For 48 years, an Edmonton man has placed a present wrapped in shiny blue, dog-eared paper under the Christmas tree — but he has never opened it.
Back in 1970, Adrian Pearce was a 17-year-old Grade 12 student at George S. Henry Secondary School in the Toronto suburb of Don Mills, looking forward to Christmas vacation.
Then his girlfriend Vicky Allen — his first serious girlfriend — broke up with him. But during the breakup, she gave Pearce a present. He took it home and threw it under his family’s tree.
“After my family opened their gifts at Christmas, there was still one Christmas gift left and it’s the gift this girl Vicki had given me.
That all changes Thursday night. Well, sort of.
For years, Pearce continued placing the present under the tree, even after he got married and had children. He said he kept it initially in case the couple got back together — but after 48 years, it’s now just a habit.
His kids kept asking him if they could open it, but Pearce refused. Eventually, his wife put her foot down and said it wasn’t welcome under the tree anymore. She’s since softened her stance and kind of likes the mystery of the unopened present too.
Is it a photograph? A book? Chocolates? Pearce doesn’t know. Some of the tape doesn’t stick so well because one year, in a moment of weakness, Pearce started to open it and then stopped himself.
Pearce was planning to open the present on the 50th anniversary of receiving it — but after sharing his story of the gift in 2017, it went viral. In the year since, he has reconnected with Vicky Allen. She will be at the gift opening Thursday night in the Edmonton suburb of St. Albert, where the mystery will be revealed.
What’s inside is anyone’s guess, but one thing’s for sure — Pearce won’t be the one opening it. It’s expected his wife or ex-girlfriend will have the honour.
— With files from Rob Drinkwater, The Canadian Press