Christmas Present Map

Main Piece:

The following conversation is transcribed from a conversation between me (HS) and my mother/informant (SW).

HS: When I was young, you would make a map of our home with presents marked as x’s scattered throughout the house. Where did you get this tradition from?

SW: From what I can remember, my mom would make Christmas maps for us when we were kids. Particularly for my brother, because he was always super adventurous. My mom may have gotten it from her family, but I’m not 100% sure. Anyways, I remember the first time I did it for you so well. You totally lit up and got super excited, and so I would make a map of our house every year and hide presents in obscure places. At first, I would hide the presents in pretty easy-to-find places, but as you got older I had to get a lot more creative so that you wouldn’t find them in 30 seconds.


My informant is my mother. She was raised in Huntington Beach, California, but she moved to Kansas with her family when she was 16 because a majority of her family was living there and in Missouri. She always dreamed of coming back to California and took the first opportunity she could get to come back. She now lives in Dana Point.


I was sitting at dinner with my parents and was talking to my mom about how she had gotten the idea to make a Christmas present map.


I have always been curious about this tradition within my family, particularly because I often wonder whether it is unique to us or not. If there is one thing that I have learned from taking ANTH 333, it is that a lot of traditions that people think are unique to them are in fact not and in some cases actually very widespread.