As I was making the “oh-crap-Christmas-is-next-week!” checklist in my head of all of the things I still have to get done before C-Day, a memory popped in my head about one of my least favorite Christmases. Since this “bad” experience was directly a result of my own bad decisions and bad behavior, I got exactly what I deserved. However, for the purposes of this story, I’m going to blame my big brother for it all instead of taking my own lumps. After all, he was supposed to be the mature one, right?
I always looked up to my big brother. Still do, if I’m being honest. But when he was a young teen and I was an awkward preteen, I was desperate for a moment of his attention. He was the cool dude. He knew all the cool tunes, the cool clothes, and was generally WAY too cool to hang out with his two younger sisters. In fairness, I was pretty lame. Both my brother and little sister inherited the cool gene, but somehow it skipped me entirely.
So when my super-cool brother hatched the devious plan to sneak a peek at the Christmas presents my parents had hidden away (not very expertly) in their bedroom closet that year, I was quick to jump on board. Little sis, never one to say no to mischief, was right behind me. And thus our Christmas caper began.
We giggled and laughed as we tore through the bags of clothes and toys and whatnot, thinking that we were totally badass. Sitting on the floor of my parents’ bedroom with all of our future loot scattered around us, it was like rolling around in a bag of cash from a bank robbery. We were drunk on our own misbehavior.
So drunk, in fact, that we forgot to hide the evidence of our mischief before our parents got home…
I don’t know if my parents were more disappointed that we peeked, or that we were so embarrassingly bad at it. In any case, they were so cool about it. There was no yelling. No punishment. Just a quiet calm, a shake of the head, and a prophetic pronouncement that we would regret our bad behavior come Christmas Day.
Our relief at getting off scott-free was short-lived. In that frustrating way that parents have, we discovered come Christmas Day that they were so right. Unlike our usual Christmas morning excitement, impatiently awaiting the clock strike at 6 a.m. – the hour when we were allowed to run downstairs to see what was under the tree – our Christmas morning was totally lackluster. We all felt like jerks as we shuffled down the stairs to see our parents waiting with their smug “I told you so” faces.
So let that be a warning to you kids. Don’t mess with the magic of Christmas.