Christmas DilemmaBy Karen Bagnard
Mom and Dad’s bedroom was off-limits for us kids. We were
not allowed to enter unless invited or if we asked first. It was
Mom and Dad’s “sacred place.”
On a rainy day in the spring my sister and I were alone at home.
Since we couldn’t play outside, we decided to play hide-and-
seek inside the house. It was a small house with just two
bedrooms and one bath, a dining room, living room and
kitchen. It was pretty hard to find a good hiding place so, of
course, I chose to hide under my parents’ bed, which was high
enough off the floor that I could easily scoot under it. I would
never be found in this forbidden place!
As I lay under the bed while my sister searched the house,
knowing full-well she would never look in our parents’ room, I
noticed two big boxes under the bed.
These two boxes, identical in size, caught my curiosity. They
were the only things under the bed. I lifted the lid of one box
and, to my delight, discovered a beautiful doll inside! In my
excitement, I gave away my hiding place by calling my sister
excitedly to show her my discovery.
We slid the boxes out and took both lids off. There were two
beautiful 24” Madame Alexander walking dolls, one dressed in
a pink dress and one in a blue dress! We looked at each other
with total excitement and amazement.
We quickly figured out that Mom must have bought them at a
sale and was saving them for Christmas. Mom always shopped
ahead and stashed goodies away for Christmas.
We also realized that we were in the room that was off-limits to
us and, to make matters worse, we had discovered a surprise
that was meant for us! At that moment we put the lids back on
the boxes and slid them back to the very spot where I had
Now what? Christmas was months away and we would have to
keep this secret. If we didn’t keep the secret, we would be in
big trouble for going into our parents’ bedroom while home
alone playing hide-and-seek!
We did manage to keep our secret. In fact, as I recall, we rarely
ever even spoke of it. It wasn’t that hard to keep this secret,
after all, if we didn’t, we’d be in trouble and if we did, there
was going to be a wonderful treat at Christmas! We also made
a pact to act surprised when we got the dolls. A few times we
even practiced acting surprised.
Christmas came, as it does every year. Christmas Eve was fun
and exciting and we got lots of gifts. We did not get our dolls
but we knew they were probably going to be from Santa Claus.
Betsy, my sister, and I were old enough to know that Mom and
Dad were Santa Claus but young enough to still play with dolls
and play the “Santa Claus thing” at Christmas.
When we got up on Christmas morning, we charged into the
living room, fully expecting to see the familiar boxes under our
stockings by the fireplace. Our stockings were bulging and
there were piles of wrapped gifts under each stocking but not
anything that looked big enough to be the dolls.
We certainly had no shortage of gifts and toys but we were
puzzled about the dolls. If not for us, who were they for?
Could Mom have given them to two other little girls? Surely
that couldn’t be.
How could we ask about this without giving away the secret we
kept about playing in my parents’ bedroom? What a dilemma!
Betsy and I put our heads together and cooked up a plan: Mom
was in the kitchen preparing Christmas breakfast. We went in
and very sweetly thanked her for all the things she and Dad had
given us and how wonderful it was that Santa had been so good
to us, too.
Then it was my turn to drop the punchline: “You know what we
REALLY wanted but didn’t get?” I asked my mom.
“What?” she replied, barely even looking at me as she
continued to prepare breakfast.
“We really wanted walking dolls!” I announced.
Mom dropped her spatula and gasped, “Oh, my God!” Then
she quickly added, “Girls, go hide your eyes!”
We ran to the bedroom and hid our eyes until Mom calmly
invited us to go see what was under the Christmas tree.
We scampered into the living room to see two beautiful dolls,
one in pink and one in blue, sitting under the tree! We
squealed and danced around and hugged Mom and Dad and
picked up the doll with our name on it. Mine was the blue one.
Most of all, we were relieved to know that Mom and Dad had
not given them to any other little girls. Many years later, when
we were nearly adults, we came clean with Mom and told her
the story. She loved it!
- Karen Bagnard -