The anticipation of Christmas for many children heightens as the countdown begins and the days SLOWLY pass in December. (Funny how the "Days to Christmas" seem to speed by when you're an adult!) As children we anxiously await to waken on Christmas morning and run downstairs into the Christmas tree room to rip open the packages labeled for us!
I particularly remember one Christmas when I was about 10 years old, that my brothers, Ray and John, found some of our Christmas presents wrapped and hidden upstairs. The three of us agreed to open them to see what we were getting ahead of time! Carefully we worked at the taped areas so as not to rip the red and green wrapping paper, thus giving ourselves away in our childhood misdemeanors! We were successful, and one of my gifts revealed was a desired mirror and brush set. There were some winter garments and other things which I no longer remember. But I do remember getting nervous that our mother would come home and find us, so we carefully re-wrapped our packages and hid them back in their secret spot.
A few days later on Christmas morning, we pretended to be excited by our gifts so as not to reveal our guilt. I distinctly remember that it was no longer fun to open the presents I already knew were inside! In future years I left the discoveries of hidden presents and sneak openings to my siblings and just waited until Christmas morning to reveal what my packages contained.
Through the years I've hesitated opening gifts ahead of time, but have done so because of exchanging with friends or receiving them in class from students. I had also started a custom with my nieces and nephews, when they were younger, of delivering their presents a day or two before Christmas. With their parents' permission I allowed them to open their gifts from me. This was my attempt to lessen the temptation of opening gifts from parents hidden away!
Though each year I may open some gifts ahead of time, I still keep at least one gift to open on Christmas morning to feel the childlike surprise I did when I was younger ... except for that one year!
Julianne (Pauszek) Root