Santa Doesn’t Wrap Gifts At Our House
Holiday crazy takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to my family. Between November 26 and January 6, we have six birthdays and two anniversaries. Not only do we need to budget appropriately throughout the year, we have to be very careful that no one’s special day gets lost in the cranberry sauce.
My birthday is Christmas Day and my younger brother’s is within two days of it. Growing up, my mom went to crazy pains to make sure we had separate gifts for Christmas and birthday. Even if it was a skinny year, there was always something wrapped in birthday paper for each of us under the tree along with the Christmas gifts. That extra effort made all the difference during a busy time of year when friends and family often forgot our birthdays in the hustle and bustle of the season. We were never in school to celebrate with our classmates. Mom and Dad (emphasis on Mom) made it their mission to make sure every important event got its moment. Santa even brought us birthday balloons. HOW did he get those in his sleigh?!?! Mind. Blown.
Mom never labeled the gifts for our immediate family. Box-shaking was strictly forbidden. She either memorized every box or came up with a secret system that only she knew. Only once did she hand the wrong present to the wrong person.
As for Santa, he really brought the magic. We’d spend an hour pulling my parents out of bed while they fake slept, and once we finally got them out, they wouldn’t let us go downstairs until they went first.
We’d clamber down the stairs and around dad who sometimes blocked the way. Around the corner, there was the tree with three sets of gifts – unwrapped from Santa, Christmas from Mom & Dad, and the birthday gifts we could open that evening after dinner. The looks on our faces were as magic for them as the appearing presents premise was for us.
Now that we’ve had two Christmases where a kid “gets it,” I understand why my parents
annoyed us wanted to make sure they got the full effect of the magic. After saving their pennies for months to always give us something we asked for, and staying up all night to assemble things, they wanted to see the fruits of their labor as soon as humanly possible. I want that too, for as long as I can pull it off.
Plus, by the time I get those six birthdays and two anniversaries purchased for and wrapped, I’m all out of wrapping mojo. Plus, I can’t imagine spending hours assembling large toys on Christmas Eve and then having to figure out how to wrap a bike or a play kitchen in time to get a couple hours of sleep.
Santa didn’t wrap our presents either. There were 4 of us, and each kid had a designated couch cushion (with the oldest brother’s on the recliner) and our stockings would be moved from the mantel to the top of our pile of gifts. It was all arranged like in a store window, and it was awesome to see everything at once!
It didn’t occur to me until now that Mom probably just couldn’t deal with wrapping all those gifts! 🙂
We never wrap Santa gifts either. I like the exclamation of it all. The burst of excitement as they round the corner. The “Look, Mommy, look, it’s just what I wanted” moment. I am a New Year’s baby and both my daughters also have Christmas – time birthdays, so I definitely understand the importance of budgeting for the holidays, and making sure each birthday is special and has birthday wrapping! We have a separate birthday tree that we put our gifts under and slide cards in the branches. It makes it fun and festive and just enough of and separation from the Christmas tree in another room.
I don’t know if not wrapping gifts from Santa is a Southern thing or if I was just clueless and never asked my friends if their gifts from Santa were wrapped. I grew up in Ohio and Santa always wrapped his gifts. Growing up at our house the week-end after Thanksgiving was spent putting up the Christmas decorations and picking out the paper that Santa would wrap our gifts in, I assume this was so Mom could reuse that paper the following year for non-Santa presents. I am hoping to continue this tradition with my son, this is the first year he is old enough to pick out paper and understand that Santa brings presents.