Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Question of Peeking

So it’s January. Back to reality. The Christmas holidays are over. The chocolate is almost gone, except for a few stray Hershey’s kisses and a Santa candy that I opened today, then rejected when I saw it was cookies and cream instead of chocolate. Normally, I’d probably have eaten it, but after eating eight hundred pounds of chocolate and other assorted treats over the holidays, I’m trying to get in a little better shape (what an original idea for January, right?). Note that this doesn’t mean I’m avoiding chocolate—I did intend to eat the Santa—but it means I’m trying not to eat it unless I really want it, rather than just eating it because it’s there, and cookies and cream is not a flavor I swoon over.

Er . . . okay, I was a little less than accurate in the preceding paragraph when I claimed the chocolate is almost gone. The purchased-for-Christmas chocolate is almost gone, but there are those three bags of chocolate that I bought when I saw a display of Christmas candy for 75 percent off. But I’ll have you know that I haven’t opened the bags. They’re in the pantry—the kids don’t even know they’re there (though my daughter will know once she reads this blog—Shauna, keep your paws off the Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. Eat those weird sugar cookies instead).

So in the aftermath of Christmas, here’s the philosophical question for the day: when it comes to Christmas presents, are you a peeker or a non-peeker?

I’m a non-peeker. I would never want to try to discover all my Christmas presents before the big day. It’s not that I’m wonderful at delaying gratification—I always bite Tootsie Pops to get to the Tootsie Roll in the center, and I confess to skipping ahead a bit in The Way of Kings this morning and reading a scene out of order because I wanted to know what happened to a particular character. But when it comes to gifts, I love happy surprises.

My brother was a peeker. I remember my mother hiding his gifts at my aunt’s house to keep him from finding them. He claims that finding your gifts beforehand adds to the fun—you get the excitement of finding out what you’re getting, and then on Christmas, you get the excitement of actually getting it. To which I say: dude, you're a raving lunatic. So much of the fun of Christmas is in the anticipation and wondering—the not knowing—the exquisite excitement of finally finding out what Santa brought you or what's under the tree. To find out all your gifts beforehand would be a bummer (I don’t know if my brother still tries to peek—I’ll have to ask his wife).

My husband was also a peeker in his childhood. To him, the fun was in the challenge of it—finding your presents beforehand. I one hundred percent cannot relate to that. Where’s the fun in knowing everything you’re getting? How can Christmas morning possibly be as exciting if you’ve already unearthed all the gifts?

To my delight, my children have all inherited my non-peeking ways. I don’t have to go to great lengths to hide the presents—I just keep them in my closet. The kids know they’re there. My husband suggested that maybe this is genius on my part—because I don’t try to hide the fact that they’re in the closet, there’s no challenge in trying to discover them, which lessens the temptation. I’d like to claim genius, but I suspect it’s just that the kids are innately non-peekers. This year, my younger son accidentally found out what he was getting when he went to on my computer—oops—to look up the gift he had requested and on that page was a statement that I’d ordered it on such-and-such date. He was bummed, feeling like he’d ruined Christmas (he bounced back, of course, and was very excited, but at the moment, he wasn’t happy that he’d accidentally seen that shipping info). And we still had some surprises in store--when he saw one of them on Christmas morning--something he totally hadn't expected--he was so excited that he screamed and fell to the floor. It was a great moment.

How about you? Peeker or non-peeker?


At 1/05/2011 5:32 PM, Blogger Steve Westover said...

As a kid I was a huge peeker. I'd even unwrap and then rewrap but I stopped after I mistakenly thought my brothers gifts were meant for me. I was disappointed.

Now I'm a guesser. I play 20 questions in a very sneaky way trying to get clues about the gift. It's fun and I'm a good guesser.

At 1/05/2011 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 1/05/2011 8:01 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

Non-peeker, although I will admit to hefting and gently shaking sometimes. =) "Hmm, sounds like a glass box filled with beach sand loving collected from the Florida shore to remind me of home... How close was I? Ooh, an Etch-a-Sketch! Cool!"

Sometimes we do a little guessing beforehand. A book is pretty obvious, as are DVDs. (I like to put CDs in gift bags to make them less obvious.) Most of the time, I have absolutely 0 idea what my wife has gotten for me. And strangely, the Richard Castle books I put on my Amazon wish list are no longer there, and yet, I didn't get one. =( I guess it's _possible_ a friend I haven't exchanged presents with picked them up for me.

Amazon is trouble, too, because of the "recently searched" feature, and I know my wife will use my computer if hers is off.

Sadly, one of my more memorable Christmas experiences was where my step-brother was opening presents, and I said something like, "Hurry up and open this, and then we can go outside and fly them together." (I think we each got one of those large styrofoam gliders) and I got in big trouble for revealing his present early (like, 5 minutes early, even)

At 1/05/2011 8:04 PM, Blogger Janice said...

We have chocolate too. Only I'm the only one who knows and no one else will ever find out. :) I'm a non-peeker. I love the anticipation. My husband peeked one year and then Christmas was a let down so he never did it again. I had all our kids gifts stacked in the Amazon boxes they came in behind our rocking chair. Non of the kids peeked.

At 1/05/2011 9:19 PM, Blogger Michael Knudsen said...

Peeker. As a kid I would run stealth operations under the cover of darkness on Santa's workshop. It got to the point where my dad had to put duct tape on my door on Christmas Eve. It didn't work. I just went out the window, got the spare key and made my way to where presents were.

At 1/06/2011 1:03 AM, Blogger Stephanie Humphreys said...

I used to be a peeker, but I ruined one too many Christmases for myself, so I quit. My kids don't peek either. I leave presents in almost plain sight all over my bedroom and they never look. One of them told me they thought it would be dumb to ruin the surprise. I guess my kids are smarter than I was. :)

At 1/06/2011 10:12 AM, Blogger Krista said...

Non-peeker. Even when I read books and I know a reveal or really exciting part is coming up, I cover the next page with my hand so I won't be tempted. The kids are non-peekers. My husband tries to guess, which usually results in me laughing. He's a really bad guesser.

At 1/06/2011 12:41 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Loved the peeker/non-peeker reports. Thanks! It fascinates me that some people love to peek and others (me) think that would ruin Christmas.

At 1/06/2011 3:16 PM, Blogger Shanda said...

This year my 13 & 9 year olds spoke emphatically. (and without any prompting) about how they don't like to peek & are frustrated by those who do because it ruins the surprise. I was very happy to hear this because we, too, keep things in our closet and they've never peeked so far as I know. However, we do have an awesome, the-kids-would-never-guess-it hiding spot where the "special" gifts go. They have no idea it's there though they walk past it several times a day. :)

I am not a peeker, though my hubby is a guesser & usually right on. So now I let him choose/buy his own gifts each year. Ha!

At 1/06/2011 6:58 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

I confess to being a reformed "peeker". As a child I remember one specific latch-key moment when I successfully undid the tape (this is a skill) from each gift to view the contents and then returned the wrapped gift as if it had not been tampered with. And no one was ever the wiser. I had the most color coordinated Christmas because I could point out just the right accessories to go with what I had discovered under the tree. Now, I'm the mother and I already know everything that is under the tree as my family is somewhat gift-challenged.


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