By Rachel Hoeing

To wrap or not to wrap? That is the question. You know, Santa … when he brings gifts to your children, are they wrapped or unwrapped? I never knew there was any discrepancy in this issue. Growing up, our Santa always left gifts under the tree for my sister and I, and they were always wrapped. Each of my gifts were labeled with a tag, reading “To Rachel, From Santa.”

Our routine was to race downstairs, and first take a look at the note Santa left for us. It was usually sitting beside a half-eaten cookie and a glass with just a few drops of milk remaining. Even though we were about to crawl out of our skin to round that kitchen corner and see our presents, we always took time to read Santa’s note first and rejoice in the fact that we had been such perfect angels all year long and were able to receive the gifts we had requested.

When we turned the corner to the family room, gifts were piled high under the tree … some in boxes, some in bags, and the ones that were too big to wrap usually had a bow. If we had a gift that was electronic, like the penguins who waddled up the iceberg and slid down the slide, it was often turned on and running as we came down the stairs and gazed under the tree. We would spend an hour opening gifts one at a time so that the morning would last longer.  Stockings were always saved for last. The presents in the stockings were not usually wrapped, but were still a surprise to pull out one at a time.

Now that Santa visits my children, their gifts are also wrapped, tagged, and placed under the tree. There is usually one big gift with a simple bow. We still take turns opening gifts. We still write a letter to Santa on Christmas Eve and the kids wake up eager to read his response.

But recently, I learned that Santa does not always wrap gifts!  Crazy, I know!  Two of my friends informed me that their gifts, and their children’s gifts, have been, and still are, always sitting under the tree on display. Shock and awe overtook me at this realization.  I didn’t understand.  Where was the excitement in the unwrapping?  Where was the hour it took to slowly uncover all the toys under the paper? How did they make the morning last longer when everything was already right in front of them for all the world to see?

“Tradition,” they replied when I threw out all my questions. Hmmmph. I guess if it is the way it was always done, I guess it’s the way they should keep on doing it.  I am certainly one who is all about tradition.

But maybe, just maybe, they will hear my votes for wrapped gifts ringing in their ears and Santa will leave their children’s gifts covered in red and green paper (it can even be recycled!) this Christmas!