Tuesday 20 December 2011

Present Peekers

My daughter asked if she could open the Christmas present just given to her by her piano teacher. No, I said, Of course not. Why? she asked. Because it isn’t Christmas yet! (It wasn’t our most profound conversation.) I looked at her with a certain amount of incredulity. Why on earth would you want to open your present in advance? She returned the look with a, Why wouldn’t you?

I like surprises so have absolutely no desire to know what’s under wraps until the special day. I’ve always been like this. I never wanted to be hoisted onto a sister’s shoulders to peep over the top shelf in the kitchen cupboard to uncover next month’s stash of Christmas presents, unlike the other three – eh girls? If I do ever stumble across an unwrapped present, the disappointment can hang around for days. So, unless under extreme pressure to do so –a hand-made present from Auntie Ethel, donated with great excitement only moments before emigrating to The Bermuda Triangle, for example- I never open presents in advance.

There’s a superstitious side of me, too, which ensures the Sellotape remains firmly fixed. It’s like turning the page to the next month on the calendar before you’re actually there. I just can’t bring myself to do it. I understand the logic of turning the page; it’s the night before and it would be much more useful to see what was planned next week rather than what we’ve already done. But this tiny part of me just doesn’t want to tempt fate, to be presumptuous that the powers-that-be will decree that we should reach the next day. And it’s the same for me with presents.

I know people who offer a very polite, yet unprompted, request for their inevitable gift. I’m happy to oblige but it is, nonetheless, a slightly alien concept for me, somehow detracting from the joy of giving and receiving, even though I know it stems from not wanting to waste money which is only to be commended.

So, I’ve decided there are peekers and non-peekers, surprise and non-surprise junkies. Just like there are those who’ll read the final page of a book to decide whether it’s going to be worth reading and those who grimace at the thought of even catching the blurb. I think you can guess where I stand on that one. Are you a present-peeker?Were you a present-peeker? And if you read the last page of a novel before the first, do you also sneak to the tree when nobody’s looking to have a peep through a loosely wrapped corner? Come on, you can tell us!

To all my lovely readers, I haven't written my Christmas cards yet so please feel very honoured to receive my first official Christmas wish. Thanks so much for sharing this blog with me this year, it makes me very happy to know people are reading my scribbles. I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a 2012 full of happy times and publishing deals for those who’d like them.