Sad Man Opens Christmas Present He Kept Wrapped For Nearly Half A Century

By: Mia Williams | Published: Aug 01, 2023

Keeping a present unopened for nearly half a century isn’t expected. Yet, a Canadian gentleman had refrained from opening a gift for 47 years. The world is full of people like us who wouldn’t wait 47 seconds to rip open our gifts, so this is an anomaly.

It was a Christmas gift from his ex-girlfriend who had broken his heart when he was in high school. So, what made him finally open the gift? Read on to discover how this heartwarming story unfolded and, of course, to know what the unwrapping revealed.

The Heartbroken Bloke

So, who is this heartbroken man who couldn’t let go of the distant past? His name is Adrian Mike Pearce, and he has lived all his life in Toronto, Canada. In 2017 when his life story went viral, he was over 60 and still holding on to that little Christmas present from his ex-girlfriend, Vicki Allen.


Source: The Canadian Press / youtube

What could have happened all those years ago for him to hold on so tightly to something that he could’ve opened right away? If the girl had so utterly broken his heart, why keep her gift and be reminded of that pain?


First Flush of Love

Let’s go back to the time when it all began. It was the spring of 1970 when Adrian had been dating the beautiful Vicki for eight months. They were studying at the George S. Henry Secondary School in the suburbs of Toronto.


Source: Adrian Pierce/facebook

The nerdy young girl with her brown hair parted in the middle, wearing oval-shaped spectacles, caught his attention immediately. She was his junior by two years while he was a 12th grader. He met her for the first time in the school’s camera club.

The Girl Who Had His Heart

At 17 and 15, Adrian and Vicki’s dates involved sneaking out with their friends. Even when he visited her house, he used to bribe his girlfriend’s sister with money to get herself snacks so the smitten teenager could spend some alone time with his girl.


Source: Adrian Pierce/facebook

Even as his personal life had fallen apart due to the untimely demise of his dad, whom he had adored, he found solace in his relationship with Vicki. They made sure to meet every day after school without their parent’s knowledge.

The Tradition of Exchanging Christmas Gifts

Soon, Christmas was upon them and they were surrounded by the good cheer of festivities. Their homes were decorated and everyone was looking forward to spending time with their families. Adrian longed to spend more time with his pretty girl.


Source: Nenad Stojkovic / wikicommons

As is the tradition, Christmas gifts are exchanged between loved ones during the holidays, and Vicki took extra effort to find something precious for her boyfriend. As a voracious reader, she had a good eye for books, but the young girl in love wanted her present for him to be unique.

The Girl Who Broke His Heart

The mornings were getting colder, and Adrian was out that day before class waiting for Vicki to arrive at their usual rendezvous point, the park across the school. She came into view, and his heart started racing; this time, it wasn’t due to excitement at seeing her looking so pretty.

Source: Adrian Pierce/facebook

There was something different about her that day. Her face was set, and her entire gait screamed she had something serious to say, and that was exactly how she began the conversation. The rest of her sentences shook him to the core, and he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.


She Gave Him a Gift and Dumped Him

Wait, did he hear her right? Was Vicki, the girl he considered his best friend and partner, really breaking up with him? The news hit him like a ton of bricks. Her face looked sterner as she continued her confession, but nothing made sense to him.

Source: The Canadian Press / youtube

He begged her to not let go of their relationship; he was ready to do anything for her. Alas, nothing came out of his plea. After dumping him so mercilessly, she handed him a Christmas gift wrapped in blue foil paper with a gift tag attached to a pretty holiday ribbon and walked away.


A Long Walk Home

Adrian stood there for a long time, holding her parting gift tight as his knuckles turned white and the world slowly crashed around him. He was angry and heartbroken, and the feeling of betrayal rose to the surface as he began a long walk home.

Source: Bill Boaden / wikicommons

The young boy of 17 had his heart broken into pieces by a 15-year-old girl. She was his first love, and it was the first time his heart felt like it could never be pieced back together. He desperately tried to hold back his tears as he stomped through the snow.


A Home Lit Up for Christmas

Instead of going back to school for the day, Adrian couldn’t think of anything but to get back home to his room and lock himself in for the rest of eternity; he was that hurt and mortified. His home, decorated brightly for Christmas, directly contrasted with his current mood.

Source: Mario Hains / wikicommons

Once inside, he flung her gift under the Christmas tree with a heap of presents underneath. His mom had ensured they had a typical festive atmosphere at home despite the hardships the three of them, including his twin brother Chris, faced in his father’s absence.


Never Going to Open the Present

The day wore on with him locked inside his room until he had to come out to the living room at night for dinner. His mood did not improve even at the end of the holidays when all the lights were taken down and his mother was clearing out the Christmas tree.

Source: Asurnipal / wikicommons

Seeing the lone Christmas gift still lying unopened beneath the tree, his mother asked him about it. Still smarting from the breakup, Adrian angrily proclaimed that he’d never open that present in this lifetime! He later found it in his room.


A Few Years Later

Years passed with him trying to be in a stable relationship, but it only worked out for a few months until he met Janet. By then, he had finished school, graduated, and had a stable job.

Source: The Canadian press / youtube

The Christmas gift lay unopened at his mom’s house during all this time. He thought of it once in a while but was never once tempted to open the gift and know what his ex-girlfriend had bought for him for the last time. It came out of his desk only during the holidays.


His Marriage and Family

Ten years after Adrian had his heart broken, he married his girlfriend Janet who had stayed by his side through the ups and downs of his life. He loved her, and they had a solid relationship, like any other married couple.

Source: RF Vila / wikicommons

The husband and wife started building a life together, and four years later, they welcomed their first-born child, a beautiful boy, and named him Chris. A few years later, the couple held their little girl Jackie. Both the children were growing up in loving households.


Continued the Tradition Every Christmas

A heartful marriage and beautiful family did not stop him from taking out the gift from his ex, every December holiday, and placing it neatly under the Christmas tree. His wife understood and did not really mind it initially. Soon, his kids noticed, and the younger became curious about the unopened present.

Source: The Canadian press / youtube

When Jackie was five years old, she asked her daddy about the gift and pleaded with him to let her open it. He said the same thing he did every year – that he had vowed never to open that present.


The Wife Put Her Foot Down

His little girl was so disappointed that her father wouldn’t let her open the present she sulked the entire evening. She was too young to understand and this matter began to upset his wife too. While Janet had been supportive of his every decision, she put her foot down this time.

Source: the canadian press / youtube

She told him that his actions were confusing for their children and he should stop taking out the gift during Christmas. If he wanted to look at it yearly, he could do so out of sight of his wife and family.


A Hopeless Romantic at Heart

Adrian turned out to be a hopeless romantic at heart; no one knew what was going through his head when it came to Vicki’s last gift to him. Sure, she was his first love, so their relationship must have been special.

Source: KSC60 / wikicommons

Yet, something about the breakup made him so stubbornly hold on to a gift that anyone would have let go of after all these years. Did he still feel for the girl he hadn’t seen in decades? Or was he still hopelessly holding on to how she had made him feel?


Almost Tore Open the Gift

If you are wondering if Adrian was ever tempted to open the gift, you are right because it’s almost impossible for a person not to. One time, he recalled those times he wanted to rip open the wrapping and take a peek inside.

Source: Juliescribbles / wikicommons

He almost tore open the blue foil paper in a hurry to uncover what lay within but luckily for him and his resolve, he held himself back. Unfortunately for everyone around, the mystery and the Christmas tradition continued.


Still Intact After So Many Years

Over the decades, the gift has made several little trips from his basement to the living room under the Christmas tree and back to the drawer where he kept it safe. Of course, there’s bound to be some wear and tear. Yet, the wrapping stayed intact, except it got crumpled because of so much handling.

The gift looked pretty decent to him, still snuggled inside the crinkled blue foil paper and the festive ribbon mocking him to dare and untie its strings. Yet, he stayed firm in his stance.


Picture of the Unopened Present

How deep was his disappointment with Vicki that he’d stay stubborn despite all the temptations and the family urging him every Christmas to open the gift? We bet there were enough arguments in the household about a present from someone no one else had met.

Source: Adrian Pearce / facebook

After 47 years, was he still so bitter about their parting? What did his ex-girlfriend do or say that brought about such a strong need to keep the gift unopened? In 2017, the story came to a head when he decided to share the picture and story of the unopened present on social media.


The Story Went Viral

That decision brought him the 15 minutes of fame he hadn’t sought. The story of a heartbroken man keeping an unopened present from his ex-girlfriend for 47 years spread like wildfire, and the media caught wind of it.

Source: the canadian press / youtube

Various news channels approached him to hear the details at length, and Adrian even obliged. Maybe he secretly hoped to meet Vicki again, but whatever his motive was, the entire thing quickly went out of his control. Everyone wanted to know everything about him, his family, and his ex-girlfriend and her parting gift to him.


She Was Shocked at the News

When the internet was abuzz with Adrian’s story, a mutual high school friend, Don, quietly sent the link to one of the articles to Vicki. He had been in touch with her all along and wanted to know if she had heard about her ex.

Source: Paul Duke / wikicommons

This was the first she had heard of it, and she was shocked to know he had kept her present for nearly five decades without opening it. She then decided to get in touch with the man of the hour.


She Had Messaged Him

Adrian began receiving many friend requests from women claiming to be Vicki on social media. It so happened that one of them genuinely turned out to be his ex-girlfriend. He established that after messaging back and forth with her.

Source: Scared Poet / wikicommons

Vicki then told him that she had messaged him a year ago, but he had ignored her. He had, in fact, not recognized her married name. She asked him about the gift, and by then, he had decided to auction it off for someone else to open with the proceeds promised to a local charity, the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton.


Traveling to British Columbia With His Wife

The D-day of the meeting arrived as discussed; Adrian and his wife traveled to British Columbia for the auction. His story had so many people invested in knowing the contents of the gift that the media had convinced him to have it opened in public with the camera filming the entire event.

Source: TUBS / wikicommons

People were invited, and it was decided that the woman who had given him the present all those years ago would be the one to unwrap it. The man was still adamant that he wouldn’t open it.


Adrian and Vicki Meet Again

To Vicki, it felt wonderful not to be forgotten, whether appropriate or not. She acknowledged Janet’s supportive stance by not throwing the gift out of the window the first year of marriage like anyone would have.

Source: the canadian press / youtube

His ex understood how much self-control and determination went into keeping the present intact and unopened for 47 years. Finally, Vicki got to meet him and his wife and was happy, and so was the couple. Janet also got to put a face to the ex whose gift her husband has been holding on to for dear life.


Victoria Did the Honors

Victoria, as she preferred to be called, arrived at the charity event celebrating the reunion and the unveiling of the gift everyone wanted to see. She was nervous about the cameras trained on her, but she did not let her smile drop even for a moment.

Source: the canadian press / youtube

Under everyone’s watchful eyes and Adrian and Janet’s nervous anticipation, Victoria carefully unwrapped the gift she had once meticulously wrapped with the store-bought decorative paper and ribbon. In all honesty, she had long forgotten what it was.


New Ways to Spot the Love

The unwrapping of the Christmas gift from nearly 50 years ago revealed a small book titled Love Is: New Ways To Spot That Certain Feeling; the book was full of cartoons, illustrations, and quotes on love, and the irony wasn’t lost on Mr. Pearce who looked on with stunned disbelief.

Source: Petar Milošević / wikicommons

This was the gift his high school sweetheart had picked for him the day before she unceremoniously dumped him! The media caught on quickly and asked how he felt. Adrian replied that he found her gift choice cute despite the irony.


Her Side of the Story

The revelation of the gift brought on fresh memories from that morning 47 years ago for both parties when Ms. Allen had relayed why she was breaking up with him. Ironically, she had met another boy when she was out shopping for his Christmas gift.

Source: the canadian press / youtube

She picked up the book when a boy walked up to her with a mistletoe. When she asked him what that was for, he held it over his head, pulled her close, bent her backward, and kissed her. It had all been quite Harlequin-ish!


She Had Kissed Another

While Victoria confessed to having met another boy and hence was breaking up with him, she had left out one crucial piece of information, which was why she couldn’t be with Adrian. After nearly five decades, he came to know of it and understood her stance on the matter.

Source: Masha Rubin / wikicommons

When the boy she had just met kissed her in front of everyone and her friend in the mall, she passionately kissed him back. She realized it would be unfair to continue dating Adrian after what happened. So, she decided to end the relationship before he would find out and feel betrayed.


Saying Goodbye to the Past

Years later, with the truth and the Christmas gift out in the open, the misunderstandings and the bitterness that had plagued Adrian’s heart for decades simply melted away. He no longer felt burdened with the past that had somehow not let a part of him rest peacefully.

Source: the canadian press / youtube

Even though Adrian did not understand how the incident left a deep scar, he was finally ready to let it all go. We bet his family was glad to finally see him untie the knot in his heart.


Sealing a Friendship Pact With a Peck

At the press’ insistence after the auction, Adrian and Victoria, now in their 60s, shared a quick peck for the photoshoot. The picture made it to several publications and years after, it is still in circulation on the internet along with the story of their journey.

Source: the canadian press / youtube

You can call it a friendship sealed with a kiss, but let’s refrain from putting a romantic spin on it. Adrian is a happily married family man, and Victoria remains a dear old friend from high school.


The 47-Year-Old Present

A year after the Christmas gift was finally opened, Adrian and Vicki, with the help of editor Jan Piers, wrote and published the story titled The 47 Year Old Present in December 2018. His wife Janet, who is an author, helped him through the tricky bits, encouraging him to tell his story to a larger audience.

Source: Milad Mosapoor / wikicommons

The book reveals much more than what he told the various publications. It gives an in-depth insight into the feelings and individual journeys of the two protagonists. You will undoubtedly spot new ways of feeling that love when you read it.