When I was a kid I would get Christmas gifts pretty much year round. One morning in February I’d be getting ready for school when my mom would suddenly pop into my room holding a new pair of gloves or a package full of socks. One afternoon in July, she’d suddenly come around the corner with new colouring books or a building set. Each time she’d be muttering to herself about how and where she finally found it.
You see, my mom would hide our Christmas presents so well that she would be finding them months and even years later.
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A few years back when my parents packed up moved to a new house, she dug up all sorts of oddball things. We’re talking new, sealed toys from the 1980s, which had never quite made it under the Christmas tree; vintage lick and stick books, cassette tapes, storybook LPs, not to mention the socks and gloves that would have fit me when I was twelve. I laughed and swore that this would never be me.
Of course, then I had kids. And it happened. Somewhere in the third year of motherhood, after I’d had my second daughter and the utter lack of sleep had become old hat, the dense fog of mommy-brain took over. And I lost my daughter’s Christmas gift. The Big One. You know, the one item she asked Santa to bring her. Yeah, that’s the one I lost. Trust me, I didn’t feel like laughing.
It was the 23rd of December, the kids were snugly tucked into bed, and my husband and I were wrapping gifts. Suddenly my husband noticed one toy was missing. The One Special Toy that Grace had asked for was nowhere to be found. (It wasn’t anything elaborate or expensive, there was just this one particular Thomas train that she wanted more than anything.)
I tore the house apart looking for it, searching high and low, but could not find it. I started to panic and I began looking over again in all the same places two and three times. I finally decided it must be hidden in the closet in the baby’s room, and since I couldn’t check there while she was sleeping we called off the search until the next day.
The following morning I checked that closet, I checked every closet in the house. I searched everywhere I could bloody think of and I could not find that darn toy. So I ended up sending my husband out on Christmas Eve to buy our daughter her special present, for the second time.
No sane person goes toy shopping on Christmas Eve. It was, of course, a nightmare. Traffic, lineups, crazed grumpy people out making last-minute purchases; my husband experienced it all (and I got to hear all about it later).
To say that he wasn’t exactly impressed with my forgetfulness would be an understatement. Dad the Hero had to try three different places before he finally found a replacement gift.
Oh, and then on Boxing Day I finally found the train in a completely stupid place that I don’t remember ever even vaguely considering as a gift stashing spot. It was inside a box up on top of our fridge that normally holds junk food for my husband’s work lunches. I have no memory of stashing it there, and no idea what the heck I was thinking when I did. We ended up donating the duplicate to a toy drive..
My mother of course had a good long laugh when she heard the story. I wish I could say I learned my lesson and that I’m actually nothing like her when it comes to gift giving misplacing…. but the other day I was going through some cupboards down in the basement and I found one brand spanking new still in the box toy that I don’t even remember buying.
In fifteen years I suspect I too will be moving house and discovering treasures like unused colouring books, sealed CDs and packages of size 4 socks.
What about you folks? Have you ever hidden gifts so well that you couldn’t find them? Ever have to make a mad dash on Christmas eve to get your kid a toy? Has anyone else ever found an ungiven gift years after you bought it and squirrelled it away?