Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Christmas Punishment

For months I’d seen commercials exhibiting her beauty: cream colored skin with all the right make-up and a snow-white dress with fur wrapped hems and glittering undergarments. I had to have the Holiday Barbie, and in a bad way.

Every Christmas list I wrote included her name. Every daydream involved stellar weddings between her and my most handsome Ken doll. I outfitted him with a tux well ahead of their meeting so when the special day came he’d be ready.

My anticipation grew as the fateful day of her arrival drew near, sending my mind in whirling directions. What if Mom and Dad couldn’t afford Holiday Barbie? What if they didn’t think I deserved her? Did I tell them she’s all I wanted, all I cared about?

Walking home from school, I gathered my coat in under my chin to block out the cold breeze.

“Holiday Barbie’s fur would be so warm . . . .” A light bulb flashed in my head. Christmas was only a week away. Mom and Dad’s shopping would be complete. “What if . . . she’s already in the house!”

I ran the rest of the way home, pulling the key from under my shirt along the way. Being home alone for an hour or two before my parents arrived had advantages. I fumbled with the lock then dropped my book bag as soon as I stepped inside.

“Where would they hide presents?” Looking around, I realized they wouldn’t be in the open. Closets . . . that’s where I hid everything.

I rushed to the end of the hall and burst through the door into my parent’s room. Pushing their wooden chest toward the closet, I considered the trouble I’d get in if they found me, and ignored it.

“Blankets. Pillows. Shoe boxes. Nothing.” Disappointment rifled through me. Ready to give up, I stepped down from the make-shift ladder and accidentally brought one of the blankets down, too. There, behind the remaining blankets and pillows, was Holiday Barbie. Her white box with pink writing, the metallic-red foil backdrop behind her brilliant-white dress, and her curly hair were like magic to my eyes.


My parents remembered. They’d paid attention!

Hands shaking, I resisted the urge to take her out of the box and replaced the blanket to its rightful spot. Once the room was back to normal and I was satisfied, I left to do my homework.

But something else crept into my thoughts as I added and subtracted ridiculously small numbers: Guilt. How would I hide the fact I knew what they bought me? My reaction to unwrapping Holiday Barbie needed to be huge or else they’d be upset after all the nagging I did. How could I do that? Why did I do that?

This feeling refused to leave me, refused to let me force it into the recess of my mind. Frustration and anxiety coursed through me all the way to Christmas morning, and when I opened the gift I wasn’t as excited as I should have been.

I cried, then proceeded to tell them what I’d done.

Mom and Dad didn’t take her away from me, and they didn’t yell or scream at me for hours. I’m pretty sure they knew the guilt and regret I felt was punishment enough.

And it was.

I swore never to go snooping again.


  1. Oh how I miss playing with my Barbies and cutting their hair!! LOL

    Beautiful post. Sneaky sneaky!! Now you know what not to do!!

  2. What a classic Christmas story! I learned Santa wasn't real because I was snooping and found presents my mom wrapped early and labeled "From: Santa." Oops. I didn't ever tell them though. I should have.

  3. Thank you JKP! I really ruined Christmas for myself.

    E.R., we didn't believe in I knew mom and dad were the source. Maybe if I'd believed in Santa I'd never have snooped? ;-)

  4. Ha! Been there, done that! LOL Well, little brother did...I was the good girl haha! Thanks for the share!

  5. How did I know you'd be the good girl, Tania? ;-)

  6. You were blessed with great parents. Awesome.

  7. My sisters and I used to do that too. Only did it a couple of times before we realized that it totally sucked knowing ahead of time what we were getting for Christmas.

  8. They were pretty lenient, Prudence! :-)

    Knowing took all the fun out of it, Shay. I didn't snoop again. :-)

  9. Look not into the keyhole lest ye be vexed...or to find out what Christmas goodies you have and then be overwrought with guilt. Cute story.

  10. Thanks, Amberr. I try desperately not to find out these days. :-)

  11. I was a BarbieFreak In my younger years. My sister and I used to play Barbie soap operas for hours!

  12. One year I unwrapped all of my presents and then rewrapped them. Silly me, I used different paper, and didn't realize my mother actually knew what paper she had wrapped everything in. LOL.

  13. Excellent story. She was a beautiful Barbie. If it'd been me I'd kept my mouth shut but then I don't have a conscious. :)

  14. Anonymous12/15/2011

    Haha. Have to give other side. Part of Christmas for me was always know exactly what I was getting. I always found a way to find the presents or open the wrapped presents to find out what was inside. I started when I was about 6 or 7. When I was 4 I found presents the first time in a closet and brought one out to ask my father what it was by accident.

    Everybody is different.

  15. Barbara Dehaba12/15/2011

    Very nice!

  16. Anonymous12/16/2011

    Isn't that part of Christmas? Finding some of the presents? Like Kelly, I would unwrap and rewrap. But I would be so careful at unwrapping with the same paper that I could wrap it back up in the same stuff. My mother caught on to me and stopped labeling the presents, but used a numbering system instead. After that my sister and I had to start guessing who's was who's. We would open them at Christmas and be all. "I thought that one was mine." The disappointment would be clear as day in our voice. LOL

  17. Anonymous12/16/2011

    Snooping was always a part of our holiday when I was younger. My parents had to get more crafty every year. When they realized I was deathly afraid of spiders, they hid our presents in the shed where the spiders lived. I never went out there. :)

  18. I love hearing all of your stories. I'm surprised at all you snoopers! :-)

  19. Wow, she is gorgeous! No wonder you snooped. LOL! Guilt is a great motivator; all the old world cultures use it to full advantage. ;D

  20. LOL. Gotta love guilt! ;-)

  21. just as your parents did.. that's how i handle my kids... i feel they learn from their mistakes, i don't need to make it worse....

    it's funny i happened upon your post... today, while at work (with 3rd graders).. wearing an ultra high bun - trying to look hip - the young girls said i looked like a 'barbie girl'... my response: i am a barbie girl.... they simply laughed...

  22. haha. Now I have that song stuck in my head. Do you remember it from the nineties? I'm a Barbie Girl, in a Barbie World. LOL.

  23. Thanks for following my blog. Following back. Great story. Gosh, you were a good kid. I'm not even going to talk about the things I did and was not guilty about! Fortunately, all my kids were so much better than I was!!

  24. Anonymous12/20/2011

    Bless you, Krystal. Just visited a friend today and her son found his Christmas pressie on Sunday and also confessed all. Poor lamb - she felt more sorry for him - no surprises now.
    Jane Isaac


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