Tis the season to be jolly; Merry Xmas, deck the halls, all that lark.
Right so. Being present.
The other eve mother Deb and I were talking about peeking at pressies. This year she wrapped up everything that ’twas to be gifted but didn’t put names on any of them as she knew the brothers Michael, James and myself have been known to take those labelled as ours, cop a feel and figure out the innards.
“You ruin it for yourselves,” she said. “I don’t want you peeking.”
It got me thinking: there’s two types of people in the world. Ones who hold out and love surprises, and those who just cannot bear the suspense and wait. Case in point, my very self.
I literally cannot handle not knowing. This comes into play with books (I always read the first two chapters then fast forward to read the final so I know where I’m headed), movies (googling the plot either before or during viewing), any kind of surprise (when my brother’s boss had their work do as a surprise this year I was absolutely beside myself begging him to tell me where they were going) and of course, peeking at presents to know what they contain.
As a youngster I used to fully unwrap them all as they sat nestled under the tree, taking note of exactly how Deb had placed the Sellotape to ensure identical re wrapping. And jolly scott! How fab was it when I figured out where presents – be it bday or Xmas – were hidden! I’m sure in a suitcase up top of Deb and Henio’s walk in wardrobe seemed genius to them; unfortunately, Inspector Unearther (yours truly) sussed their secret stash early on in life and knew well in advance what I would be receiving every milestone of mine (and Deb never cottoned on until I told her two weeks ago).
The other day Deb was in the passenger seat of the car consulting her Christmas list of pressies (ruled into three columns titled “Michael”, “Poppy” and “James”). Unbeknowest to her, I was peering over her shoulder and having a geez. I’d already guessed a couple of things, had chosen one or two, but I managed to get through a further few before Deb clocked onto my peeping and hurriedly snatched the piece of paper away.
“Don’t!” She said. “You’ll ruin it.”
But to me, it’s not ruining it. It’s like a game, strategically scoping out and stealthily having a snoop to disentomb what should soon be in my possession. The surprise and suspense kills me; it’s far more fun to figure it out and find them first.
That’s not to say I don’t like surprises – when it comes to other people, I love it. Buying presents for chums is in my top three favourite activities, with me only ever buying something if it is perfectly suited to the person. This is why bday shopping and such occurs very early on so as to allow plenty of time to hunt out the ideal gift. (One of the greatest moments of my life was when I gave Deb her GHDs. Mate, keeping my pie hole shut for the two months leading up to it was horrendously hard, but her face upon receiving them was absolute MasterCard). (Get it? Priceless).
But although I did get a bloody good haul this year, I’m going to have to go all heartfelt and soppy and say the greatest gift was just being present. In the company of the entire Wortman clan, watching my Opa in his absolute element being surrounded by his family, joking and jostling round the table with one another. It was really special and far surpassed anything found in my Santa sack.
(Though the Harry Potter colouring in book was extremely rad and a surprise; was last listed on Deb’s piece of paper so didn’t gain the clue, plus she no longer uses luggage as present storage dammit).