The hidden gift at Christmas

Dennis Warden

Those of you familiar with this column may remember that at Christmas time I have been known to play a few tricks in my gift giving. Maybe tricks is too harsh of a word. It would be better identified as camouflaging the gift. 

My purpose is to hide the identity of the gift. Some of my disguises are rather simple, such as adding weight to the box. This tactic can be employed when the recipient thinks they know what’s in the box. You can also mask clothing by wrapping it in a tube.

This year Connie and I made a pledge. We would only give each other two gifts. To make matters worse we each picked out our gifts to each other with the other present.

At least I didn’t tell her to just pick out something she wanted, wrap it and label it from me.

 I remember my grandmother, Thelma Warden opening gifts from grandpa Ralph. She always acted surprised. Actually it was grandpa that was surprised. She picked out her gifts from grandpa and wrapped them. He never saw them until Christmas Day.

One good thing, grandma never returned one of  his gifts.

Anyway when it came time to wrap the presents I informed my lovely wife that I was too busy at work, could she please handle the wrapping, even the presents to herself.

Little did she know I had an ulterior motive.

Warning: Sometimes to carry out these deceptions you cannot be entirely truthful with your spouse.

During the week before Christmas Connie asked more than once to make sure that I was sticking to our two gift pledge. I assured her I was.

Not believing me, I’m sure she checked under the tree for an extra gift that she did not wrap, with her name or without her name.

When it came time to pass out he gifts on Christmas Eve Connie still had two packages from me under the tree.

At least that is what she counted on her lap. 

A couple days before Christmas when she was not at home, I carefully opened one of her gifts from me and placed a  fitbit inside the package. Then I rewrapped the gift in the same paper, placed the bow in the same place and replaced the tag with her handwriting.

For those of you not familiar with them, a fitbit is an activity tracker. They are wireless-enabled watches that measure data such as the number of steps walked, heart rate, quality of sleep, steps climbed, and other personal metrics involved in fitness.

In order to keep the number of gifts the same between us I bought a second fitbit for myself. I also opened one of my gifts and hid the fitbit inside to be opened on Christmas Eve. 

That gave Connie two surprises.

It’s amazing what a fitbit does. I can understand how it keeps track of your heart beats, it’s strapped onto your wrist. But how in the world does it accurately measure the number of steps taken and the number of floors traversed. As of my writing this column my fitbit tells me I’ve went up and down 14 flights of stairs and taken 3,966 steps.

I have watched the fitbit while I was walking and it adds a step when I take one. I have tried to fool it by walking in place or swaying back and forth. It doesn’t work.

It even keeps track of your sleep. For instance my fitbit tells me that last night I slept 7 hours and 12 minutes and I was awake for 54 minutes. It also tells me how long I was in Rem sleep, light sleep and deep sleep. Amazing.

Fitbits are annoyingly habit forming. It sets a goal of 10,000 steps for you each day. When you reach that goal it rewards you with a little burst of fireworks on the watch face.

Sitting at my computer most days it’s difficult for me to reach that goal. My low is 2,973 steps in one day. My high was 11,185.

Connie on the other hand hasn’t failed to reach the 10,000 step goal. One day she reached 20,000 steps.

Last Monday, Connie was off school. She took down our Christmas tree, did laundry and cleaned the house. She had over 14,000 steps when I came home from work.

In order to get more steps in, I walked to work today. I now know that there are 2,200 steps from our home to work. 

It’s now a competition between Connie and myself. One that I won’t win until she is in bed all day with the flu. At least I have the apple.