We are dedicated online shoppers. Have been for years. During the last 6–8 weeks of the calendar year, it’s a truly fantastic tool for doing your Christmas shopping. No fighting crowds in parking lots and malls. No picking through damaged boxes looking for that last one that hasn’t been touched by a hundred grubby hands. Fill up your virtual cart, click the purchase button, and wait for the UPS/USPS folks to show up.

One of the bonuses of this setup is, we constantly receive boxes from Amazon, Pottery Barn, etc. through the year. So when the frequency of their arrival picks up in December, normally it doesn’t trigger any interest among the girls. Besides, more often than not, we get deliveries during school hours, so I can hide them away before the girls can see them and begin to speculate.

There’s been a wrinkle in that process this year. Our spot on the UPS route must have changed. Where once we could rely on the truck swinging through the neighborhood before lunch, this fall it began arriving during mid-afternoon. And now, with the extra holiday volume slowing them down, we’ve been getting deliveries after 4:00. Which means the girls are home. Which can cause a problem. Especially when you order something that isn’t from Amazon.

Last week we got a box from Pottery Barn Teen. When the doorbell rang, C. and L. flew to the front door and started yelling, “Dad! It’s a big box! From Pottery Barn Teen! What do you think it is?!?!”


I quickly concocted a story that it was something S. had ordered for a friend who is pregnant.[1] “What did she buy her? Let’s look at it!”

I told them to knock it off, as it didn’t belong to them, and tried to casually make the box disappear. But as soon as S. walked in the door from work, the questions began again. “Mom, you got a box from Pottery Barn Teen. What is it? Is it a present for Mrs. W.?”

Fortunately I had texted my story to S. so she could follow my lead.

But we realized that box can not show up under the tree Christmas morning. Yes, the odds are high at least two of our kids know where presents come from, and even-money that all three know. Still, I’m not ready to hear, “We saw when that box got delivered!” when it gets unwrapped on the 25th. So it looks like we’ll be assembling a piece of furniture before the big day and finding a way to wrap it so appearances can be kept up.

A large box came today. Luckily between noon and 1:00, while I was at the grocery story, so early enough to hide in the attic before any young eyes could spy it and file it away for cross-referencing on Christmas morning.

  1. Admittedly not the smartest idea. Fortunately the girls didn’t question why we were ordering something from PB Teen for a newborn.  ↩