Shouts and Murmurs: The magical secrets of Christmas
Yes, Santa's in charge of Christmas gift-giving. But in many households each December, volunteer elves step in to help Santa Claus. One wonders with the continual stack of presents where should Santa's helpers hide the loot so that curious youngsters can't peek ahead of time.
Perhaps today's parents can use a tip from those who have more experience. So I started asking around for words of wisdom and this is what I found.
Kent Wilson and his daughter Kim Wilson, 24, banter about his previous holiday hiding spots.
"I found them all," Kim said.
Kent disagreed, saying, "No you didn't."
Turns out Kent came up with a good hiding spot at least for the first year until Kim caught on.
"I had two old classic cars and I hid them in the trunk," Kent said. The presents that year included an electronic battleship game and a baseball mitt.
"But later on it was a VCR when she found out where I hid them and peeked," Kent said.
Nowadays the pre-holiday season is less secretive at the Wilson household.
Kim laughed and said, "Now he doesn't even hide them, he just leaves them in the back of his truck, I just look and say, 'Wow.'"
His daughter would have been a match for Sherlock Holmes, Wilson said.
Jerry Vick said his wife was in charge of stashing gifts for their two children. To this day he says he's still in the dark when it comes to hiding presents.
"I never did know where she hid them," Vick said. "I was always as surprised to know what they got as the kids were."
Tom Murry, a father of five grown boys, assumes they took after him and found the various hiding spots in closets and the garage.
"I'm sure they did peek," Murry said. "I did I know that."
He remembers the year: "I found a shotgun when I was about 12 years old," Murry said. "It was hidden in the closet in the box and all, and I knew that was mine. I didn't say a word though."
Did the early discovery dampen his holiday surprise?
"Oh not a bit," Murry said. "I was tickled to death."
Bill Corkins said he hid presents for five children in his shed, a place where they weren't allowed to go because of the dangerous tools.
Among a world filled with curious people, Corkins is a rare breed.
"I never peeked," Corkins said. "Even to this day I drive my kids and wife just wild because I'm not a bit curious."
As a non-peeker myself, I remember being amazed at how the Santa's helpers at our house pulled it all together each year. When we went to bed on Christmas Eve there were some packages under the tree. But when we woke up on Christmas morning the whole room would be filled with toys for half a dozen kids. It was like magic which I think, at least when it comes to surprises, is the whole point.