bike. This bike was a thing of beauty to a young boy, with sound effects and even a radio.
It also weighed a tonne. Somehow, despite being 5′ 6″ tall, with a bad back, poor health and a fear of the loft, my mum managed to get this bike, which was my main present that year, into the loft in order to hide it.
She was then also able to somehow get the bike down from the loft all on her own late on Christmas Eve as I was fast asleep and dreaming of Father Christmas. That Christmas was amazing, and I was the envy of all of my friends when riding the now-admittedly quite ugly bike around the streets of the Kent / London border.
Despite thinking I knew all of the present-hiding rules, mum had surpassed my expectations, and though I like to think I’ve learnt a trick or two from her, I know deep down that I’ll always be a silver medal winner at best.
This post is an entry into the Tots100 Hudl Christmas cheer competition.