Wednesday, November 22, 2006


A while ago, my pal roro had a wonderful post about presents. Specifically, the first present you remember making or giving your parents.

I've agonized for days, now. Surely, at some point in my youth I gave my parents SOMETHING that I specifically intended to be a present, something that I wasn't told was a present to begin with (ie. today we're making flowers to give to your mom).

It doesn't help that my parents had a hippyish attitude to so-called "material things". My brother and I had a lot of crayons and dress-up clothes and lego, and a few dinky toys and random no-name Barbie's inherited from cousins and aunties. (PS, the blog that barbie pic came from is a must see - top marks for creepy doll obsession in another language, whoever you are!)

ANYWAY, my parents not only discouraged violent/war/weaponry toys, they discouraged gift giving in general. Not that we didn't get presents, because that is certainly not the case. They just didn't go crazy - it was a quality not quantity sort of scenario, which I think makes a lot of sense.

Only problem is, when you're 6, your idea of a "quality" gift can I've mentioned before, but to recap, my family didn't do christmas or birthday's until I was 14 or so. Yeah, I know, seems weird - but trust me, when you grow up with it you really don't know anything different. All this to say that gift giving was usually a pretty random event - for the adults, at least. Kids tended to get stuff at the beginning and end of the school year, that sort of thing.

I remember my brother and I being obsessed with the idea of surprises. Ideally a treasure hunt with a surprise at the end of it. I have NO IDEA where this obsession came from. I remember spending the better part of the afternoon creating a trail of notes for my dad's arrival - and this was PRE post-it notes, people. I think we tried to get tape from mom, who was a willing conspirator, and used a combination of that and sheer five-year-old ingenuity to stick the notes where we thought they should go.

For example - The first note, on the front door, read "go to the living room". The one in the living room read "go to the kitchen". One in the kitchen read "go to the basement". The clues would frequently intersect, so if you were en route to the kitchen, you had to ignore the clue in the hallway that came later in the game. You get the idea. At the end, the "treasure hunt" would usually lead to my brother and I, hiding somewhere (linen closet, under the blankets on my parents bed, in a giant cardboard box), where we would of course attack our parents/finders with hugs and kisses and much laughing.

Seriously, all you parents out there - this is a great trick. My mom could get us to be in our "hiding place" for HOURS before Dad actually arrived. And in retrospect, how hilarious must it have been for my mom and dad? The two of them must have done some serious gut-busting behind our backs.

There you go, roro - not quite a present, but definitely my earliest recollection of a gift!


Anonymous roro said...

That is the cutest and most awesome story EVER. I'm going to try that on MY parents this Xmas!

10:43 AM  

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