This is a story that will be told for years to come, I am sure, and I'm not a bit ashamed to admit that I was the mastermind behind it. It was a bold move but I was confident from my interactions with Morgan that he could take the joke.
Back in November before Emily and Morgan had gotten married they decided that they'd spend Christmas at our house—"our" mostly meaning "Grandma and Grandpa's house"—though with the condition that Morgan, who is a dyed-in-the-wool Idaho boy, receive a chocolate orange in his stocking since that is one of his family's traditions.
Emily timidly approached Karen with Morgan's request and Karen told her that such a simple thing wouldn't be a burden. I must have had chocolate on the brain from watching Karen make chocolates all month long—she made red chocolate hearts and white chocolate temples to set out at Emily and Morgan's wedding reception and it took her from the time Emily got engaged to just a couple days before Emily got married to do it.
"What we should do," I suggested, "Is dip an orange in chocolate and then pretend we had no idea what he meant when he asked for a chocolate orange."
There was a bit of debate about how, exactly, this was to be done (should the orange be peeled and then dipped, should we tie a string around it and dip it?) but everyone agreed that it should be.
Karen ended up dipping the orange, peel and all, one half at a time, and then wrapped it up in saran wrap and tied it with a ribbon. It looked beautiful. Karen put that one in his stocking and we hid the real chocolate orange in the cupboard (a gag present is no fun without a recompense to follow).
This morning Emily and Morgan came to open up presents and we all filed into the front room to see what Santa had left for us.
"Morgan, as the newest member of the family, you should go first!" we suggested.
No one else could go first since there were (real) chocolate oranges in our stockings, too.
Morgan relented and began to pull things out of his stocking. He pulled a round ball of chocolate wrapped in saran wrap first and held it up in front of his face to examine it. He wasn't quite sure what it was.
"It's your chocolate orange!" Karen beamed.
"Oh?" said Morgan, "That's not what I....haven't you....ummmm..."
"We thought it was a strange request," Karen continued, "But we did the best we could."
"Haven't you guys ever heard of chocolate oranges?" Morgan asked, surprised, then went on to describe them in great detail. "It's like an orange made out of chocolate and you whack it on the table and then the little orange segments fall apart and you can eat them and they taste like oranges but they're made out of chocolate. You should really try them! They're so good!"
Meanwhile we were all laughing too hard to listen. He thought we were laughing because we thought the idea of a chocolate orange was absurd. Or something.
"We didn't know!" Karen managed to say between fits of laughter, "We just did the best we could!"
"Well, you know what? I'm going to eat it, anyway. You get an 'A' for effort!" Morgan said (this boy is beyond polite).
That's about when we brought out the real chocolate orange.
"Wait a minute!" he roared in (clearly feigned) outrage, "You knew all along! I see how it is: make fun of the new kid. Y'all are going to get it next year, I swear! You're all invited to Christmas on my farm and, oh, boy, are you ever going to get it!"
I don't know what tricks he has in mind but he made some joke about collecting eggs from the eggplant they have outside for breakfast on Christmas morning...
I told Morgan that, in a way, this gag was a gift to him since it was a Christmas he won't soon forget.
He should probably get used to this kind of treatment because Emily is a little prankster, too. She gave Grandpa DST for Christmas—she wrapped up a dirty sock and gifted it to him (though she gave him a package of new socks, too).
***Morgan has since formally forgiven all parties of the chocolate orange incident. No hard feelings, right?***