‘Tis the season to deceive!

We’ve got this rule at our house: no whispering in front of other people. You want to say something privately? Go someplace private. Whispering is rude.

That rule is being broken. Over, and over, and over again. And my wife — she who made the rule in the first place — is one of the worst offenders.

And why? Because there’s snow on the ground; lights in the bushes; a tree in the living room.

Christmastime. Cheer. Good will. Jesus in His manger. Families practicing whole new levels of deceit. ‘Tis the season!

Funny, isn’t it? That we’re so much more likely to sneak, deceive, even lie at this time of year. Sure, I told my wife I had to go pick up our daughter from her friend’s house, and I did. Because I’d arranged with her in advance to need a ride, to give me an excuse to get out of the house and shop.

Sure, I said I had to work late. Even called from the mall to say I’d just left. Which was, technically, true. I didn’t say from where.

Any other time of year, you’d think I was having an affair. Any other time of year, I’d be too guilt-ridden to pull this kind of crap.

But not at Christmastime.

Christmastime, we engage in rampant skullduggery and we expect others to do the same. Furtively whispered conversations ending abruptly when someone enters the room…

…quick anecdote: One year, our now-17-year-old daughter walks in on a “secret” meeting about her Christmas presents. We clam up. She asks what we’re talking about. Our now-9-year-old — then five — says: “Oh, nothing. We just talkin’ ’bout…ponies.”

Ponies. Doesn’t everyone just sit around talking about ponies?

Writing lists in code. Hiding things behind dressers; in attics; way up on the top shelf where only I can reach them. Lying to the kids. Oh, yeah. Not just subtle misdirection or half-truths, either. I mean lying. Because those conniving little turds will tell each other, if they find out, what we got them for Christmas.

So I throw a little wrench into those works. “Well, yes, since your sister’s leaving for college next year, we’re getting her a car. Not a great one, just something to get her around town and to the store and stuff. Yeah. Don’t tell her.”

It probably won’t work. They know better than to expect honesty from me while we celebrate Christ’s birth. Still: I can’t wait to see if she’s glancing through the curtains Christmas morning.

I wonder if all this subterfuge isn’t part of the stress we all feel around the holidays. We’re not secret agents, you know. We really are honest people, mostly, who love each other and don’t keep secrets. Not much. So it’s a little hard on us to not only hide things, but to even hide the fact that we are hiding things.

See, it’s not enough for me that my wife and kids don’t know what I got them. I don’t want them to know that I got them. I want the presents just to show up, as if by magic, Christmas morning. Because it’s more special that way. More fun.

One Christmas, the aforementioned daughter (then four years old) bounced up and down at the sight of our living room Christmas morning with such unwitting, unintentional force that things began falling off shelves on the other side of the room.

I love that. And by the little baby Jesus all swaddled up and sleeping and surrounded by animals, I will dupe and deceive her — and the rest of them, too — to get that again.

(TrogloPundit, a.k.a. Lance Burri, cross-posted at FoxPolitics.net)

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