I Got You This Gift
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Every year since we realized that we were getting older and that Christmas presents weren't really meant for us any longer, my brother 'Bummy' and I engage in a very special holiday tradition: who can wrap the other's gift in the most creative (read: hard to open) way possible. This year, I really outdid myself. But more on that later.
It started in earnest a few years ago when Bummy inserted a few items in a large cardboard box, and then filled the box with expandable, hardening foam. He wrapped the gift and set it under the tree, snickering to himself the entire time. As Christmas morning came and we prepared to open our gifts, he handed me a chisel, with the simple and confounding phrase, "You'll need this."
Well when I opened my gift, I saw a large, solid block of white. Bummy told me to get cracking' or we'd be here forever. The next hour or so was spent chiseling chunks of static-electrically-charged styrofoam off of the block, trying to uncover the gift or gifts that were promised. Fortunately, the promise was fulfilled (how funny would that have been if there was nothing inside!) Well, this certainly was one way to make Christmas more memorable for us big kids. And it made the gift-opening last longer too.
The next year, I decided to continue the tradition. This time, I was going to try for the gross-out factor. I took his gift, water-proofed it, and then proceeded to freeze it inside of a cooler full of water. Oh, I should mention that I coloured the water yellow to simulate urine and I even inserted chunks of Oh Henry! bars for a little touch of simulated "number 2". Unfortunately, I didn't anticipate just how long a large cooler of water takes to freeze solid, and the whole thing ended up being a rather cool block of slush rather than ice. I suppose this did make it easier for my brother to retrieve his gift though. Oddly enough, I can't for the life of me remember what the gift actually was.
This year really took the cake, however. It started with a silly little prank. Every year, my dad always buys us a Toblerone bar. Of course I wanted to carry on the tradition. Since my dad stays in Alberta for the Holidays and I go home to BC to visit my brother, dad sends some cash along with me to buy these little gifts. But a few days before my chocolate purchase, I randomly asked my brother what his favourite chocolate indulgence was. It's so odd, because he's so disciplined when it comes to health, fitness and eating well, but then he also has this incredible chocolate sweet-tooth.
To my complete surprise, he told me he likes chunky Kitkat and - more strangely - Coffee Crisp. I never knew! So of course I wanted to get him his favourites. But Toblerone's triangular prism shape is so distinctive that I wanted to keep it. So I took a toblerone box (I forget what happened to the chocolate inside…) and then stuffed it full of the chocolate bars I knew he'd enjoy more.
This was the nice trick. The best one was yet to come. I had been racking my brain on how to wrap my brother's main gift for weeks. He's always been against stuff for the sake of stuff, so I like to get him something experiential. That, coupled with the Mayan Apocalypse scare prompted me to look into outdoor survival classes, something I've wanted to do for years. I decided on this gift, but I couldn't buy it - I didn't know what dates would work.
By some divine inspiration, I got the best idea how to wrap such a non-existent gift. I first took the website of the survival school and turned it into a QR code, one of those square bar codes read by a smartphone. Then I printed the QR code and stuck it on a Rubix cube. I cut the squares, and mixed up the Rubix cube. I then wrapped it and on Christmas morning, I waited eagerly for Bummy's reaction.
Initially, he was perplexed - he'd never managed to unscramble a Rubix cube without cheating. I assured him and pointed him at Google, where you can find anything, including the directions for solving Rubix cubes. Within the next two hours, he'd solved the puzzle. It was the best trick to date by far. Now, I'm only wishing I had encoded the Rubix cube website in the QR code. Wouldn't that have been fun? "Congratulations, you've won a Rubix Cube!"
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