A New Year… An Old Story

Published December 27, 2017

Nothing is ever “by the books” in the Hoffman household. If you read last week’s Cheri 411, you know that for the first time in 16 years, Samuel did not snoop for Christmas gifts from me. He was playing the snooping game with his best friend Sara. I should have known then that I wouldn’t get off that easily.

As I wrote last week, I upgraded Samuel’s iPhone to the new iPhoneX that just came out. The Verizon store accidentally called him to tell him the phone was in and ready to be picked up way before Christmas. The surprise was ruined… but the story doesn’t end there.

Part of the iPhone gift was that we would exchange phones; I would get his old phone, replacing mine which is terribly cracked and annoyingly glitchy. Well…the week before Christmas, I was in a heightened state of frustration with my phone and just couldn’t take it any longer. I had a plan and yelled for Samuel to come down to the office.

“Samuel… you know you’re getting the new iPhoneX for Christmas and mine is getting worse and worse. Why don’t you just take the gift now, give me your old phone and then we’ll both be happy?”

He blankly stared at me, a key indicator that something was awry. Under normal circumstances, he would have been under the Christmas tree, ripping the paper off the gift before I could have said “Merry Christmas.” I wouldn’t even have to find it for him since he had already snooped and knew which box was his.

Instead, he blurted out, “Mom, I’m not sure that will work. Your backup might be the problem, which would just transfer to my old phone and leave you with your same problems.” Preoccupied with my annoying phone issues, I didn’t immediately pick up on what was really going on. I tried to convince him it was worth a try, coming at him from every angle until he finally reached into his pocket and set the new iPhoneX on my desk and simply said, “Let me explain.”

I was dumbfounded and speechless, which gave him plenty of opportunity to explain himself… and so he did. He proceeded to tell me he had opened the gift-phone the previous night, “formatted” it and was thoroughly enjoying his new Christmas gift. He then had taken his old phone, put it in the new box and rewrapped it to place it back under the tree, thinking to play a Christmas joke on ME.

You see, every year, I royally mess up some Christmas gift and then get teased about it until the next Christmas when I mess up again. He intended to open the rewrapped gift Christmas morning and then “loudly exclaim” that I had bought the wrong phone for him. I would have been devastated and disappointed for creating such a large mess up. He then would jubilantly announce the joke, and we would have yet one more story to add to the battle of Christmas surprises.

In the end, we weren’t sure who had won this round of Christmas spying. He had masterminded the ultimate holiday prank, but I unknowingly foiled it. One thing we were certain about, we were totally enjoying our annual Christmas spy-game and creating new memories and moments to last a lifetime.

Here’s to 2018… and to all of you, our readers,… hoping that your year is full of wonderful memories and moments that last a lifetime.

Until next time,
Cheri Hoffman