Thanks to all who commented on my experience with the ghostly black cat I used to talk to on the stairs when I was a small child at my family's big old house. I have been waiting to post the next installment, but until now this site has been down most of the time and not accepting new info. Hope this gets through!
This happened at the same Edwardian house in the UK, which was built by my great-grandfather in 1901. At this point there were only three of us living there, my parents and me. Over the years, I had experienced hearing my name called in my bedroom at night, and hearing the sound of someone sleep-breathing coming from my parents' bedroom, while they were still awake downstairs, and I was supposed to be sleeping! Although I never told them about this, because I did not think they would believe me, this scared me so much that I seriously asked to be allowed to sleep in a tent in the back garden.
Needless to say, they just thought I was nuts and said no.
At no point while I lived there did anyone ever mention ghosts or the supernatural to me. In fact, my mother did not disclose her own feelings and experiences about the house until after I had moved out when I was in my 20s.
Back to the subject of this incident. It was Christmas Eve, and I was about nine or ten years old. In the UK at that time, all children used to leave an empty pillowcase at the the bottom of the bed, hoping that Santa would come in the night to fill it with gifts.
Like most children, I did not stay asleep much beyond 1am, too excited to wait any longer. I woke up, switched on my bedside lamp, and saw the full pillowcase at the foot of the bed.
Just beyond it, near the window, was an old chair, and on it I could see a package, about the size of a shoe box, wrapped in brown paper with string around it. I though this looked very boring and was more concerned with opening the brightly wrapped gifts nearest to me in the pillowcase.
When I had opened them all, I suddenly remembered the brown parcel on the chair and went to open it. But it was not there.