M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Tuesday, November 27, 2007  

Ahead of Schedule

The bar in my closet fell down…well, all right, it was about six months ago, okay? Get off my case already.

While waiting to get around to fix it, I've just been storing my clothes on the same makeshift closet bar we used when we were living downstairs during the remodel last year. It's not as inconvenient as it sounds. Before I go to bed, I go downstairs and pick out my clothes for the next day, so they're waiting for me to stumble into the next morning, at a time when I've been known to make some questionable sartorial decisions.

What this means for my upstairs closet is that it really doesn't get used. The door never gets opened or closed, which makes it the perfect place to stash M. Small's Christmas gifts. Never mind the fact that the closet is practically right across the hall from his bedroom. He's never shown the slightest interest in checking it out, so why would we do something paranoid like, say, lock it or even cover the pile of gifts on the closet floor with an old sweater or something? Why draw attention to it?

We assumed all was well. In fact, I don't even know why it occurred to me that something was amiss on Sunday morning when I was on the stairs and I heard him just above me say, "I have toys!" Of course he has toys. He always has toys. But something about his tone alerted me that the impossible had occurred.

Okay, not the impossible. Inevitable? Fine, if you say so. Just because you saw this coming doesn't mean we did.

Sure enough, I came the rest of the way upstairs to find M. Small gazing raptly at a small, unwrapped trove of brand-new toys on the closet floor. "TRASH!" I hollered downstairs. "CRISIS!"

She came upstairs, scooped him up, and dragged him back downstairs while I rushed to stuff the gifts in a kitchen garbage bag before he could return. The meltdown, needless to say, was already in progress. You can't let a three-year-old see a bunch of toys in his house and then not let him have any. I know, I've tried, as of this weekend. I attempted to throw him a bone with a moderate gift, a remote-control car, but he wasn't having it. "I want the crane I like best," he sobbed insistently.

Since it was my own stupid fault, I had no alternative but to swap the car for the biggest gift in the stash, a truck that transforms into a crane tower with a noisemaking wrecking ball. Can't really blame him for holding out for that. Trash helped him remove it from its packaging, while I took the kitchen bag of gifts down to the basement storage room. I didn't really hide it any better than it was before, but at least now it's hanging by its drawstrings from a hook in the rafter, like a bag of food that some camper elevated to keep it away from the bears.

Meanwhile, Trash was quizzing M. Small about what he had seen and remembered. He didn't retain everything, so it's not a total loss.

Afterward, we explained that Santa had just dropped some stuff off early so that his sleigh's not too full on Christmas night. I think he bought it. But I think we'll need to do a better job of hiding the stuff next year. Not because he won't buy it next year, but because the year after that he'll start looking for Santa's advance stash around Halloween and we don't have that many good hiding places in this house.

It's been hard enough keeping him out of the garage for the last three months.

posted by M. Giant 9:34 PM 13 comments


Yes, you've got to find better hiding places. My parents hid presents in various high and unstable places, forcing us 3 kids to work together physically and mentally, balancing on top of each other like contortionists. We earned those presents.

Which reminds me - never presume that out of reach is really out of reach. It's amazing how high kids can reach when you're a few rooms away and they have a chair, a broom and a couple of cats as accomplices.

By Blogger LB, at November 28, 2007 at 1:21 AM  

Oh, ouch. You might be able to make a trade with your relatives, where they could hide M. Small's stuff in their attic and you could hide DeNieces? I think that's what my parents did.

By Blogger Unknown, at November 28, 2007 at 6:37 AM  

yeah, you have to leave them at someone else's house.
or--and this is what my grandmother did when my father found a train set too early--she wept. It scarred him so bad he will never, ever, ever look for a present, and would probably avert his eyes if you held one out in front of him.

By Blogger Shirky, at November 28, 2007 at 6:45 AM  

Whatever you do, though, don't hide the presents so well that you forget where you put them. I'll never forget the day I found a trove I had squirreled away - chocolate two years old (crumbled into flakes and goo) and a small, pink, satin bunny covered in dust. A more woebegone sight was never to be seen.

Bunny cleaned up all right. Chocolate? Not so much.

By Blogger SB, at November 28, 2007 at 7:03 AM  

Yeah, the young man (same age as M. Small) saw a package by the door when we got home yesterday. He told me they were his skates and to open the box right away, as it was HIS box.

Damn if the kid wasn't right--they were his "surprise" skates for Christmas, but it took forEVER for him to drop it. Obviously, we didn't open the box for him, which caused all sorts of crying. If only it had been my frozen chiles from New Mexico--that would have shown him to assume there are ice skates in every package.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 28, 2007 at 7:54 AM  

2 words: master lock

seriously, a padlock? works up until about age 8. then he'll just learn to be a criminal mastermind.


By Blogger liz, at November 28, 2007 at 8:07 AM  

My parents always hid wrapped presents in plain sight.

They actually told us an elaborate story about how we were an authorized present-holding station for Santa and that the elves stopped by all month dropping off gifts for the neighbhorhood kids at our house so the sleigh wouldn't be overloaded on Christmas Eve. Santa would collect them at our house and pass them out in the neighborhood. They would pile the gifts up on top of our china cabinet in the dining room and up high on the built in bookcases in our living room.

This worked hand in hand with my Dad's story about how he had a direct line to the North Pole that he would dial whenever we were being bad. We believed him since he was an authorized present holder, after all.

I don't know if the older kids in the family snooped but I know I fell for the story and didn't peek.

By Blogger Helen, at November 28, 2007 at 8:13 AM  

My parents always wrapped the gifts and left them out saying they were the presents going to the various church groups and/or soup kitchens in the area. No one ever wondered why Santa and my mom had the same taste in wrapping paper. And truly, some of those gifts were going to their charitable destinations.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 28, 2007 at 8:30 AM  

At my house only the stocking stuffers were from Santa and all the big wrapped gifts were from the people in the "from" section of the gift tags. Guess my parents didn't want to share the credit and we were no less awed by the idea of Santa showing up to eat his cookies and stuff our stockings. I guess it helped that we enjoyed the suspense as much as the gift-receiving and wouldn't have wanted to see the gifts ahead of the big unwrapping fest of Christmas morning.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 28, 2007 at 11:05 AM  

My folks wrapped presents as soon as they came home, generally, and stored them that way. I did become something of a criminal genius.

With a stretch of time when the house was empty, I could ferret out a gift, memorize its position, take it down, use a needle and thread to slip between the Scotch tape and wrapping paper, pop one end open, and thank the good people at Kenner for labeling all the Star Wars stuff so well.

Seriously, I knew what the side panel of every box looked like. I'm still pissed my brother got the X-Wing and I got the TIE fighter.

Then I'd re-seal, replace in the exact same spot, and the 'rents would be none the wiser.

(Years later, a similar strategy was employed in taking and replacing stepdad's Playboys.)

By Blogger Febrifuge, at November 28, 2007 at 11:20 AM  

Be careful about hiding stuff too well as he gets older. My mom is known for hiding presents and not remembering they exist, until I find them sometime around Easter.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 28, 2007 at 11:39 AM  

We have a gift-hiding exchange with the neighbors. The trick is to have neighbor kids/spouses with vastly different interests so if they do find them, they do not want them.

By Blogger Bunny, at November 28, 2007 at 12:48 PM  

Locked in the trunk of the car was our family favorite.

By Blogger Unknown, at November 28, 2007 at 3:22 PM  

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