I have a confession. It is not an earth-shaking one, but one that always plagues me during the holidays of my Christmas pasts. I always wondered if my parents ever found out, if they did, they never said anything. I probably should have got a bag of coal for Christmas, if they did find out, and that would not have surprised me. I wonder if I was the only one who ever did this?
My confession is: I opened up my Christmas gifts when I was little! Phew, I said it, and now feel better that I got that off my chest. I only did this one Christmas when I was younger, all because I found all of the presents hidden neatly in my parents closet. Who were they kidding, hiding the presents in their “own” closet? It’s not like they were actually hiding them, all piled up neatly on the top shelf. I pulled them all down, one by one, looking for my name. “Ah, here’s one!”, I proudly said to myself.
Of course, I had to climb up on a chair first to pull the presents down from the top shelf of the closet, and drag the chair all the way down the hallway from the dining room, then and only then, could I get my little hands on the wonders of Christmas joy. I felt a little like Ralphie from A Christmas Story, but heck, even Ralphie did not unwrap his presents, he just shot his eye out.
I stood there next to the bed with all the presents piled up that had my name on them, and looked at them, and shook them, and tossed aside any that felt like “clothes”. Now the dilemma hit me. How do I open them without my parents knowing? At this moment, I thought to put them all back up on the shelf because the “present inspectors” for sure would know. Then it hit me! I ran to the kitchen and found my Dad’s little pocket knife that I saw him use a million times to open up envelopes with, and I knew that all I had to do was to slit the tape and not the paper and I would be good. No one would know, no one.
It was working! That little pocket knife did the trick and slit the tape perfectly. I felt like I was in the clear, and got the go ahead green light to continue. Ooooh, I got the game called Operation! Awesome! On to the next gift… then it happened.
My heart jumped, and I almost pee’d my pants. Someone knocked on the window from outside. I walked over to the window, frightened, and opened up the curtain. It was my sister Mary and our neighbor. They were spying on me and caught me red-handed with my gifts all opened up on the bed. I was doomed. All I remember her saying over and over again was “I’m going to tell, I’m going to tell!”
I panicked and was about to just throw all of the presents back into the closet as if nothing happened, but I still had to tape up all the presents that I had just opened. For a little kid, I knew I was defeated, brought down by my own sister. I hurried as fast as I could taping up the presents and trying to get the new piece of tape to fit just perfectly over the other one, when I hit another obstacle. I ran out of tape! Geez, this could not be happening to me! What else could happen I started to think. All I knew is that I just needed to get all of these presents back up onto the shelf without my parents catching me. I desperately searched through the kitchen drawers to find more tape, as this was my only hope for escaping being punished for opening up my gifts.
There was no one watching out for me that night, as I had used the last roll of tape and I still had more presents to wrap back up. I was freaking out. Then it hit me like a lightning bolt… go grab my bottle of Elmer’s Glue! Yeah, that’s it! That will do the trick and seal up the packages perfectly! It did in fact, work perfectly and I got everything glued back together. I frantically piled up all the presents from the bed on top of each other, climbed back up on the chair, and neatly stacked them back up on the closet shelf. “I did it, I did it” I exclaimed with joy as the last present was neatly put into its place on the shelf. I closed the closet door and put the chair back, hid my glue and threw away the empty tape roll in the bottom of the garbage can. No one would be the wiser.
Oh yeah, there was still one problem. My sister. What was I going to do about her? She knows what I did and for sure she would tell Mom. I panicked again. The guilt of what I had just done crept back into me. I am going to get coal for sure now.
When Christmas came, I was not the happy little kid who was excited and jumped for joy to open my gifts. I was guilty, and it was written all over my face. I opened up my gifts, one by one, and tried to act surprised that I got the game called Operation. I was not happy. I was guilty, and found out quickly that guilt has a powerful hold over you when you do something bad.
My parents never found out that I had opened up all of my gifts that year, well at least I don’t think they ever did as nothing was said. I never got coal, but I never looked at the game called Operation the same ever again. Still to this day, when I see this game, I shudder and my guilt of what I had done years ago still lies deep in my heart.