Alpha, Bravo, Echo, Foxtrot

We are shockingly ahead of the game this holiday season.  It’s not even December yet, and there’s already a stash of wrapped Christmas gifts hidden in our spare bedroom.

Time will tell if we finished our shopping too soon.  Mathematically, my concern looks something like this:

(Average Age of Children x Number of Children) + Days Until Christmas = Odds That Gifts will be Discovered and Christmas Morning Magic Ruined

Our kids are generally trustworthy little angels, but as they get older we have to be vigilant.  I was a decent teenager, but I still unwrapped a pair of Christmas jeans and wore them to a high school basketball game before sneaking them back under the tree.  It was not my finest hour (and yes, I got caught).

In an attempt to deter such deviant behavior in my own sweet peas, I scrapped traditional gift tags this year.  Instead, each package has a yellow post-it note labeled Alpha, Bravo, Echo, or Foxtrot.  These are code names for Sam, Maggie, Clark, and Tess (yes, the dog gets gifts).


I’ll keep the key a secret until Christmas morning, and hope this system prevents premature poking, prodding, or peeking into the packages.

Or not.

Yesterday the kids spent the afternoon alone while Clark and I dealt with our dying washing machine.  At dinner I asked them if they were tempted to snoop around for Christmas gifts while we were gone.

“Nope!” they declared simultaneously, shaking their heads in confident unison.

Such little cherubs.

“Well that’s a relief, because Dad mounted his trail camera in the spare bedroom just in case…”

I swear, their forks froze in midair.  They looked first to each other, and then down to their plates, eyes wide as saucers.

Sam was the first to respond.  “It was Maggie’s idea!!!”

“No it wasn’t!!” she declared.

Clark and I grinned at each other.  The trail camera wasn’t actually in the spare bedroom… yet.  But it would be before the end of the night, and any future transgressions will certainly be captured on film.  Of course the kids didn’t know this, and they started confessing like crazy.

(For anyone who is interested, we have something similar to this.img_4696  It’s usually mounted on our deck, and captures video of critters that roam through our back yard.  It’s also good for spying on the dog’s daytime antics and guarding Christmas packages.)

It turns out the kids found the wrapped packages, but they didn’t actually peek inside any of them.  Phew.  And thanks to my sneaky Alpha, Bravo, Echo, and Foxtrot notes, Maggie is convinced they are getting Amazon Echoes (some sort of robot-like speaker tool) for Christmas.

We tried our best to hold it together through her confession, but gave up when she admitted to Googling “What is a Foxtrot?”  Apparently she thinks it is a comic book, so she’s in for a few surprises.

After the kids went to bed, Clark mounted the trail cam (for real) in the spare bedroom, so we’re confident Christmas morning will be as magical as ever around here.

#parentingwin #welaughedsohard


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