Created By: StevenT on October 16, 2012 Last Edited By: XFllo on July 28, 2013
Troped

Present Peeking

When impatient people peek at their presents early.

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There are some people in fiction as well as in real life who try to peek at their presents early. Naturally, the person who is giving the presents, usually a parent, tries to find a hiding place where the presents can't be found before the big event. Usually done with children around Christmas time, but the trope can be used for other gift-giving occasions as well.

A variant happens when your character finds a hidden gift meant for somebody else, and assumes it's for them. Hilarity Ensues when the gift-giver tries to find a way to tell them the truth or tries to procure a copy of the present. This situation may be Played for Drama when the character realizes that the gift they found hidden wasn't given to them at all, and they might start suspecting Your Cheating Heart.

Related to Gift Shake.

Examples:

Advertising
  • There's a commercial where a guy manages to open the gift without any damage. Inside is a cellphone that suddenly rings. On the other end is his wife, who simply says, "Honey, put it back."

Comics
  • Superman: In some of the early comics, one of the first of Clark Kent's powers is the ability to see inside the gift wrappings.
  • Archie Comics: Archie bought his mom a sweater for her birthday, and asked Veronica to hide it at her house. However Veronica's mom snoops around for her anniversary present and finds the sweater! What's more, she loves it! But her husband, billionaire Mr. Lodge, had actually bought his wife a mink coat.

Comic Strips
  • Foxtrot: Jason Fox once started ripping into his presents on Christmas Eve, explaining that as it was technically Christmas Day for American troops stationed in Afghanistan, he was opening them at the same time they were. Roger retaliates by calling to have his son shipped off to Afghanistan.
  • The children of The Family Circus frequently managed to find their hidden Christmas presents. Needless to say, their parents are not happy when this happens.

Film
  • Referenced in The Last Starfighter:
    Centauri: (to Alex) Hey, are you kind of kid who reads the last page of a mystery first? Who pesters the magician to tell you his tricks? Who sneaks downstairs to peek at his Christmas presents? Noooo, of course you're not.
  • In Love Actually, one woman accidentally finds a golden necklace and gets excited. But her husband actually bought it for his Love Interest (though not a lover) from work. When she opens the present of the same shape and size with her family, she's visibly disappointed because it's a CD. The CD is very meaningful, but she figures out he bought the necklace for someone else.

Literature
  • In the Black Jewels extended story "Winsol Gifts", adult offspring try to do this with their Winsol presents, as well as youngsters. Saetan anticipated this attempt and used magic to make it impossible for even his more powerful son to open his present early.

Live-Action TV
  • In the Doctor Who Christmas episode, "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe", the widow's youngest child gets curious and has to peek at the Doctor's big present.
  • The X-Files, episode "Christmas Carol": In a Happy Flashback, teenage Melissa and Dana go to the tree to peek at their presents. Mrs. Scully comes to them as well, and they open their presents with golden crosses together.
  • Friends:
    • In "The One With The Routine", Rachel and Phoebe look for their presents from Monica. They claim they do it every year as part of Christmas fun, but they have never found them. Phoebe persuades Chandler to join them so that he can give Monica gifts of the same value.
      Phoebe: I mean what if she gets you a great present, two medium presents, and a bunch of little presents? And you've just gotten her one great present? I mean that's just gonna make her feel bad. Why would you do that to her Chandler? Why? Why?
    • Monica is impatient to see what she and Chandler got for their wedding presents. First she unwraps just a tiny gift, which is a salt shaker, but she ends up opening all of them, and doesn't manage to wrap them again for Chandler's benefit.
  • On an episode of Even Stevens, Louis locates where his parents hid the Hanukkah presents and takes a peek. In doing so, he somehow manages to destroy all the presents.
  • There's a Frasier episode where everyone who isn't Frasier unwrap their presents, then they wrap everything up again.

Music
  • In "The Dr. Steel Christmas Special", Doctor Steel gets impatient and decides to open some of his presents early.
    "My Christmas tree is simply overflowing with kind gifts. Thank you ever so much. I certainly cannot wait until Christmas. And so... [Record Scratch] I won't!"

Western Animation
  • In the Rugrats episode "Regarding Stuie" the babies had Stu, whose mind had been reverted to that of a baby thanks to bump on the head, grab a box high in the closet which they thought contained Christmas presents.
  • In the Lilo & Stitch: The Series episode "Topper" it's shown Lilo has done this so often she knows how to open her presents carefully so Nani can't tell she did.
  • In the Ruby Gloom episode "Happy Yam Ween" Iris is shown to be this kind of kid.
    Iris: I'm just going to look at the presents. I'm not going to open them all up and then rewrap them.
  • In The Simpsons in one Christmas episode, Bart wakes up very early to see the gifts before the others. He ends up destroying all the presents and the tree as well in a fire.
  • In an episode of Justice League, Superman/Clark Kent's parents use lead foil which blocks his x ray vision so he can't peek.
  • In the Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy Christmas Episode "Jingle Jangle Eds", Eddy finds his Christmas presents and peeks inside, only to be severely disappointed. ("A dickie? They still make those?") He then goes house to house trying to get some of the other kid's presents instead.
  • Referenced in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, with the Joker comparing finding out about Batman's secret identity to peeking at Christmas presents... and finding the contents "sadly anticlimactic".

Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • October 16, 2012
    StarSword
    I'd advise No Real Life Examples Please to keep it from filling up with personal anecdotes.

    Film
    • Referenced in The Last Starfighter:
      Centauri: (to Alex) Hey, are you kind of kid who reads the last page of a mystery first? Who pesters the magician to tell you his tricks? Who sneaks downstairs to peek at his Christmas presents? Noooo, of course you're not.
  • October 16, 2012
    JonnyB
    In "The Dr. Steel Christmas Special", Doctor Steel gets impatient and decides to open some of his presents early.
    "My Christmas tree is simply overflowing with kind gifts. Thank you ever so much. I certainly cannot wait until Christmas. And so... [Record Scratch] I won't!"

    In the Doctor Who Christmas episode, "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe", the widow's youngest child gets curious and has to peek at the Doctor's big present.
  • October 16, 2012
    KZN02
    See also Gift Shake
  • October 16, 2012
    Tallens
    • In some of the early comics, one of the first of Clark Kent's powers is the ability to see inside the gift wrappings.
  • October 16, 2012
    StarSword
    Fixed a Rouge Angles Of Satin grammar mistake in my Last Starfighter entry.
  • October 17, 2012
    dyson88
    Speaking of Superman, in an episode of Justice League, his parents use lead foil which blocks his x ray vision so he can't peek.
  • October 17, 2012
    m8e
    Wasn't there a cristmas episode of friends where they tried to find and peek at the gifts from Monica? This wasn't because they where impatient(or were they?), they just wanted to know what it was so they could beat her in gift giving.
  • October 17, 2012
    TonyG
    In the Ed Edd N Eddy Christmas Episode "Jingle Jangle Eds", Eddy finds his Christmas presents and peeks inside, only to be severely dissapointed. ("A dickie? They still make those?") He then goes house to house trying to get some of the other kid's presents instead.
  • October 17, 2012
    Arivne
    A corollary to this: the person giving the present(s) (usually a parent) trying to find a hiding place where they can't be found before Christmas Eve.
  • October 17, 2012
    XFllo
    I added three examples - from The X-files, The Simpsons, and Friends
  • October 17, 2012
    SquirrelGuy
    On an episode of Even Stevens, Louis locates where his parents hid the Hanukkah presents and takes a peek. In doing so, he somehow manages to destroy all the presents.
  • October 29, 2012
    SquirrelGuy
    In an Archie Comic, Archie bought his mom a sweater for her birthday, and asked Veronica to hide it at her house. However Veronica's mom snoops around for her anniversary present and finds the sweater! What's more, she loves it! But her husband, billionaire Mr. Lodge, had actually bought his wife a mink coat. Guess what Archie's mom got instead?
  • November 25, 2012
    XFllo
    I think the description should be expanded just a little bit, though it's not necessary to make it too long. Other than that, I think this might be ready to be launched.
  • November 25, 2012
    turingfan
    There's a Frasier episode where everyone who isn't Frasier do this, then they wrap everything up again. Sorry can't remember which one but you can find it easily.
  • February 22, 2013
    Chabal2
    • Garfield once tried weighing, measuring and shaking a present to determine what was inside, then said "So much for the scientific method", grabbed Jon's face and demanded to know what it was.
    • Jason Fox once started ripping into his presents on Christmas Eve, explaining that as it was technically Christmas Day for American troops stationed in Afghanistan, he was opening them at the same time they were. Roger retaliates by calling to have his son shipped off to Afghanistan.

  • February 22, 2013
    MetaFour
    Western Animation:
    • In the Justice League Christmas episode, Ma and Pa Kent line Clark's presents with lead to prevent him from using his x-ray vision to peek.
  • February 22, 2013
    MaxWest
    The children of The Family Circus frequently managed to find their hidden Christmas presents. Needless to say, their parents are not happy when this happens.
  • February 22, 2013
    IsaacSapphire
    In the Black Jewels extended story "Winsol Gifts", adult offspring try to do this with their Winsol presents, as well as youngsters. Saetan anticipated this attempt and used magic to make it impossible for even his more powerful son to open his present early.
  • March 11, 2013
    XFllo
    Added Up For Grabs tag. Anyone wants to adopt this trope? It is a fun concept. Description could be slightly longer and examples should be added (Rolling Updates). Working title is good I think.
  • July 2, 2013
    XFllo
    The OP hasn't showed up for a long time. Could you comment on this draft, please? I think that this draft and Gift Shake might be actually the same concept, only played differently. Do you think it's tropeworthy, or should we merge them together? Some of the examples are the same. I actually like Present Peeking as a name better.
  • July 3, 2013
    RedneckRocker
    • There's a commercial (I forget for what) where a guy manages to open the gift without any damage. Inside is a cellphone, that suddenly rings. On the other end is his wife, who simply says, "Honey, put it back."
    • Another variant of this is Alice finding a gift meant for somebody else, and assuming it's for her. Hilarity Ensues as Bob tries to find a way to tell her the truth.
  • July 10, 2013
    arbiter099
    Gift Shake only has 3 wicks.
  • July 11, 2013
    Tallens
    Isn't it the responsibility of whoever launches a trope to put all the new wicks on?
  • July 11, 2013
    XFllo
    ^ Generally yes, but many hope that Wiki Magic will take care of that. Ideally if the one who launches it doesn't have time, they can ask for help at the forum.

    Gift Shake could be a fairly healthy trope. It has several examples, but it's not cross-wicked. However, I wonder -- are these sister tropes? Or do we ant one trope for those related concepts (shaking gifts to find out what is there or unwrapping the gifts ahead of time)? I can see it both ways.
  • July 21, 2013
    MattStriker
    • Referenced in Batman Beyond Return Of The Joker, with the Joker comparing finding out about Batman's secret identity to peeking at christmas presents...and finding the contents "sadly anticlimactic".
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=3pz8az74ni9q6u5ebs2xgrmu&trope=PresentPeeking