Saturday, May 6, 2017

Confession: I'm a Past Member of the Christmas Peekers Club

Years ago as I browsed the racks at a thrift store, I found a red sweatshirt that proclaimed the wearer as a member of the Christmas Peekers Club. I laughed out loud...and bought it. (I still have it!) You see, as a child I could find hidden gifts without even trying. As a young adult, I could accurately guess what was in a wrapped gift by the size, shape, and weight of the box. And as a mom, I stumbled over gifts that I didn’t mean to see before young hands eagerly held them out to me. Peeking, whether intentional or not, seems to be my superpower.

So, the burning question is How do you thwart a present peeker? As an expert peeker, I can tell you not to leave your list lying a drawer, jewelry chest, or purse, where a snoop might find it. (I found Mom’s list in her jewelry box one day when my only plan was to admire her brooches and rings. See? Superpower!)

  1. Disguise gifts by putting them inside different containers. For example, once during my teen years, Mom put all my gifts inside puzzle boxes and gift-wrapped them. I knew they were puzzles by the shape of the boxes and the sound of puzzle pieces rattling around when I shook those boxes. Let me tell you, I was not a happy camper, and when I started opening them on Christmas Eve (as was my family’s tradition) and found used puzzles, I was doubly upset and confused. That’s when Mom told me to take the lids off to see what was inside, and that’s when I found my real presents! Mom got me good that year! You might pack gifts into tins and include a jingle bell or marble to rattle around and confuse the recipient.
  2. Wrapped gifts are harder to peek into than gifts tucked into gift bags. Wrapped gifts that are tagged with a number instead of a name prevent the snooper from figuring out which gifts are his or hers.
  3. Keep gifts in a secure area. That may be a locked file cabinet, the trunk of your car (if your kids are too young to snoop there), or inside a box labeled as something boring—think “90s Tax Papers” kind of boring. Gifts hidden in a closet, a dresser drawer, or under a quilt in the shower may be found (those are places I found Christmas gifts)! My secure area is a metal filing cabinet in my home office, a room where I spend much of my day. The best secure areas are those that you can easily monitor. Attics and basements aren’t the best choices if you are rarely in those locations yourself. Peekers love having privacy while they are snooping. My favorite time to hunt for hidden presents was while my mom was cooking, because I could search the master bedroom without fear of getting caught! 
A long time ago I learned that peeking at presents presented problems. First, I lost the thrill of surprise. Knowing in advance what my gifts were, made opening them less fun. Then, I gained the stress of needing to act the right level of surprised so that no one realized I had peeked. There was also the stress of not letting my discoveries slip before Christmas. I forgot myself one year as I helped Mom wrap my brother’s presents and said something about another of his gifts that she had not yet brought to the table. How did I know about that other gift? My red-faced, stammered lie, that I was just guessing, didn’t fool Mom.

So, while it’s fun to pretend to be a detective and hunt for hidden presents, it’s not fun to get caught—or to worry about getting caught after the fact—and it’s not fun to face the holiday with no surprises. It’s also not fun to disappoint loved ones who wanted their gifts to be a surprise. Do your best to thwart the peekers in your house. If you’re the peeker, withdraw your membership to the Christmas Peekers Club. Join me on the Surprise Side and enjoy the holidays!


  1. I was a sneaky peeker too until it spoiled all my fun one year. I haven't peeked ever again. Good post!

    1. You too? The year I teasingly guessed (correctly) all the gifts my fiance had wrapped early for me and squelched his joy was a big learning experience.


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