You could not surprise me as a kid.
Or so I thought.
I was TERRIBLE.
I searched every nook and cranny for hidden Christmas presents leading up to the big day.
I opened and re-wrapped gifts under the tree.
I. Could. Not. Help. Myself.
Which brings me to that Christmas when my mom completely out-smarted me.
My Santa list usually included ski stuff - new skis or boots. And ski accessories. But this particular year I was really jonesing for a yellow ski jacket - the one I spotted at Doyle's sports store. (If you are from Brockville, you'll remember Doyle's fondly - am I right?)
My ski boots were yellow (banana boots) and that yellow coat was an important addition to the whole ensemble! (you had to be there.)
My sleuthing paid off too! I found a very large box under Mom's bed a few days before Christmas, peeked in and saw the glow of a yellow ski jacket. My dream came true. She managed to get the jacket! I could relax and enjoy Christmas now.
On Christmas morning my Dad, all decked out in a Santa hat, handed out the gifts one by one. I couldn't wait to get my hands on that big box, tucked in the back, behind the tree. But when Dad read the tag on that box, it was actually for HIM!
He stopped his Santa gift distribution duties and sat down to open the box.
To my surprise - and horror - he opened the box to reveal a...a...yellow ski jacket. For HIM!
OMG. He had yellow ski boots too. So it made perfect sense that he would get a yellow ski jacket to match.
I was heartbroken.
My hopes and dreams of a coordinated outfit were completely shattered.
My Mom waited til she saw my face drop and my shoulders fall before leaving the room and coming back with another big wrapped box.
This is for you.
I tore it open pretty quickly. And yes, it was my coveted yellow ski jacket.
She KNEW I had peeked. She totally GOT me. She got me goooood!
The only way she could surprise me was to beat me at my own game. She knew me well.
Well played mom. Well played!
And this got me thinking about sneaking peeks at hidden gifts? Nope. Ruining surprises? Nah. Setting expectations? Trying to outsmart your kid? No and no.
It got me thinking about how different Christmas is going to be this year for me and everyone around me.
Like many people, I won't be travelling to be with my family for Christmas. That's a first.
There will be no kids to hide gifts from. No big family get-together in Ottawa. But it's a small price to pay to keep people safe.
I'm looking forward to making up for lost time and having a big family blow out when the fear of covid has passed. That keeps me going.
In these unprecedented times, when businesses are trying to survive and many are working to re-invent themselves in the face of the global pandemic, I just wanted to acknowledge that most of my clients and friends have had a very tricky year and are heading into not only a low-key Christmas season but an uncertain 2021. And for that, I'm sorry.
I'll be keeping memories of past Christmases alive - where none of my gifts were a surprise and everyone was there.
And I'll be finding ways to reach out to family and friends, to share our stories of the past year and have a few laughs in the face of all this.
I hope you have a pleasant and hopeful holiday season and 2021.
And I hope you get everything your heart desires for Christmas.
The Small Business Guide
Kim Houlahan is a marketing consultant who loves helping small business owners improve their marketing.
Small Business Guide ~ Archives
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When the Rubber hits the Road
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Give'em a Memorable Experience