Story Weekend: Sneaking a Peek at Gifts

Don’t try to tell me you’ve never done this. You’d better not mention any gifts you’ve investigated for this Christmas or Hanukkah, just to be on the safe side, but I’d love to hear about your checkered pasts. Remember that everyone who comments on my blog before December 23rd at 10 pm EST is in the running for a $100 bookstore gift certificate.

If you’re new to Story Weekend, here’s how it works: I pick a theme and you share something from your life that relates to that theme, however you interpret it. Thanks to all of you who’ve been contributing. As always, there are a few “rules”:

▪   The story must be true.

▪   Try to keep it under 100 words. Embrace the challenge! That’s about six or seven lines in the comment form. I want others to read your story, and most people tend to skip if it’s too long. I know how tough it is to “write tight” but I hope you’ll accept this as a challenge.

▪   Avoid offensive language.

I’ll start us off with my own tale of shame.



  1. Diane Chamberlain on December 16, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    At the risk of showing my age . . . The coolest of my friends were all talking about this singer, Bobby Dylan, so I asked for his album for Christmas. The way my friends talked about him, I thought he must be the most amazing singer ever. I couldn’t wait to hear him, so I found the hidden album, carefully unwrapped it and popped the vinyl on my record player. Yikes! I came to appreciate him in time, but that first listen was quite a jolt.

    • Sandra Driscoll on December 21, 2011 at 7:30 am

      One Christmas, my Mum had decided to give us all cheques. When opening our Christmas cards from her, we found the plain white envelopes with ‘DO NOT OPENED UNTIL 25TH DECEMBER’ on the reverse. One afternoon, my daughter commented that she knew the value of her cheque and I asked her how, she replied “it didn’t say that you couldn’t put it up to the light before Christmas.” I had to laugh. One afternoon, curiosity got the better of me, although I wasn’t quite as lucky as her and had to put it down to find my reading glasses!!!

  2. Rob lopresti on December 16, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    One pre-.Christmas day when i was a kid i happened to lok out the window and saw my father walking toward the house carrying a brand new sled. He saw me and jumped out of sight. I pretended i hadn’t seen it. I dont know whether he believed me.

  3. Corey Balazowich on December 16, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    My cat was missing and I couldn’t find her, she had a penchant for darting outside as soon as the door was opened and I thought she had gone out. I searched all over the house looking for her but couldn’t uncover her. One of the last places I was looking was in my parents room in their closet where I discovered Baby Heather, THE gift that I wanted for Christmas. I chirped in glee and ran out to tell my Mom in a gush how excited I was for her and got in so much trouble for “snooping” when I was honestly looking for the cat. They threatened to take her back as punishment and I worked up tears to luckily save Baby Heather. The joke was on me though, she died the day after Christmas and she was such a hot item they were sold out and I never got a replacement.

  4. Sheree Gillcrist on December 17, 2011 at 9:03 am

    The rustle of bags at Christmas time in my mother’s bedroom was like circling the wagons for this young heart. While mom retired to the kitchen to get reaquainted with the dough dish, I slipped into her bedroom and rifled through the bags on her bed. That year I found two reversible pleated wool skirts in shades of blue and brown and was devasted as there was not a mini skirt in sight. I proceeded to enter the kitchen at my own peril and ‘request’ that the blue skirt be mine as I could always roll it up under my sweater. My mother was less than impressed and threatened to return them both to the store. The really sad thing was that she didn’t and I had to dress like a dork for a If I had to guess I bet she still has that skirt somewhere in her house because as she like to tell us then . ‘They last forever’. Well the memory does anyway:}

  5. Cathey Biondo on December 17, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Since Santa didn’t wrap our presents (he didn’t have time!), and I was the 1st one up, I checked out my twinn sisters pile and switched the sweater in her pile to mine. Needless to say, my mother ratted me out.

  6. Laurie Truesdell on December 17, 2011 at 11:13 am

    We just had to know. What were we getting? We looked and looked and looked. Lo and behold, our parents’ closet held the mother lode! We were so excited we could barely contain ourselves! Then it hit us. We knew what we were getting. There would be no surprise. That was probably the most disappointing Christmas for my brother and I. We totally ruined it. But on the bright side, we actually learned a lesson. Imagine that. Our parents were right.

  7. Cheryl Phillips on December 17, 2011 at 11:13 am

    When I was about 12 my brother and snuck down stairs to look at the presents under the tree. He talked me into opening them carfully to see what they were and then we wrapped them backup. The next morning I and my brother were yelling out where the presents were and for whom. My mom asked how we knew.. I told her it was a dream I had.. Later when we were grown and had kids we were telling out kids about it and my mom was in the other room.. all of a sudden we hear ” I knew it was not a dream!!”

  8. Kim Smith on December 17, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Back in the days of Cabbage Patch Dolls, I wanted one. Just before school got out for Christmas break, I had gotten sick and stayed home. During the day I thought I heard something and went to the corner window to look out. We had one of those console TVs that was diagonal in the living room corner under the window I was looking out. Something caught my eye and I looked down and there was my Cabbage Patch Doll sitting in the space between the tv and the corner. After the excitement wore off I realized I was gonna have to act surprised on Christmas morning. I was so disappointed in myself.

  9. Margo on December 17, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Diane, you won’t believe this but I never did that!
    These stories are great…I’ve been laughing over every one of them!

  10. Carol Robinson on December 17, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I was fifteen when we moved one town over and I had to change schools. All I wanted for Christmas was a yellow ten speed bike so I could go “home” at will. One weekend in December I was visiting friends in the old town and we were shopping. We walked into a bike store and I started reading the tags on all the yellow bikes. Oh, JOY! There was one with my mom’s name on the tag! Christmas morning I tried to act surprised but I’m not much of an actress. Especially in the morning because sleep does not give up on me easily.. That bike took a huge sacrifice for my mom to afford so she was hugely disappointed at my reaction. I told Mom the story of the discovery and we laughed about it. I learned a big lesson about not trampling someone’s joy of giving.

  11. Audrey Bonnell on December 17, 2011 at 11:32 am

    My mom would buy for us kids all year long and then hide them (sometimes she would forget where she hid them, but that could be another story) I don’t remember what it was that I wanted that year but I was a really big snoop. My mom’s favorite hiding space was the pockets of her clothes hanging in the closet. To my surprise I found a ruby ring, my birthstone. I was so excited that I gushed that I found it. Mad is not the word I could use for her reaction.

  12. Jayna Lalli on December 17, 2011 at 11:44 am

    “It’s better to do for others during the holiday season than to buy for others,” is what my 4th grade teacher told us. Since my mom spent SO much time doing the laundry for our family of 5, I thought I would take Mrs. Fullerton’s advise and do some laundry for my mom. I never even got close to the washing maching. Upon opening the laundry room door, imagine my surprise when my 9 year old eyes froze on the laundry table FULL of our Christmas gifts. I don’t think my mom expected any of us to go into that room… and I never told her I was…

  13. Glynis Smy on December 17, 2011 at 11:45 am

    In 1975 I helped my boyfriend’s mother unpack the shopping. Unbeknown to us, my boyfriend had slipped a small wrapped gift into the bag, obviously to be smuggled into the house by his mother. Although it wasn’t a sneaky look, I will share what happened. We unwrapped it to see what it was. She thought it was a freebie from the store.

    That is why I got engaged in her kitchen on the 20th of December and not around the tree on the 25th! After 32 years I am still wearing her ‘corner shop freebie’ with pride. 😀

  14. Christina Wible on December 17, 2011 at 11:53 am

    As a child I perfected the art of peeking. You see, I was never able to go to sleep at the appointed time so I would creep from my bedroom into the hallway and watch the Yankee’s games from behind the curtain that stretched across the door from the hall to the living room. Christmastime was the best time to practice my art and I always knew what I was getting. The year that I most remember peeking was the year my father lugged my first big two-wheeler (a cast-off he had found somewhere) into the livingroom. As I beamed for joy from behind the curtain he turned, looked directly at the curtain and said, “You didn’t think I was going to try to hide this, did you?” I was busted.

  15. Raven Kostey on December 17, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    When I was about 6 or 7, barbies were all the rage! All I wanted that Christmas was a barbie dream house, for my barbies to live in of course. My family lived in four level Victorian home, with a basement of course. My parents favorite hiding place would definitely have been the basement. So one day I saw that the car had been parked outside the hatch leading to the basement. I was curious, so I went to go and see what my father was doing downstairs. As soon as I opened the door my mother was on the other side of it, and slammed it shut right in my face. Of course to a 6 year old, this takes you very off guard. I fell, and started crying dramatically. My mother came out and told me it was my own fault for trying to snoop. Needless to say, Xmas morning came and there was my dream house, all pretty and put together waiting for me. They told me that was what was in the basement. The surprise was so amazing, I swore I would never snoop again!

  16. Mary Colgin on December 17, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I never really knew that as a child, we would have been considered poor. We never missed a meal, and always had a roof over our heads. Mom made all of our clothes, and we were not any different that most of the kids in our neighborhood. At Christmas, if we were REALLY good, we could ask for one thing from Santa, and be assured “he” would do his best to see we got that one gift. I remember asking for an Easy Bake Oven. I talked and talked about it, at every family meal, before going to bed, wanting to be sure that Santa got the message.
    I remember Christmas morning, not only finding my Easy Bake Oven, but a walking doll that was as tall as I was. If you held her hand and leaned just slightly, she would lift each leg to take her steps. Oddly though, she was dressed in the same fabric as the scraps I had seen in my mother’s sewing area!

  17. Amy Wright on December 17, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    My sister always tried to find our presents before Christmas. I was never interested – I preferred the element of surprise.
    In the lead up to Christmas the year I was twelve my sister convinced me to search with her. By sheer luck we found where Mum had stashed the presents in the garage. Amongst them were a doll and a board game I’d been begging for. Being very dramatic as a child upon the discovery I turned to my sister and said “You realise if we wake up on Christmas morning and find these at the end of our beds…there’s no Santa!?”
    Sure enough on Christmas Day there they were – the same doll and board game. I cried all day, my mother was furious with us for snooping, and my sister never, ever suggested looking for our presents again.

  18. Lori Wicker on December 17, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    My brother, seven years older than I, reminded me that Santa delivers all presents on Christmas Eve. So for many-many years that’s what I believed. Never had the urge to even sneak a peek even when I was older.
    I guess Santa still lives in my heart, even until this day!

    Merry Christmas!

  19. Liz on December 18, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    I never did peek at any gifts under the Christmas tree. Despite waking up at 4am or earlier as an excited child on Christmas, I just couldn’t bring myself to rip a single square of wrapping paper to see what might be underneath. Instead I did with the brightly colored packages what I always did (and still do) with books. I picked up and allowed my hands to feel the weight of what could be, and then I lifted them up to my nose and inhaled the scent of magic. But I never did allow myself to peek, why that would be like flipping to a random page in a book I have not yet read. How could a ruin a surprise?

    • Liz on December 19, 2011 at 7:10 am


  20. Joanna on December 18, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    When I was younger I was very snoopy. One Christmas I had to know what I had under the tree, so when I was alone at home I unwrapped the gifts to peek in what was inside. Then of course I wrapped them up again. My mom bought me a watch but she did not want to make it obvious and leave it in a small box, on Christmas I found it inside a tissue box!!! But when I was peeking few days before there was nothing but tissues in the box which made me say to myself “why am i getting a box of tissues?”. My mom knew I peeked in by my priceless face on Christmas when i saw the watch in the tissue box. Since then I have not peeked in at my presents!

  21. Cindy on December 18, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    I was the oldest of 3 children. Both my brothers were younger and the second one by 7 years. So Santa never was not believed in at my house. On Christmas Eve we exchanged all our gifts. My grandparents were present for a dinner and all. Christmas morning my brothers and I would wake up and our gifts would be around the tree unwrapped. As I got older, sleeping became more important than jumping up at 4am to see what Santa had given us. When I was about 14 I decided to stay awake until Santa put our presents under the tree. I peeked at about 11:00 pm..So there was nothing left to see in the morning. That was the most miserable Christmas of my life. I learned the lesson early in life…And I still hate it if I find out what my Christmas presents are before Christmas Day. Now that my kids are grown with families of their own, we gather on Christmas Day to open gifts and have dinner. I let them dictate to me what time we have dinner and presents..allowing time for them to share Christmas with their own families and their inlaws as well. For me the later in the Day the better. I hate for Christmas to end and so the later the better 🙂

    • Cindy on December 18, 2011 at 11:09 pm

      I have to add that this Christmas is an exception…I recieved a new laptop today:) Hopefully I won’t be too disappointed on Christmas Day. maybe I will get a pair of socks in my stocking 🙂

  22. Mrs Mommy Booknerc on December 18, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Well, I am not a sneak…but my brother was. One Christmas my brother told me every single gift I was going to get…expect for What Santa brought.. Santa was my sliver lining that year. Never snooped after that…so few suprises, no need to ruin the few we get!

  23. Connie Williamson on December 18, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Every year at Christmas, my sister Sally sends me a present, which she does NOT Christmas wrap. It’s just in the plain brown box from the post office. The first few years, I opened it and when my husband objected, “IT’S NOT CHRISTMAS YET!” I would plead innocence and fib that I thought it would most certainly have holiday wrappings on it, and that I couldn’t be blamed for such an innocent offense. After about 3 years, he was completely on to me, and since he arrives home before me, he HIDES Sally’s gift until Christmas morning. Sigh. Can’t get anything by the man.

  24. JoAnne McCrone-Ephraim on December 19, 2011 at 1:23 am

    I’ve been a World Class Snooper ever since learning Santa only lived in our hearts! One year a Hi-Fi was on the top of my wish list and I searched long and hard until I found it. However, it did not appear under our tree on Christmas morning. I figured it was self-inflected punishment for snooping and moved on, for what could I say!

    It wasn’t until the 12th day of Christmas, Epiphany and my birthday, that I finally received the coveted gift. Although I should have learned my lesson, snooping is still an annual sport of mine. It’s becoming a bit more challenging though, for my husband is becoming a World Class Hider!

  25. Jude Gagner on December 20, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    When I was 7, I checked out every present under the tree with my name on it. I was intrigued with the one from my great-grandmother, so I took it under the dining room table and opened it. It was a pretty, small, red coin purse. I wrapped it back up and put it back under the tree, thinking that my mother wouldn’t notice the crumbled paper and my childish rewrapping job. Of course she noticed, but she just said in passing that Santa wouldn’t be very happy if children opened their gifts before Christmas morning.

  26. AJ on December 22, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I can honestly say, I have never looked for Christmas presents before the day. Even as a kid, I loved the feeling of being surprised and the feeling of excitement the night before, I knew if I had looked at what I was getting, there would be no surprise on the morning of Christmas.

  27. Hazel on December 18, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Christmas 2011 all that i wanted was a kindle. i saw that my uncle had come from the UK, and arrived with a slim looking pack, which he handed to my mum.
    2 days later while my parents were out, i went a checked in the top space of their wardrobe (LAME hiding place) and found not only that kindle, but my sisters game that she had begged for all year round!
    the good news is no one caught me! but when it came to handing out the presents, we got them all but the big ones (the kindle and the game) which were still under the tree. i think my mum may have suspected that i peeked, because she told us that those presents were for some friends of ours. we eventually got our prezzies (YAY!) i WILL sneak again this year (already did) but i will straighten up on my acting so i get my prezzies ON TIME!

  28. Kristen on November 13, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Hi Diane, I wanted to know where you got the photo from for this blog posting? Because I do not recall signing rights out to have this used on a public site.

Leave a Comment