Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Great Santa Debate

Last night Chris and I had a very serious discussion regarding Santa.

Namely, does Santa wrap his presents?

Yes, the level of debate in our home currently is astoundingly academic and technical.

[We’re not even going to get into the ‘is Santa real’ issue in our house this year - we’re enjoying Ben’s excitement regarding Christmas, which is through the roof.]

Evidently Santa and his helpers do not wrap presents in Anchorage (Chris’ childhood home) but they do in Seattle (my growing-up place). I’m not sure how to account for the geographical difference.

Regardless, Chris made the case that he loved the un-wrapped present practice in his house: he’d wake up in the middle of the night, tiptoe upstairs, and take stock of his awaiting bounty. The one golden rule: No touching allowed. He’d marvel at his big presents and crane his neck to peer down his stocking before quietly tiptoeing back down to bed.

This practice extended well beyond childhood: The first Christmas I spent with Chris’ family he hopped out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to survey the goods. I was a very puzzled girlfriend until he explained his midnight foray.

Last night I asked him if seeing what he’d received took away some of the excitement of opening and unwrapping presents but he pointed out that packages from parents and other family members were wrapped so they got the best of both worlds.

I like opening packages however. Marveling at the presentation, carefully undoing the bows, smoothing out the paper for use at a later date. The drama of the event is fun, you know?

So we’ve politely requested a compromise from the Seattle Santa: big presents unwrapped, small stocking stuffers tied up in pretty tissue paper.

This may have been influenced by the fact that one of the elves had already wrapped up all the stocking stuffers and was unwilling to undo her masterpieces.

Anybody else have a similar Santa experience? What is the rule in your casa?



On a similar note:

Why oh why did they feel the need to put the massively pregnant woman on Santa’s knee in the photo above? The poor guy is about to keel over from the weight. Also, I was curious to see if any of the kids noticed that the beloved Santa at the annual company party arrived in a wheel chair and was on oxygen....and how that would potentially impact his present-giving/zipping-down-the-chimney activities on December 25th. But nobody piped up.

Major props to Santa for persevering; the guy had several hundred kids (plus a pregnant lady) perched on his lap for four hours last Saturday. Talk about a workout.


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  2. Unwrapped. They seemed more magical if they just appeared unwrapped overnight. We were also allowed to open one package Christmas Eve.

    Side note -- I observe Chris is still sporting his mustache. Hmm?

  3. Always wrapped. We also had Christmas Eve presents which were usually small, and something everyone could play with.

  4. Definitely wrapped. It's part of the fun and continues the mystery a bit longer, and also shows Santa's great attention to detail. ;) I used to tiptoe downstairs too…and there was a no touching the wood floor rule. So we would stand on blankets and shimmy our way over to the carpet (technicality). We'd look at everything (my brother and I) and try to guess what the packages would be. Now at our home "Santa" wraps everything that goes under the tree but leaves the tiny stocking presents unwrapped (because his elf in Oklahoma is tired of wrapping gifts by the time she gets to those ones. lol).

    And, like Megan, we too opened one present Christmas Eve from my parents, growing up.

  5. I love the variation in Santa methods - there must be lots of ‘does Santa wrap’ conversations that occur every year when multiple family traditions get blended into one.

    Chris’ family has a Christmas eve tradition that we’re doing as well: Everybody gets a new pair of pjs and a book.

    And Megan - I would like to state for the record that 2/3 of the Jernstrom household is currently protesting the mustache. We’ve gone on a kissing strike, in fact, but it doesn’t seem to be doing much good. Chris is so proud that he’s even been able to grow anything that I have a sinking feeling that it’s here to stay. Unless someone makes good on a threat to shave it off in the middle of the night. :)

  6. I grew up in the "all presents wrapped" family. Funny you write about this - I had never heard of Santa gifts being unwrapped until a coworker told me this year that's how her family does Christmas. I thought she was joking. I will always wrap all gifts, except for stocking stuffers. It's so fun to unwrap all the gifts.