Wednesday, December 19

Are You a Peeper?


This is a picture of Gina. One of the few dolls which I have dressed for Christmas. She was sculpted by a friend, & was one of the dolls my Mother liked the best, for her pretty face. She has a full porcelain body, & was nice to dress because of this. Her little black boots cannot be seen, but I made those for her too.

The lower 2 photos are very dark, but I took her outside thinking to get a lighter picture, but somehow the day is rather grey, & the flash didn't seem to work.
The top photo, I took inside, but she looks washed out. Not very good pics.
My question for the day is, do you peep & pry at your presents?
Or do you leave them alone, & wait for the surprise?
When I was a child I seem to have learnt, or known instinctively, that to peep would spoil the surprise, & I never ever remember trying to find out what might be in the parcel.
If I did guess, I was always sad to think I had spoilt the surprise for myself. I must have learnt early on, that anticipation is sometimes the best part of anything.
Gom is terrible. Apparently when he was a kid he used to hunt through his mother's wardrobe until he found everything. He is still one to guess, if he sees the parcel, & I remember how the children would hide his presents until the last possible minute to put them under the tree, lest he shake them or feel them to guess what they were.
Our Granddaughter seems to be like me, she is content to wait & see. Little SG is the same, & he is very excited this year, pointing out all the parcels with his name on them, under their tree. He seems content to wait too, & has not been caught trying to open anything.
I often wonder about the Santa 'Myth' & the trust of childhood.
When I was young, I would often walk home across farm paddocks on a shortcut home from school. We lived across the road from a farm, where a family of 6 children lived, & I often walked with those children.
One day, close to Christmas, they told me Santa was not real. I was totally shattered inside, but somehow knew that what they said was true. I didn't say anything to them, but ran off home.
When I got home, I burst into tears, & hurled myself at my mother accusing her of lying to me, & I remember sobbing & saying that she lied to me, & everything was a lie, including God. There was no Easter Bunny- but I don't think I was ever really convinced about that one. I barely remember the Tooth Fairy. Yet some small part of me still wanted to believe in the myth of Santa.
I can't remember how old I was, & I can't remember my mother's exact reaction. Since she didn't believe in God either, it must have been very hard for her, to try to convince me otherwise, & I don't suppose she did.
My mother later worked with a woman whose husband did not believe in any sort of Religion, & would not let them celebrate, or acknowledge Christmas in any way. The woman was always sorry for their children. While other children had a great time around Christmas, hers had no such thing to look forward to, & my mother felt that that was taking his disbelief too far. I agree with that, it is not always fair to force our beliefs on our children. I feel they should have the right to make their own choices, but later, when they are capable of deciding for themselves.
We went along with the Christmas myth. I don't remember our children being particularly traumatised about it, when they found out the Jolly Fat Man was a lie. I think they had worked it all out long before they admitted it.
When we lived in the Hotel, we used to have a staff party on Christmas Eve, & I would go down to join in, once the children were in bed asleep.
After the party, we would be Mother & Father Christmas, & our son says he can remember seeing his father swaying about at the end of the bed, pretending to be "Just checking to see if Santa has been yet"
As children we always put a pillow slip at the end of the bed ready for Santa. Our children did the same. We always got an orange, which I think is an older English custom. We also always got a small bag of lollies. Though times were hard when I was a child, we always seemed to get a lot of presents, & were always happy with our lot.
As I got older all I craved were books, & would often spend time away by myself reading. If we had cousins come to stay, I could hardly wait to have the chance to read my new books. I remember getting Enid Blyton's Famous Five books, & the Secret Seven series.
Los Indios Tabaharas, Send in The Clowns.




15 comments:

bluemountainsmary said...

I was always happy to get books too - Enid Blyton, L M Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott - I loved them all.
My boys know about Santa but Margot still believes. And I tell the boys that I truly believe in the spirit of Santa and giving and happiness together as a family. They go along with that I think.
They seem content to leave the presents alone too - all the presents from relatives are under the tree already and they are very much left alone. J and I developed the ritual a few years ago of leaving the opening of our presents to each other until Christmas night so that there is always that jolt of pleasure and anticipation through out the day.

CONNIE W said...

In answer to your question, I am not a peeper and never was. Although as a little girl I sometimes inadvertently discovered hidden gifts while playing hide & seek with my sibs (under the beds or in the closets). Finding the hidden treasures made for a letdown on Christmas morning when I knew what was going to be there. I still like gifts to be surprises, but I don't like to be the one being surprised with a party.

joyce said...

I never peeked either. I didn't want to spoil Christmas morning. My MIL used to unwrap everything and show us and then re-wrap it. The paper was nearly worn out by CHristmas morning. I could never understand that! She could never resist peeking and made no bones about it.

Bren said...

I was not a peeper, but my sister was...still is. She knew how to unwrap her gifts and rewrap them. One year my mom caught on and took ALL her gifts back. Poor kid...she did have some gifts under the tree, but not the ones she had wanted so badly. She STILL peeks. Lesson not learned!
Loved reading your childhood Christmas memories. I often wondered if telling the Santa myth would make my kids think God was a myth too, but so far that has not happened. 2 grown men still believe in God and not Santa. Charlotte does not believe in Santa, but does have a faith in God...Zach...everything is still MAGICAL to him...I envy him!

Joni said...

I can remember my brother and I shaking and feeling gifts, trying to guess what they were. One time I found the receipt for my Christmas gifts and I began guessing as I opened the gifts. I think my Mom was shocked. I don't peek anymore but still get that wonder and excitement.

Thimbleanna said...

What??? Meggie, are you sure your mother was right? Are you telling me there's no Santa??? I'm a wait and see person now but when we were little we were awful! One year we found all of our presents in the trunk of my dad's car where my parents thought they were safe. And another year, when they were out, we opened all the presents under the tree and re-wrapped them. I'm sure glad I grew out of that phase LOL!

meggie said...

Hi All,
I hate to think of the magic of it all being spoilt for little children, Mary. Love the idea of you & J waiting all day for your special gifts for each other.

I am like you Connie, I hate surprise parties- if they are for me. My family know better than to do that to me!

I had to laugh at Joyce's MIL! 'the paper was almost worn out by Christmas day!"

It is nice that Zach still has the magic, & Charlotte will be happy to play along.

Joni, I can imagine your mother! We used to try to guess, but only on Christmas day.

Anna, Your poor parents, thinking everything would be safe in the boot of the car! LOL.

One year we bought our kids bikes. We told them they could open one present each, when they woke at around 4am. As it happened they chose the bike chain locks, so that blew the surprise, & was the end of our sleep!

peppermintpatcher said...

I hate a surprise. I peek at presents and I generally am very bad at keeping secret what I have bought for others. It's just too exciting to not do it and I can't stand it!!

Wizened Wizard said...

I was never a peeker, but I did like to secretly "shake" and feel and guess. Always loved the surprise.

You and my mother would have enjoyed meeting each other. I was a "tom-boy" who never really liked dolls, but she bought me one beautiful one with rooted hair - much more expensive than she could really afford - and she made it an amazing wardrobe. I don't know where the doll is now, but I still have those amazing clothes.

Best wishes for happy and healthy holidays ~

Catalyst said...

My one memory of the guessing game was from a year a fairly large package made a terrible racket when I would shake it. My folks told me it was a box of rocks. But when I opened it on Christmas morning, it was an Erector Set. That was a pleasant surprise.

Mike said...

I used to be when I was a kid, but not so much anymore. As a matter of fact, when I was a kid, I developed this technique for opening wrapped packages and then closing them up again. My parents never knew, or if they did, they never said anything.

Angie said...

Oh Meggie, Gina is BEAUTIFUL! You are so talented at making those doll clothes! I have to admit to being a 'peeper'. :/ I grew up with 2 nephews, and we would unwrap the ends of the packages after Mom put them under the tree, then wrap them back up. LOL We did get caught a few times. Now, I can wait. :D

Q said...

Dear Meggie,
Never a peeker and I still believe in Santa! Perhaps not the Santa of my childhood but the Santa that brings the magic of joy.
I enjoyed your memories of Santa.
My children do not celebrate Christmas any more at all. we do not do the gift exchange. We do have "Winter Holiday". We always give our kids a little something when we see them during Holiday time.
No grandkids so maybe that makes a difference. I still have much joy each day and when I am with my kids I enjoy each minute.
Do hope you also have much joy.
What ever we call this time of year, I think having a time set aside to be with loved ones is a special time.
May Santa bring you a special joy to cherish and treasure.
It is so nice meeting you.
Happy Holiday,
Sherry

h&b said...

I don't bother to peep or pry at gifts as I buy my own anyway - no surprises there !

Sweet doll !

Tanya Brown said...

Wow. Sculpted by a friend? I can't begin to imagine such a thing. She's remarkable!

Peeping at presents ... this was a great question, a great topic for discussion. I don't remember being a peeper, although I was certainly curious. I think my father gently discouraged it by telling me about an incident from his childhood. He had carefully untaped each present to see what it was, then re-taped it. According to him, it totally ruined Christmas because there were no surprises.

I think it's different when we're adults. The focus is different, and the anticipation is for different reasons, perhaps the pleasure of seeing loved ones. We have more control over our lives, not like children who are dependent on adults for their food, clothing and whims. Thus, when we get a present as an adult, there's less stress about it, I think. We can feel free to enjoy it as an unexpected bonus.

I like some of the customs you mentioned, such as the orange. Fruit isn't so hard to come by these days, but it's good to think back on the times when it was a luxury.