Growing up with my Dad instilled a sense of adventure in me when it came to Christmas and the packages that would show up under the tree. Being the natural born tease that he was, he loved to try and fool you when he would wrap a package.
He would purchase and wrap all his own packages, and it was a real test of your abilities to figure out what was in them. Mom’s packages on the other hand were easy to shake and rattle and squeeze to figure out what was in them.
Dad would take a very small and light weight package and put it in a larger box. Then he would load the box down with a brick, or he would put some nuts and bolts or rocks in that would roll around and rattle.
One Christmas Eve when he came home from work, he brought a box that he could hardly get through the door. I can not even imagine how much paper it took to wrap it, but it was neatly wrapped in beautiful paper with a large ribbon around it tied nicely into a bow on top. I am sure he needed the help of his secretary to accomplish the task.
He brought it in and sat it down in the middle of the living room floor and Mom had to look at it all through supper, and wonder what in the world he had bought her that year. After supper we took the annual ride around town to look at the Christmas lights and as usual Santa showed up while we were gone.
Until I got old enough to know about Santa, it always made me mad that he came when we weren’t there. I was always mad at Mom that she didn’t get us back in time to see him. Dad was the only one to ever get to see him when he came.
The whole time we were opening our gifts that evening the large beautiful present sat in the middle of the floor and Mom had to just wonder what was in it. When Dad finally moved it over to where she was sitting, it was rattling loudly, and was so heavy and big she couldn’t move it herself. She couldn’t imagine what was in that huge box.
She had to stand up to start opening it. She had waited so long to see what was in it she just ripped all the beautiful paper and threw it on the floor. Once the paper was stripped away, she discovered a big dryer box. She gave dad a glance, or maybe it was a glare, secretly hoping it was not a clothes dryer then opened the top carefully and peeked in.
Once it was open she could tell it was not a clothes dryer and with a sigh of relief she started to remove the paper inside. There was about 4 weeks of newspapers crumpled up in the box and she carefully took each piece of paper out.
She knew his tricks and she had to treat each piece of newspaper like it was a package. Once she arrived at the bottom of the box and found all the nuts and bolts and pieces of wood, and pipes, and bricks, she was about to strangle him.
Just when we all thought he wouldn’t live to see morning come, she spotted this very small package that was wrapped up in shiny gold paper with a red bow on the top. It was tucked in a corner of the box, held in place by a couple of bricks so it wouldn’t move and get damaged.
The little package was wrapped too perfect to have been wrapped by daddy, so mom could hardly wait to get it out of the dryer box. They had to tip the empty box on its side, and Dad had to climb into the box to rescue the little gift.
Dad then gently placed the little box in her hand and grinned at her. When she opened it, it was a brand new wedding set. This time it had been worth all the trouble to get to the bottom of the box to discover what he had bought for her. She was so proud of the gift because he had bought it by himself and had not asked her what she wanted.
Sometimes when Dad handed you a gift there was nothing in the box except a note telling you where to look for the present and it turned into a treasure hunt. You never knew with Dad what to expect, and half the fun was getting to the bottom and finding out what he had done that time.
With a normal package I am pretty good about guessing what might be in it. I can tell by the way it rattles or how it moves inside the box. Many years of practice has honed these skills. It may take several tries, but in the end I usually know what is in a package before I open it.
When we had been married only a few years, the only thing I asked for was a bowling ball and bag. My husband tried to fool me when he brought the packages home already wrapped in huge boxes. I spent about a week trying to figure it out by turning them over and shaking them to see how they reacted, but couldn’t come up with any ideas. But where there is a will there is a way.
When he was gone out of town one week, I started thinking about the weight of the ball that I had asked for. So to figure out if the ball was in one of the boxes I actually weighed them and then I knew that one of the presents was the exact weight that the ball should be.
I was pretty sure that the bowling ball was under the tree. The only question then was: did he get the color I wanted? When we opened the packages on Christmas, I tried to act really surprised, and was pleased that he bought the purple ball that I had wanted. The bag was also under the tree.
I have never gone as far as opening one to find out if the item is in there because that would ruin the surprise when we open our gifts, even though I am usually pretty sure I know what is in each package.
There have been a few times he has fooled me, but not many. The best part of getting gifts at Christmas is trying to figure out what is in a package. This can be accomplished in many ways: especially Christmas shake, rattle and weigh. To contact Sandy: firstname.lastname@example.org