As the year 2017 closes and Christmas and New Year’s Eve are just a few days away, I am wishing my readers from our home in Oak Bay, a Holiday Season of joy, peace and sharing with family, friends and loved ones. To help get us all into the spirit of the holiday season, the following is one of my favourite family Christmas stories that I hope will tickle your tinsel as it does mine whenever I share it. Wishing you and yours all of the wonders of the Season:
Every Christmas, our Mother, an extremely organized person, broke all records with her ability to shop early — everything was bought and wrapped weeks before the big day. While she had the reputation for efficiency, her two daughters (my sister and me) had the reputation for sneaking around the house every year to find our gifts, try to guess what they were and spoil our parents’ attempts at surprising us on Christmas morning. As we got better at sleuthing, Mum got better at hiding.One morning shortly before Christmas Day, Mum gave us a particularly strong lecture about ruining the surprise and spirit of Christmas by trying to find our gifts ahead of time. “This will be a special Christmas,” she said, “you’ll see.” We listened but as soon as she and Dad left for work, we started our annual quest to find our gifts. After an hour of looking, I climbed s step ladder to the top of the master bedroom closet and hooray, I found two identically wrapped gifts, each with our names on them. I carefully lowered them to my younger sister who was anxiously waiting below.To open them without leaving any evidence required the skills of a surgeon and that was me. Once opened, we were thrilled to find two small battery-powered portable reel-to-reel tape recorders, all the rage in the 1960’s. We spent about half an hour fooling around with them and then, using my precision-like surgical skills once again, I re-wrapped them and placed them back exactly where I found them, at the top of the closet, successfully covering my tracks. My sister and I were triumphant.Christmas morning arrived and Mum and Dad handed us our gifts. We were so good at acting surprised when we opened them to find the tape recorders, that Mum and Dad seemed totally convinced that they had outsmarted us this time. So far, so good, we thought.Dad then rushed over to show us how to operate them but as he turned them on, there was a sudden panic as we heard very clearly, our giggles and voices of glee through the speakers. We sat frozen together as we watched Dad gasp and drop his head into his hands and Mum burst into tears.We laugh to this day about how inept we were at keeping our secret and relieved that we didn’t choose a life of crime.