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How could we be so careless? The Maleficent Blu-Ray sat on the counter in plain sight for all to see. One by one each child discovered the movie that was supposed to be a Christmas gift. One by one each child asked if we could watch the movie. One child carried it, still encased in plastic, over to the TV stand for easier access.

Unbeknownst to me, Heath took the new gift wrap up to our room. Apparently we had left every surprise out. Later that night I saw the gift wrap standing at attention in my closet. I moved it to the back of the closet so it would be hidden. I put a folded up collapsible laundry basket in front of it for good measure. Maybe the kids could forget about the movie. Especially if I wrapped it. Out of sight, out of mind. But the gift wrap was more critical than that.

Christmas wrapping paper is what tipped me off to Santa. I was probably in the fourth grade. I was starting to have my doubts about the magic of Christmas. My parents may have been sensing it. Or maybe they had one of those moments that cannot be called back but the hope is no one will notice.

Santa always delivered his gifts wrapped in paper that was nothing like the paper my parents used. Santa’s gifts always had special gift tags as well. Tags I hadn’t seen before lying around my house. His handwriting was unique as well. Before the gift wrap mistake, I think I had already tried to identify Santa’s handwriting. It looked nothing like either of my parents’ writing. He had to be real, right? Until the year that I noticed gifts from my parents wrapped in Santa paper from two years before.

That’s all it took. The defining moment when I knew for sure. I never said anything but I knew. Nothing would have changed my mind. No explanation would have pried back the final nail in the Santa coffin. The wrapping paper tipped me off.

So far my kids have no idea that tucked away in the back of my closet are rolls and rolls of Santa paper. It seems like such a waste. There is plenty of paper left to be used. But Santa paper is different. It can only be used once. I used to think that maybe Santa could repeat his own paper. I thought better of it. We buy new gift wrap every year. One roll is designated as Santa paper and the rest are fair game until they run out.

The Maleficent movie has been wrapped. As a bit of a joke I didn’t disguise it in another box. If the kids figure it out they figure it out. We did tell them that they ruined one of their gifts! Deflecting blame is a common first reaction to spoiled plans. After I put the sticker on Heath told me to say it was to me from him. Oops. I already said to the family from Mom and Dad. Maybe I will carefully place a new sticker directly over the last one. We’ll see.

For now all disasters have been averted. I think. We are asking the kids to forget a lot this year. The boys seeing the raspberry pi box, Maleficent, and I bought Gwen some scarves while we were shopping for Halloween makeup. She must have forgotten because she hasn’t even asked me when I will ever wear them! There are more secrets up our sleeves for this Christmas. It’s going to be epic … if we can pull it off.

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