My World

No pictures. Just sentences.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Gotcha Gift

I know that we came by this naturally based on the stories I heard from my mom about my Grandpa's tricks at Christmastime. Once he bought my Gma diamonds and instead of wrapping them up normal, he put them in a walnut shell that he'd taken the nut out of and glued the shell back together. Fortunately, he marked the nut but then he tossed it back into the nut bowl.

I believe it was sometime in the spring when it was finally discovered.

When Mom got Dad his super duper tool set, she put all the pieces in equally weighted groups and then wrapped them up. I'm not clear if Dad opened the the empty toolbox or if he started opening the pieces wondering what he was going to put them in.

Dad had bought something for Mom that was impossible to wrap, so he left it in the garage, took a polaroid of it and wrapped the polaroid in a fancy box.

These sort of tricks became known as the "gotcha" gift and it was fun to watch the person get got. It also was not limited to Christmastime. Any holiday was fair game and you never knew when it would occur, as the "gotcha" gift was inconsistent in its appearances.

Even I was recipient of a "gotcha" gift one year. Mom wasn't getting around very well, so I was doing a lot of the Christmas errands (this happened a lot). However, because I was an adult, mom would ask my opinions about what I thought about some of her gift choices.

She showed me a Mary Maxim catalog ( and showed me some sweaters, told me she was making Gma a sweater and asked me which one I liked better. I made the choice and watched her get working on it. She wasn't able to finish it in time for Christmas. After all my presents were opened, mom waved me to come over to her chair. She handed me an envelope. Inside was a swatch of each of the yarns of the sweater with a not saying "sorry I wasn't able to finish it." I was shocked that after knowing about all the "gotcha's" of the past I'd finally been got myself!

You see, when a sweater is being knit and is still in pieces, it's really hard to distinguish what size it is. My Gma was a very tiny woman and I wasn't, but I couldn't figure out how big the pieces were while they were being knit.

I know that if I had a family of my own, I would pass along the mysteries of the "gotcha" gift.


  • At 8:52 PM, Blogger Marianne said…

    That's really cool to put the diamonds in the walnut. I love that. But I can't understand how he could wait for months for his wife to happen across the gift. I couldn't stand the suspense!


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