Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now

This column reflects the opinion of the writer. Learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column.

Opinion >  Column

The Slice: Guessing what you’re getting

It can be amusing to entertain family and friends by picking up a wrapped Christmas present and guessing its contents.

We’ve all seen that act. It can be good for a few laughs.

But there are rules. So let’s review.

You are not allowed the rip the wrapping paper. That’s the cat’s assignment.

When holding the gift to your forehead and making a guess about the contents Carnac-style, it’s impolite to say “a sweater” if you are pretty sure it really is a sweater.

No lasers.

It’s permissible to gently move the package side to side, as if you are a prospector sifting for gold. But Christmas etiquette forbids shaking the bejeezus out of it.

Do not fold, spindle or mutilate.

If you are wearing glasses that remind everyone of a certain age of those “X-ray Specs” they used to sell in comic books, it can be entertaining to stare hard at a wrapped Christmas gift. It’s considered inappropriate, however, to leeringly turn your gaze to those gathered near you.

When sniffing a package, remember that you are not now nor have you ever been a crime dog.

It’s OK to hold a package to your ear as if you are listening to a sea shell. But declaring that you hear ticking and then shouting “It’s gonna blow” are not in keeping with the yuletide spirit.

Do not hurl the present across the room.

If you say “I know what it is but I am not telling,” be prepared to be called a Christmas liar.

Do not attempt to stand on the gift box.

It’s not necessary to wand your present with a Geiger counter.

Gently tapping the box is OK.

You can stare intently at the package and ask, “Is it safe?” or “What’s the frequency, Kenneth?” but there’s a good chance no one will appreciate your grand sense of humor.

Do not treat the package the way the Telly Savalas character treated the doll in the “Twilight Zone” episode called “Talky Tina.” (We all know what happened to him.)

Today’s Slice question: When you were a child, to what extent did you factor in your family’s financial circumstances as you expressed hopes and wishes for Christmas?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210: call (509) 459-5470; email Donna Mitchell’s mother put Christmas gifts in boxes from The Crescent department store and then asked for their return so she could use them for that purpose again.

More from this author