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On Friday one of my students presented me with this gift.

I told the kids that the only thing I wanted from any of them was to work hard and be kind, but some still came to school this week offering me small, unnecessary expressions their gratitude for my efforts.

This was one of my favorites.

Admittedly, I have no idea what is in the box, and I may never know. I liked the homemade wrapping paper so much that I couldn’t bring myself to open the gift.

In truth, my favorite gift in the unopened gift. I’m always most excited about any present given to me just before I open it. I adore the mystery, excitement, anticipation, and promise that an unopened gift offers. Once a gift is opened, it becomes a thing. A sweater. A small bit of electronics. A book. Tickets to a show.

All delightful and greatly appreciated, but somehow not quite as exciting as the unknown.

Similarly, my favorite moment on Christmas Day are the seconds just before the kids come tumbling down to the stairs to see what Santa have left for them. Those precious moments before the first gift is opened and the secrets hidden beneath the wrapping paper become just another part of our life.

More things in the midst of too many things.

This box is currently sitting on a shelf in my classroom, and if my student agrees, I’ll be leaving it there forever. The beautiful, homemade wrapping paper and the joy of the unopened present are both far too precious and far too beloved by me to be disturbed.

I’m sure there is something lovely and thoughtful beneath that wrapping paper, but honestly, there is no way that it will measure up to the delightfulness of the wrapping paper and the mystery that it contains.