Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Your Favorite Childhood Holiday Present?

Well, it's Christmastime and once again my pop culture/nostalgia-addled mind turns to thoughts of the televised yule log, Santa tooling around the North Pole on a Norelco electric shaver, York Peppermint Patty commercials during A Charlie Brown Christmas, singing cries of "razzle berry dressing" and "woofle jelly cake" along with Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol and...well...let's just say I spent a good deal of my holidays (and childhood) in front of the TV during the 70's.

And speaking of the holidays, television and the Me Decade, I'd like to share with you my--and my brother's--favorite Christmas present of all time, delivered by St. Nick on December 25, 1977 at our grandparents' house on Staten Island:

The very first edition of the Atari VCS (prior to the 2600 name change). This was indeed Marcello's and my Red Ryder BB gun, our real estate, our, uh, zoo-zitta-car-zay (a rollerskate type of lacrosse or croquet). It also allowed for great hours of fun with our dad, especially when we realized that the tanks in Combat could drive off one side of the screen and reappear on the other.

Now, if the controllers were not in the way, keen students of the Atari VCS would note that the above console is indeed the original six-toggle big boy and not the four-switch version of later years. They would also remark that there is no way we received the VCS and all the above video game cartridges that one Christmas. Instead, we collected them over subsequent holidays and birthdays, each lovingly kept in their original packaging for I guess this very photo-op a full 30 YEARS LATER! AUGH!!!

Well, now I've gone and officially depressed myself. So excuse me while I partake of some holiday M&Ms, sing Christmas carols from the sheets provided by Vanderbilt Elelementary School in 1974 and get ready to watch Santa Claus Is Coming to Town tonight on ABC, 8:00 PM (EST), all the while awaiting your answer to the following seasonal question:

What was your favorite holiday present?


jfruh said...

No doubt it was the genuine Star Wars AT-AT walker, which I had been begging for forever but which I had been told repeatedly was too expensive. It was sooo enormous -- actually big enough for the action figures to fit inside! It was so cool that I hadn't even tired of it by late January with one of the rear legs irrevocably broke off.


Andy 3000 said...

I'm thinking about the toy, but in the meantime...

Holy Crap, the Norelco Santa Claus! My brother and I used to say that it wasn't Christmastime until we saw that little dude riding his electric razor over those snowy hills.

Thanks for the memories, Ces.

D.B. Echo said...

I'm gonna say it was the Vertibird Paramedic Rescue set. I wanted the Rescue Ship - that thing was HUGE - but I got this, complete with a styrofoam hangar into which I could gingerly land the Vertibird.

Christmas Day I managed to get the rotor hopelessly tangled in the fringe of a throw rug. I pulled out the manual, and all it said was not to get into this situarion, as the strands of the thread would damage and BREAK the Vertibird. Fortunately, some nearby adults were able to undo the tangle and get it back to flying condition.

Kaitlyn said...

Off the top of my head - and I don't know the year - after Xmas '98? - I'd have to say books.

One year, there was big box-shaped present under the tree. What was it? What was it?

It was the 4 books of the Enchanted Forest series. :)

That year, I'd discovered the first, and rapidly found the following 3. I loved these books so much, I'd turn them in and check them right back out.

So it was logical.

Oh... and a new legos set last Christmas.

Weirdest? 2 birds in a big cage. This was Xmas '98 - dad got his cheatin' ass kicked out the following day. Maybe he knew, he got us almost everything on our lists. Including the birds. In '97, we found out I was allergic to dogs (couple months after getting mine), and dad was pestering me about what I wanted.

I threw out 'birds, I'm not allergic', and what do you know, come December 25th, there is a big covered thing on the recliner. Ginger (our cocker spaniel dead for 2 years now) was staring it down.

Dimestore Lipstick said...
Dancerina. I was five. I knew I was getting the Easy-Bake Oven, so getting a major doll like this too was heart's delight. I later found out (like, when I was 16 or so)that my Easy-bake was used, so my folks got it cheap and could afford to get me Dancerina as well.

Claude said...

Heh. Even today, when the Wee One is watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas", I get an urge for the Dolly Madison snack cakes.

I don't remember a particular present standing out in my head, but I do remember a specific Christmas Eve when my parents woke us up and tiptoed us down the hall to see a big guy in a red suit put the last gift under the tree, heave a big sack over his shoulder and then steal out the door to our apartment.

Christmas Magic, man.

Lisa said...

Christmas 1974, just turned 9. I was a girly little girl. Santa gave me a box containing about 100 tiny little bottles of perfume, all just a little bigger than sample size. They all has cute little French names like "Fantastique." For the next few weeks, the house reeked of me drenched in perfume. God, my mom was brave.

Andy 3000 said...

Lisa, that was hilarious.

Sara Benincasa said...

My favorite Christmas gift may have been Samantha, the Victorian doll from the American Girls Collection. She came with a beautiful white bed with a real brass frame, doll-sized Victorian furniture with a tea set and fake food like petits-four, and totally awesome outfits. I still have her packed away someplace, and I'm going to sell her one day or pawn her off to some unsuspecting youngster as a new present.

aaronthemad said...

On a similar video game note, my favorite present would be Christmas 1990, when I was 10 years old and got a Game Boy, the big beige first generation one the size of a large print novel. The sound of that chiptune Tetris music still makes me feel like I'm 10 years old and it's Christmas day.

It was especially surprising because it had taken my brother and I over three years of begging to get my parents to buy us an NES, and that had been only recently, in Spring of 1990. That was so late in the NES lifecycle that it felt like we were the only kids at our school or indeed the world who did not have an NES, a cultural expectation bitterly reinforced as we watched "Captain N: The Game Master" on Saturday morning, or Fred Savage's "The Wizard" on the big screen. Indeed, many children had already lost interest in their NES machines and moved on to the Sega Master System or the Genesis.

So it was quite a turnaround that I received a Game Boy so quickly. (True to form, though, it was the last video game system my parents ever bought me.)