Naughty or Nice?

Linda pubpixChristmas is full of ringing bells, a soft warm throw, and hot drinks. But it also means gift-buying and hiding things and calls for a lot of plain old sneakiness.

Bad as I hate to admit it, I have a confession to make. I’m a snoopy person. There, my secret is out. Everyone in my family knows it. I’m not exactly proud of it, but I can’t seem to stop. I just have an insatiable curiosity. Especially when it comes to brightly wrapped gifts with my name on them. There’s nothing like that to put my well-honed skills to the test.

wrapped-giftIt all started when I was big enough to read and recognize my name. The minute those wrapped gifts came out, I’d wait until everyone was busy and not looking then I’d sneak the gift into a safe place where I wouldn’t be disturbed. (I tried to wait until everyone was out of the house but often my curiosity wouldn’t let me. I tell you, it was bad.) The best place in the house was the bathroom where no one would question a locked door. I became very skilled at removing the tape without tearing or messing up the paper. I’d quickly see what was inside and put everything back exactly like I’d found it. I never got caught back then. If I had, I would’ve gotten my sneaky little behind tanned. No, I was very careful. And I became so accomplished at the art that my little sister would beg me to do the same with hers.

And then I figured out that it was easier to peek at them BEFORE they got wrapped. Duh! I’d climb onto a chair so I could reach the top of my mom’s closet. That was generally her hiding place for the Santa stuff and presents she hadn’t had time to wrap yet. Another good spot was in her dresser drawers. No place was safe from my inquiring fingers. I was such bad, bad girl. To my knowledge, no one found out.

Although….one Christmas my mama looked at me really odd. I think she knew and the thought I disappointed her even now puts a big lump in my throat.

It never occurred to me to that it was more fun to wait for the surprise. I just never had that much patience. But what’s bad is that I’m still that way. I’m hopeless. Years ago, when everyone was still at home, my husband and kids got wise to me and either put my gifts under lock and key or they waited until the very last possible minute to buy them. Used to frustrate me to no end.


I think being snoopy has had its advantages though. It’s come in mighty handy in writing my stories. That early training has helped me dig for those illusive facts and little hidden details that add depth to my stories. My snoopiness has worked in chipping away the ore in the mine for those sparkling golden nuggets. It’s also been helpful in finding ways to craft satisfying story endings. Searching for, digging, and unearthing the gifts that have my name on them.

Oh, and I reckon this is a good time to confess that I always have to read the last page of a book before I buy it. For some odd reason, I must know that everything is going to end well before I invest time in reading a story. Drat these ebooks! They won’t let me!

I don’t know if it’s true about confession being good for the soul or not, but I feel better. But I imagine this pretty well seals my fate at a time when Santa’s making his list and checking it twice. I’m reasonably sure I’ll find Linda Broday on the naughty side of the ledger.


How about you? The confessional’s open. Do you have something you need to get off your chest? But are you brave enough?


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Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!

32 thoughts on “Naughty or Nice?”

    • Good morning, DebraG……..Oops! I’m sorry you got caught. You know, it’s so tempting for a child. They’re lured to those packages and can’t bear the wait. The temptation is too great sometimes.

      Wishing you a warm and safe Merry Christmas!

  1. Me and one of my sisters once found our gifts in my parent’s closet and unwrapped them to see what was inside too. We were very lucky to have not gotten caught. We probably wouldn’t have been able to sit for a week because our butts would have been whooped so hard.

    • Good morning, Janine……I’m glad you didn’t get caught. But that temptation is just unbearable. And then the horrible guilt afterward. I can still see the hurt in my mama’s eyes even though she’s been gone for quite a while. That is more lasting than getting a spanking.

      Have a very Merry Christmas!

  2. I can remember snooping when I was a kid and it didn’t go well. We got caught a few times and it was not fun. I don’t do things like that now.

  3. I snooped.. I am just a curious person, so I had too.. One year my brother’s really snooped and opened up all their presents Christmas Eve while my parents were next door at the neighbours house. My mother was devastated when she came home. We don’t open presents until Christmas morning.. But there were the toys from Santa that were still hide.

    • Hi Kathleen O…..Huh-oh! I’ll bet someone got in really big trouble. I’m sure your parents were so angry and disappointed. Half of a parent’s fun is watching the joy on their children’s faces when they open their gifts.

      Have a very Merry Christmas!

  4. I have never fully snooped, LOL. That means I have glanced into a bag, knowing it wasn’t fully covered and ‘glimpsed” a view of what the item was. Otherwise, I’m pretty good. That might be because we have never really done presents, so I don’t have the chance to snoop. We didn’t put significance into gifts – it was more memories, like eating out, getting special food and watching a movie. (I know my parents did this mostly because we didn’t have extra funds for gifts, but it worked!) But the big story in my mom’s side is her sister who ALWAYS peeked into their gifts growing up and then told my mom and her other sister what they were getting and they would be so upset! We all still tease them about it today.

    • Hi Susan P……Your parents had the right idea. Christmas has become so commercialized. But I’m sure they would’ve bought you something if they could’ve afforded it. I remember one Christmas when the money just wasn’t there and all we got was an orange and a few pieces of candy. But I wasn’t hurt or disappointed because us kids knew ahead of time that there would be no presents that year. I love watching the early Walton’s series when those kids were so little. John Boy got a Big Chief tablet and some pencils. But that was very common back then.

      May you have a wonderful Christmas!

  5. Thanks for making me smile this morning. 🙂 You ARE a little naughty, aren’t you? 🙂 And, no, I have nothing to confess…absolutely nothing. 🙂

    • I don’t know why all the extra question marks are here. I put in smiley faces, but question marks showed up instead. So here are some intentional question marks- ??????

      • Ha, Cheryl! I fixed your question marks. Now we have lots of smiley faces. I just have one thing to say…’re holding something back, my dear. The more you protest, the more it’s apparent that you did something. 🙂 It won’t pry though. It’s out little secret.

        Have a bright and very Merry Christmas!!!

  6. I never opened any gifts to snoop, but I remember once when I was a kid… I found where some gifts were being hidden… just peeked to see if any had my name on them! 🙂 Happy Holidays!

  7. Hi Linda, I’m laughing out loud, my friend. Nothing to confess. I am the most boring person on the planet. But I do remember a Christmastime long, long ago. My mom, big brother, and Gram had gone Christmas shopping while I waited at Gram’s house. I didn’t mean to, but after they came back and laid their bags of goodies in the bedroom, I went in there for something random and saw What My Brother Had Gotten Me. A neat shell-craft kit where you made jewelry out of, duh, shells.

    I remember having to fake it when I opened the gift on Christmas morning, but wow, was it a neat present. Merry Christmas backatcha, my friend.

    • Hi Tanya……..Sometimes you can’t help but see things. That’s what I always used to tell myself. 🙂 I just couldn’t help it. After a lot of pre-Christmas snooping though, I remember what a letdown it was on Christmas morning. Great about your shell jewelry craft kit. That does sound like an awesome gift.

      Merry Christmas!

  8. I would say I’m the opposite of you lol. I would never read the end of a book, just never. I remember as a child my mom left all our gifts wrapped and out in the open for weeks. It never occurred to me to look – I love being surprised and am usually easily pleased. Except the time my husband bought me a rug cleaner for Christmas!!! I told him nothing with a plug unless it was a TV or a computer – the next year I got a lovely purse and inside was an extension cord with a plug of course – he always has to have the last word lol.

    • Hi Catslady…….Okay, some of us were just born to be good and perfect….just not me. I envy you though. If I hadn’t snooped, I wouldn’t now have to suffer the memory of my mama’s hurt expression. Huh-oh! Your hubby was in the doghouse. I don’t know why men think we need something that we have to work with. Mine never did that, but he was not a good shopper. How funny that your husband put that extension cord inside your new purse! How funny!

      Have a Christmas full of love and laughter! Maybe you’ll get some books!

  9. I never peeked, but one Christmas eve my five-year old grabbed a wrapped present from under the tree and unwrapped it in front of her older sister. It was older sister’s dream gift, a Barbie doll. She cried bitterly. I stayed up until four in the morning sewing an elaborate wedding dress and veil so that when she opened the gift in the morning it wouldn’t be such a disappointment. She was thrilled. I was exhausted.

    • Hi Anne……Thanks for coming by to join the discussion. How devastating it was four your older daughter. Poor thing. My hat’s off to you, my friend! I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to make a wedding dress for a Barbie. It sounds very difficult. Those clothes are really small so I’m sure you had to do it all by hand. I don’t know how you made a pattern. Wow! But what a loving thing to do. But we go the extra mile for our kids.

      Much love and Merry Christmas!

    • Hi Melanie…….We’re sisters! Finally, I find someone like me. Yes, it’s a thrill at the time. It’s just later during the pretending that makes it hard.

      Have a great Christmas and find the true joy!

  10. Linda, I always, always peeked if I could. I think you and I are twin sisters of different mothers. I did the thing about being so careful not to tear the paper and rewrapping it perfectly. Always hoped Mom would wrap mine in foil because that was so much easier! Like you, I realized it would be easier to sniff them out BEFORE they were wrapped. Mom got really good at hiding them, though. When she started putting stuff in hers and Dad’s closet–I knew I could not go in there. That was one place that was forbidden for SURE.

    I still do not like surprises at all. Again, like you, I ALWAYS read the last page of a book before I buy it. I just have to do it. No getting around it. Sometimes, I will even read the last page before I read through the beginning to see if I want to read it. So glad I’m not the “only one” out there like this. LOLLOL Great post!

  11. I am snoopy and curious, but I love surprises. I enjoy exploring and finding out as much as I can about things. I love blog posts that discuss the research authors do and give links to sources. They have sent me on wonderful trips in some interesting directions. They have also increased my time on the computer. I remember following one link that lead to another, and another. It was three hours later when I came up for air. There is so much out there to learn and I can’t get enough.
    At the same time, I love surprises. I do most of the gift shopping for the family and I enjoy surprising everyone. I don’t hide gifts anymore. Everyone knows they are in the big tote on the shelf in my bedroom. When I was pregnant I never wanted to find out what sex the baby was. It was like peeking at a birthday or Christmas present early – sorry.
    Although I am curious, I savor and look forward to a surprise. It really is a case of to each his or her own. Thanks for a fun post. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and a Great New Year.

    • Hi Patricia B…….Surprises are okay. I really enjoy surprising readers with twists they didn’t see coming. I just didn’t want to be the one surprised I guess. Yes, each person is different and none is wrong. You’re a blessed lady and you’ve filled my life with joy.

      Merry Christmas!

  12. LOL, oh my goodness, what a chuckle I had while reading your post. It brings back such memories.
    Heck yes, my older brother and I did it all the time at Christmas. We were both really good at the unwrapping and rewrapping also. He taught me and I eventually showed my little brother. Mom never onced guessed. Although when I got older I stopped doing it because it took all the fun out of it. You are right, the curious little mind of a child is amazing. I can hardly wait to see what my little 4 year old granddaughter does when she gets a little older. It should be such fun, to hear about her sneakiness!!! By the way, I just want to say, I love your sneakiness because I love all your books. I can’t wait for your next book in 2017. Linda, have a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    • Hi Sharon B……..I’m so glad you enjoyed my post. Glad I could give you a chuckle. Oh the fun you can have with your little granddaughter! I wonder if she’ll take after you. Ha! I’d be willing to bet. Thank you for your kind words about my books. I am quite sneaky when I’m writing. 🙂 I love surprising readers with things they don’t see coming. And boy, do I have a HUGE surprise in Heart of a Texas Cowboy!! Oh man! You’ll never guess what I have in store for you. Mark May 2nd on your calendar.

      Merry Christmas!

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