Christmas comes with little surprise now

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas memories for me always start with the wee hours of the morning, when, as a little boy, my sister and I would bound excitedly into the living room and make a beeline for the presents under the tree.

For a child, there's really nothing more exciting than Christmas morning.

One Christmas I got a guitar and promptly strode into my parents' bedroom, hand sweeping downward across the steel strings as if I had the slightest idea how to play the darn thing. It was quite a wake-up call for my parents. They'd just settled in for a long winter's nap and here I was at 4 a.m., in their bedroom, making such a clatter. And no, they didn't spring from the bed to see what was the matter. They were the ones, after all, who had brought me the guitar in the first place.

On an aside: I couldn't have been more than 10 or 11, and when I had asked for the guitar for Christmas, I didn't realize that learning to play itŠyou knowŠtook practice. My sister actually got more use out of it than I did. She used it as a prop when she played Maria Von Trapp in Mrs. Roberta Gamble's Old Gym Player production of &#8220The Sound of Music.”

We didn't wrap our presents back then. After all, who needs paper, ribbons and bows getting in the way of a Luke Skywalker action figure or an electric football game? Our Christmas gifts were arranged accordingly and split evenly - my sister's on one side; mine on the other. Being six years apart, and her being a girl and me being a boy, there was no mistaking who got what. I had all the cool toys, she the clothes. I had the games, she the jewelry. I had the blow-up Donald Duck punching bag, she the &#8220Grease” album.

As a boy, I liked the presents unwrapped. Rushing into the living room on Christmas morning was like bandits breaking into Fort Knox. A flip of the light switch was all it took to reveal the goodies Santa had left for you. It left you awestruck.

Once, my sister was so awestruck at the new camera she got, she promptly broke it trying to install the film. My father wasn't awestruck. He was peeved.

Now, though, we wrap. The presents all go under the tree beforehand so we basically know the number of gifts we're getting and from whom we're getting them. Even with that, my mother still quaintly inscribes &#8220From Santa” on the presents to my sister and me.

Old habits die hard, I guess.

Kevin Pearcey is Group Managing Editor of Greenville Newspapers, LLC. He can be reached by phone at 383-9302, ext. 136 or by email at: