“I won’t tell you who has you, but it’s spelled D-A-D,” divulged my kindergartner casting an aren’t-you-impressed-by-what-I-can-spell look around the table.  Her little brother scrunched his eyebrows in attempt to decipher her cryptic clue.

This year we decided to draw family names with the intent of making a homemade gift for that person. We know another family who does this and they make each other the most beautiful, thoughtful things. The anticipation of who has who keeps them giddy all season long. The only problem is, my kids can’t keep a secret. At all.

As soon as any one of them suspects I’m pregnant, every neighbor, checkout lady and fast food cashier knows. (Haven’t they told you yet? We’re expecting a baby girl this spring!) Thinking of moving? My kids will have their teachers calling the house and real estate agents ringing my doorbell to confirm whether the rumors are true.

As soon as we drew the names, the kids instantly turned into shook-up cans of soda pop, ready to erupt with the slightest bit of pressure.  And, of course, pressure was applied.

“Who do you have! Who do you have???”  giggled Kate.

“I’m not teeeeellliinngg!” chanted Andy.

And then began the clues. Clues so obvious, Inspector Clouseau could decode them in a snap.

“My person rhymes with…”

“My person likes…”

And before you could say “red-nosed reindeer” they all looked at each other with knowing eyes and big grins.

But one surprise still remains (well, six actually.) What will everyone make? Homemade gifts require some forethought. They require someone to drive you to the craft store and supervise you using a glue gun, staple gun and/or the sewing machine. (Or in the baby’s case, someone to do it for you completely.) 

So here’s the rub: they can only get help if they keep their lips zipped. No charades, hints, hand gestures, mouthing, insinuating, or alluding to what their gifts will be. No exceptions. That will be a surprise on Christmas morning. So guess who the grand secret keeper is now?

Want to know what we’re all making?

Can you keep a secret?

Margaret Anderson is a BYU graduate, freelance writer, and mother of four (soon to be five) small children. You can read more on her blog at www.jamsandpickles.wordpress.com