By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Editor
You know those Christmas movies with the kids who sneak around the house when their parents aren’t looking to try and get a peek out their presents?
I was not one of those kids.
I don’t know whether it was because I liked being surprised on Christmas morning or because I was too afraid I wasn’t James Bond enough to complete such a mission, but I never tried to sneak a peek at my gifts early.
That was until last year, when I was 20 years old and in my second year of college. Yup, I was practically able to buy alcohol before I experienced my first Christmas mischief. They don’t make plots like that in holiday movies, do they?
Now to be clear, I have known where my mom keeps the presents ever since I was a young lad. I have known that her closet is a no-no to enter as soon as November rolls around on the calendar, and I know you are probably wondering why I would even enter her closet in the other 10 months of the year. I assure you, I don’t spend any time in my mother’s closet regardless of the time of year. But I digress.
So why did I decide to finally sneak a peek entering my 20th Christmas on this planet? Was I making up for lost time and trying to capture a part of my youth that seemed to escape me? Was I simply bored and wanted an activity to do? I mean I didn’t have bunk beds so there a shortage of space for activities in my room. Who doesn’t like a Step Brothers reference in a Christmas story?
Simply put: I wanted to see if I could do the unthinkable and discover a present days before Christmas morning. But rather than just going in without a plan, I knew I needed to look in one particular section, that way I could find a gift, admire it for a second, put it back, and get the heck out of dodge before being discovered. James Bond was going to have nothing on me when I was complete.
On the day of my mission, I knew that my mom was going to be out at the store for at least an hour and my brother was out with his friends. This was the moment of truth and my chance to conduct some holiday shenanigans. Moments before I was about to enter the closet, I remembered that my parents had gone to this sports shop in Oklahoma with my brother a couple months back when they were visiting a college. They had told me about all this cool stuff that was in the store and that they had even found me a bunch of little Detroit Lions items that I was going to get for Christmas. The Lions being my favorite team and all.
I had found my items I needed to discover.
After one more sweep of the house I entered the closet, leaving the door slightly ajar so I could hear for noises downstairs. When I looked around, I saw countless boxes and bags laid neatly out on the ground, clearly organized in some manner that I knew I could not rearrange or risk being caught red handed. But as if Santa was looking from his office at the North Pole and allowing me to be naughty for just one day, the bag containing my Lions gifts was laid neatly on top of a box, just waiting for me to open it up and marvel at its belongings.
One of the items was a license plate holder that had the team name written on it, which was something I had been wanting for quite a while. As I looked through some of the other objects, I realized that I was pressed for time and needed to get going to ensure that I was out of the closet with plenty of time to spare. I gently put each item back in the bag and placed it back on top of the box, trying to arrange the bags handle just the way I had found it minutes prior.
After one quick glance around the closet to make sure I didn’t drop anything from my pockets, I closed the door and galloped downstairs towards the kitchen. I wanted to be in the farthest room away from the closet as to avoid all suspension. As I walked down the stairs, I could feel an extra bounce in my step.
I felt like a mischievous kid who just looked at his Christmas gift without permission. I felt so cool, you don’t even know.
Now for kids who perform this criminal act on a yearly basis, they have probably built up the ability to lie about their wrongdoings and avoid bringing up a gift they found as to stay away from suspension.
Unfortunately for me, I did neither.
It took me all of three hours before I found myself in the same room as my mom, casually enjoying either a sports game or The Big Bang Theory, (it almost is always down to those two options). Whether it was the fact that I just wanted to see if I could get a reaction from her or because I was just an idiot when it came to being sneaky, I proposed to my mom if she had ever seen a license plate holder that had NFL teams printed on them. Surely she would have no idea that I was referring to my gift, would she?
I’ll take ‘Dumb Decisions’ for $500, Alex.
I will never forget the look she gave me as her eyes diverted from the TV and towards me. She asked, “Why do you ask?” to which I replied with a shrug of the shoulders and the youth automated response of “I don’t know.” But it was as if she had been in the closet with me the entire time, just watching me search through the bag, because she quickly asked me the one question that I was hoping to avoid having to answer.
“Did you look through your gift bag?”
Looks like I shouldn’t quit my day job to become a spy after all. Fearing that I had somehow ruined the surprise of my gift, I put on my best-surprised face and tried to put together a sentence that ultimately failed to defend myself. The damage had already been done. I had been caught red-handed competing a Christmas felony.
However, what happened next I will remember for the rest of my days on this planet. Moments after ripping the guilt right out of my soul and throwing it on the table, I saw a smile come across my mom’s face. Not knowing whether to smile back or run away, I got to my feet and gave a half smile as to cover both of my bases. Suddenly she gave out a great laugh, got out of her chair, and asked me the $1 million question.
“Would you like to go look at your gift together?”
It was the twist in the plot that I never saw coming. Not only had I committed the crime and confessed to doing the crime, but I was now entering the closet again with my mom to look at the gift together. Why didn’t I do this sooner in my life?
As we looked through the bag, we laughed at the situation as I retold the story of my daring mission. After completing the bag search, I gave her a big hug and knew that we had just made a Christmas memory that we would both cherish for many years to come. And while I knew I could no longer be a spy in my lifetime, I learned a valuable lesson about Christmas gift hunting:
Don’t do it. Be surprised on Christmas morning. But if you do commit the sneak peek attack, make sure you have a mom as cool as mine.
Merry Christmas folks! This round of eggnog is on me.