Wrapping gifts has become rather high stress here. It shouldn't be, mind you. It should be as simple as wrapping, right? But let it to be to turn it into a high stakes game of "what now?"
A few years back, I became frustrated that we had all these wrapped gifts in hiding, when they would look super fabulous under the trees as decor. I could do some in coordinating wrap, tie a ribbon around a small stack of 2 or 3, and place them in the hallway as decor. I could have red plaid wrap under one tree, red and green ones under another tree, plain brown paper with fancy bows under another... (We've got 7 trees. There are a lot of options here.)
But here's the thing. If I put the wrapped gifts out, the kids would shake, rattle, and unwrap those gifts the second I went to the bathroom. Forget leaving them alone in the house unattended with the gifts. So it was obvious that I couldn't label them. The masses of young humanity would be a bit deterred in peeking at all the gifts if they weren't sure which were even theirs to begin with. Right? So I had to come up with a labeling system. Being a few years back, the kids were as bright as they are now. That first year I very simply wrote their initial as tiny as I could (which was VERY tiny) in an obscure place on the package. The kids never did find the initials because they didn't know they were to be looking for them.
That year pretty much worked, except for the time Josh thought he'd be smart and open one. It wasn't even his.
The next year, the kids were onto the initial thing. I had to devise another plan. It involved numbers. A number for a kid, and another number to coordinate with which gift it was, so that I'd know exactly what they were about to open come Christmas morning. (I needed gauge reactions, and have a camera handy.) That system also worked well.
This year, Sam suggested I do a different color wrap for each kid. Since the kids now know that I have a system in place, and I randomly put gifts here and there, it could very well work. So that's what I did. Becky and I spent an hour wrapping together one day, and we chose who got which wrap. She alone was privy to my system, and she was sworn to secrecy. (And I waited until another day to wrap her things.) This was the first flaw in my plan this year. The boys were none the wiser, right up until the other night when Becky said, "I don't see any red polka dot presents under any of the trees so far. I had better be getting something for Christmas this year." And Josh's light bulb went off just that fast. He walked over to the tree, held up a gift, and said, "who is the brown paper wrapping?"
Drat it. So now I know that I can't do this in the future. And to make matters worse, as we were wrapping, I totally forgot to implement a system that tells me what gift is wrapped in which box. On Christmas morning, I'll be as clueless as everyone else, and will have to just take pictures of every single gift that's opened. Not that I'll mind. I've got that fun new camera to play with.
But we may not get to Christmas morning. This is the year the kids have not opened gifts (to my knowledge), but the dogs have been having a grand time of clawing at them. I do not understand this. There is no food or awesome smelling anything in any of those packages. I think they just like the sound of tearing paper.
We're so close to Christmas. I hope the gifts make it one more day.