Ghosts of Christmas Presents Past (Part 1)

Posted by Shades Mountain Student Ministries | Posted in , | Posted on Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm sitting in my living room in the soft glow of our Christmas tree. Eggnog in hand (with a light dusting of nutmeg), homemade chocolate cookie by my side (just like the ones I will be setting out near the fireplace 26 nights from now) and "A Charlie Brown Christmas" album from the Vince Guaraldi Trio playing on the record player (to be honest it's playing on my iPod that is running through a tape adapter that is playing on my record player, welcome to 2009).

I recommend playing this video as you read to enhance the atmosphere.

Yes, all is merry and bright.

This atmosphere brings about reminiscent thoughts of days of yore (that's Christmas jargon for the old days). Particularly to the time when Christmas was larger than life, when the reality of Santa was still a possibility, snow meant your days were packed and best of all...Christmas morning held with it the capability of making 365 days of dreaming, wishing and letter writing all worth while.

(Spoiler Alert for readers 10 years of age and younger)

To be honest I didn't grow up believing in Santa. Our family hung stockings, we got our picture taken with him most years, but when it came down to the matter of false truth or imaginary fun my parents erred on the side of imaginary fun. So each Christmas Eve we're put out cookies, fully aware that my dad would be the one to eat them, but we kept with tradition.

With a child on the way and a short amount of time left to figure this parental decision out it's easy to see why my parents did what they did.

But regardless of where the presents came from, what the presents were was always a big deal. I must commend my parents on giving exceptional gifts throughout the years. I have so many fond memories of presents past that I thought it'd be fun to share some. So it's my pleasure to present:

Ghosts of Christmas Presents Past
in chronological order

A Thrifty Christmas - 1984
I was two, almost three, and my parents weren't exactly rolling in the dough. Christmas was right around the corner and times were even tighter. My mom has always been a yard sale junkie and never before had her skills been put to better use.

My parents spent $20 on my brother and I at yard sales buy our Christmas presents that year.

Now this may sound cheap, and you'd be right. But when your two years old you haven't learned that the smell of mothballs (which most yard sale and thrift store finds seem to reek of) means that the toy has been...used. So I wasn't privy to this information and had the most amazing Christmas.

In fact my parents were able to purchase so many toys that they were having to rip them out of our hands to give us another one.  It was an abundance of slightly used, yet much appreciated toys.

Every Father's/Son's Wish - 1989
Keep in mind I'm now seven years old
There comes a time in a boy's life when his father sees fit to take him on his right of passage and being his process of manhood. Often times this is done through a weekend excursion where the father will show the son how to make fire or hunt or fish, perhaps even the right technique when relieving yourself in the great outdoors.

Another way this is done is with the giving of gift. Perhaps some sort of tool or weapon, occasional one that serves both purposes.

This particular Christmas my father gave me that invitation into manhood by way of a gift.

Yes...a scroll saw.

I remember my dad taking me down stairs, plugging it in and showing me how it worked. It came with several attachments such as a drill, sander and many other tools of the trade. 

I remember thinking,"This is what it's like to be a man." I set up a workshop in the basement where I would saw Christmas ornaments (using my father's fishing hooks and ornament hooks) and occasional work on my brother's Hot Wheels that seemed to be losing their speed. 

I can still smell the sawdust and hear the sound it made as it cut. I can still feel the unbelievable vibrations the saw when it cut wood. Vibrations so strong it tickled my hands and made them itch. 

I might have been seven years of age, but I had risen to a new level of manhood. Sure, I only needed to shave bi-annually. But this Christmas was different than the rest. 

You see I went to sleep that Christmas eve a boy...and woke up Christmas morning a man. 

Sega Genesis vs. Super NES or The Sandwich Maker That Wasn't- 1992
Before the days of Sony Playstations and XBOX 360's, the world of video games was ruled by two titans of 16 bit entertainment. Yes my friends...the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).  Another way to put it would be Sonic the Hedgehog vs. Mario, Luigi and (new to the scene) Yoshi.

Needless to say, most of my dreaming hours were spent fantasizing of one of these. 

Now I must admit, I was leaning more so to the SNES. Mainly for one reason...Mario Kart.

I had played it in Wal-Mart and was amazed at the fun it was to shoot red homing shells at Princess Peach or drop banana peals for an unsuspecting Donkey Kong.  Every time I went there I was sure to seem overjoyed to be playing it every time my parents walked by, knowing they'd get the hint. 

As the days led up to Christmas,  certain box appeared beneath the Christmas tree. It proportions were very similar to that of a Sega Genesis bow. I even measured on my arm how long the box was and compared it to the actual box the next time I was in Wal-Mart. The measurements didn't quite match and I was disappointed in my findings. 

I finally decided to ask my mother about the present. If I was going to be let down on Christmas morning I would want to know ahead of time so I could muster up a forced appreciative response, "Thank you mother" through clenched teeth. 

I casually brought up the conspicuous and its intended recipient. It was to my dismay that it was in fact, a sandwich maker for my Mammaw. A sandwich maker!

Needless to say I was completely distraught and all hopes of Christmas were melted away like the cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich made by my Mammaw's new sandwich maker.

Well, Christmas morning rolled around and my worse fears were true. I opened up boring present after present. One present in particular was a box of CRAYONS! It was very disheartening.

All the presents had been open, that is all except for one. I realized that Mammaw's maker had yet to be opened. I dug it out from under the back of the tree and handed her the thief of all my Christmas joy.

"I think this if for you." I said dejectedly.

"Actually I'm not sure who's that is." My mom said. "Why don't you open it so we know who's it is."

I pulled the paper back to reveal that magic word, SEGA.

It was as if the heavens opened and a choir sang... (press play)

Feelings of remorse flooded my heart  as I realized I had doubted my parents. They had gotten this wonderful gift and I had not given them the benefit of the doubt.

Now to be honest, secretly in the back of my heart I still would have rather had the SNES. It was a foolish thought and one that I tried to hide away deep inside, but it still sat there, calling my name.

Regardless of what I would have rather had or not, the fact remains that my parents knew how to pull one over. They always made Christmas so special and each one is solidified with memories. be continued. 

Tune in soon for Part 2 where you'll hear more Ghosts of Christmas Presents Past like:
-Christmas, Macaulay Culkin Style
-10 Gigs of Tunes
-and more!

    Comments (2)

    Love it! Your hilarious. I myself also opted for the Super Nintendo. I think we got a sandwich maker that year. My mom would make Pizza Sandwich's in it. And we would eat them while playing Nintendo!

    How odd. It's like our past Christmas's are all twisted together.

    Hope you guys are having a great Christmas time.