Santa's elves do not wrap our Christmas presents. Not a single one. The kids of the family pick out their "spot" on the couch or chair where they want the big guy to leave their presents. A sheet is put up between the hallway and living/family room so that the kids can't peek and cheat. And don't ask me why, but we never did. I think Mom must have implied that lightening would strike us dead or something, but it was a line we never crossed.
The sheet was nailed up on Christmas Eve, and it was always very exciting. You knew that the time was close (this was before you could track Santa's progress on the internet). On Christmas morning, we would line up in our hallway on Cherokee Dr. from the youngest to oldest. Obviously, I always scored on this front since I was the baby of the family.
I have heard the arguments (from Sean) concerning wrapping vs. not wrapping. But none of those ever held water for me. I can't articulate how magical it is to pull back that sheet and see your loot in one vision. Santa was a master at maximizing the visual effect of this. Your spot on the couch or chair was covered with gifts. We saw everything in one glance and were overwhelmed with our luck.
Well, except for that one magical year when Santa confused my spot with Anne's, and disappointment was the first emotion we both felt as we thought we didn't a damn thing we had asked for.
One year, I asked (written on the note I left in my St. Nick's stocking which St. Nicholas personally delivered to Santa--that's another blog post) for both a Jaimie Sommers Bionic Woman doll AND a Cher doll. Mom came to me a day or two later and told me that Santa's elves had informed her that I had to make a choice. Which doll did I want more? Because I couldn't have both. I remember literally telling her that I'd have to think about it and would get back to her. I think I even asked her if there was a time period I had to work within.
Now, imagine my face when I pulled back that sheet and saw my choice--the Jaimie Sommers Bionic Woman doll. And it was placed next to the Cher doll!!!!! I got both of them! In one vision, I saw both of my prized gifts (yes, I realize I was a loser). That magic couldn't and wouldn't have happened if I had to slowly unwrap the gifts.
The tradition continues with my children, and I hope they continue it with their kids. It is exceptionally magical. And honestly, Santa's elves save themselves A LOT of work with the wrapping. It actually gives them time to have another beer.
Edited to add the story of one Christmas morning when Eric's childhood was destroyed. From what I heard, Eric was the youngest and waiting anxiously to go through the sheet. Dad and Mom went out first to make sure that everything was in order. That particular year, Dad walked back through the sheet, looked at darling little Eric (who would've only been a few years old at the time) and said, "OK, Eric. Are you ready? The Easter Bunny came!" Apparently, he burst into tears. Yes, my family can be cruel. But we're cute.
Eric and Anne in front the Sheet and running toward their stash!
Please notice the placement of the gifts on the chairs (and my Planet of the Apes board game)