I never saw my Christmas gifts.
That’s not special for people who spend their holidays in just one place, but the thing is; we spent the holidays everywhere.
My father started playing parrandas in November, right after Thanksgiving and ended in mid January. We spend the holidays with him, sometimes staying in several houses throughout the week. I often received my gifts in my grandmother’s or any of ten aunt/uncle’s houses.
This was in the town of Barranquitas, mind you, that is the middle of nowhere, deep in the mountains of this island. There are no big stores there and it’s about two hours from anywhere with a big store. But I got a Cabbage Patch on that year where people were killing themselves in stores for them, I got a Hugga Bunch (Patooty) another year, I got Barbies several times.
All these things must have been carried in the car, in the same place where our clothes and things went, and I never saw anything. I only remember one time when I know my parents had to go get my present at the last minute – the Barbie Dream House of like 1998, with the working elevator! I had to stay with one of my aunts for the first time, and while I adored her – may God have her in His glory – I wasn’t used to staying with her, so I got anxious.
I remember clinging to her leg while she did the dishes, very late at night. And the glow of her white Christmas tree, wondering why in the world my parents were going out without me.
The next day my mom helped me mount the doll house, that would stay up one day and then we had to take it down to get it home.
They must have done some awesome planning and gift hiding.