The Hat Box
In the days when we were really short of money I often used this ploy. If I saw something that I really liked, I’d buy it as a present for one of my relatives. In that way I would have the pleasure of the actual purchase and at least get a glimpse of it now and again! Usually this worked out well – in general I don’t think my taste is so very different from that of the rest of my family. Mind you on one lovely Christmas morning I got a real surprise.
While we were looking in an antique shop one weekend I had fallen in love with a fantastic victorian hat box. It was made from stiff brown board and was fastened with an old metal catch. The thick leather carrying strap felt soft and comfortable as I tried it in my hand. The whole thing looked suitably aged ,whilst showing every sign that it had been taken care of – it even came complete with ornamental hat pins stuck into a satin ball on the inside of the lid. I duly purchased it with the intention of giving it to my Mum for Christmas.
On Christmas morning, when we all got together to share our presents, I handed mum the large, round, carefully wrapped package. She opened it to reveal that it was only a cardboard cut out, the same shape and size as the hat box. Enclosed within the contrivance was a bottle of her favourite perfume.
As I looked on, bemused, my husband handed me a present of the exact same dimensions, wrapped in the same paper. I opened it to discover ...the hat box! He had decided that ,for once ,I should get the present that he knew I really wanted. Mum, who had obviously been party to the deed, looked on laughing as I flushed with a mixture of guilt and pleasure.
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