Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Gift Memories

I pretty much suck at Christmas shopping.  I tend to get stumped for ideas.  And I worry A LOT about getting the correct sizes.  Hence, I tend not to buy a lot of clothing items.  Actually, I don't really buy many Christmas gifts.  And I tend to keep them fairly simple.  For example, my kids receive two or three relatively simple gifts from me.  And then I stuff some cash in their stockings.  My husband usually wants something music-oriented.  This year, the music-oriented thing is a mind-boggling electronic gizmo that seems to require "additional accessories."  My mind started spinning around when I looked at the web page.  So, I told him to go ahead and order it for himself.  I will intercept the package when it is delivered, wrap up the gift, and put it under the tree.  As far as gifts for other people, I will get one for my hubby's mother.  My sisters each receive a Fontanini Nativity piece from me every Christmas.  And my husband's siblings usually draw names, so that each of them is responsible for buying one present (a brilliant idea, since there are five of them).

Anyway, as I perused Amazon this morning, trying to choose surprises for the people on my Christmas list, I started thinking about being a little girl.  I used to get SO very excited about Santa Claus's visit.  I drove my poor parents practically out of their minds every December.  One reason I drove them out of their minds was because my favorite Christmas show was "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer."  If you have ever watched this show, you know that a gigantic snow storm practically ruins Christmas for the ENTIRE world, and that it is only Rudolph's shiny red nose that saves the day.  I absolutely loved this show, although I am convinced it was designed by stoned hippie people to turn 4- and 5-year-olds into totally neurotic and cynical little beings.  I mean, after all, Christmas is practically ruined.  Rudolph is totally bullied by ALL of the other reindeer.  And Santa is a douche.  When I think about it now...  I mean... WHAT KIND OF CHILDREN'S CHRISTMAS SHOW WAS THIS, ANYWAY???  Was it written by acid-dropping, 60's era, Communist atheists?  It must have been.  And this show -- even though I loved it -- made me a nervous wreck about something happening that would completely destroy Christmas; and so I badgered my poor parents every day throughout the whole month of December about whether or not they thought Santa would arrive according to plan.  Inevitably, he did.  And he brought with him delightful toys constructed by elves who I think moonlighted as gaffers and set-decorators and script-supervisors on "Laugh-In."

So, what toys did Santa bring during this hey-day of my childhood?

Well, these were some of my favorites:

1.  The Spyrograph.  This was a set of plastic circles and pins and pens.  You pinned the circles onto paper (I think there was some kind of pad that went under the paper).  You then used the pens to turn the circles (which pivoted around the pins).  This combined action of pen and pivoting circle caused wondrous patterns to unfold onto the paper.  At least on the TV ads.  In real life, the pins kept popping out, causing the circle to leave its proper orbit on the paper, thus ruining your hoped-for artistic masterpiece.  This was a toy designed by disciples of LBJ to cause both children and parents to permanently turn against the corrupt, unregulated, capitalistic system.  This toy is the reason for Obamacare and the government takeover of the American car manufacturing industry.

2.  Thumbelina.  This was a doll designed to look like a newborn baby.  I thought she was adorable.  My mother thought she was ugly.  And I had to fight like the dickens in order to convince her that Santa should bring me one.  I am, though, very stubborn, so I emerged victorious from the battle.  I loved Thumbelina.  She was tiny and scrunched-up looking (like a brand-new baby); and when you pulled a string, she would squirm around.  I suppose she was a bit ugly -- to some people, anyway.  Why would a company mass-produce a rather homely baby doll, you may wonder?  It was Planned Parenthood.  It was part of their advanced-marketing scheme to get all of us girls on birth control pills as soon as we started menstruating.  "Don't give those little girls beautiful, round-faced, rosy-cheeked baby dolls to play with," those Planned Parenthood peeps whispered amongst themselves at their top-secret meetings.  "Give them authentic-looking, homely baby dolls.  Baby dolls which squirm around in an annoying fashion.  Then we'll get their business in ten years.  He-he-he."  Actually, I bet if you did a study, the girls who took birth control pills in the 80's were probably the ones who hated Thumbelina, while the girls who got married and gave birth at a young age loved that funny-looking little doll.

Anyway, moving on...

3.  The Dawn Doll.  This was sort of a small version of the Barbie Doll.  Same dimensions, but more petite.  Dawn had amazingly perky breasts, a tiny waist, sexy little hips, long legs, and luxurious brown hair that reached her perfect little bottom.  I had no doubt in my mind that I would look exactly like her upon reaching the magical age of 16, so I loved her with joyful abandon.  And she had great clothes.  Although, being that they were such tiny clothes -- with tiny snaps and hooks and eyes and arm holes and leg holes -- I constantly required the assistance of one of my parents to dress and undress her.  She was, accordingly, not my parents' favorite.  Why -- you may be asking yourself -- would the toy industry find it necessary to create this mini-Barbie-like-creature?  Well, remember, these were the days when people were buying up The Pet Rock by the bucket-load and hanging multiple strands of multi-colored beads between the rooms of their houses in lieu of doors.  All I can say is this:  POT IS DANGEROUS.  HEAR ME ALL OF YOU PRO-LEGALIZATION PEOPLE.  OBAMACARE COULD BE FUNDED COMPLETELY BY ALL OF THE MONEY SPENT ON AVOCADO-COLORED FORMICA IN THE '70'S.  A CLEAR MIND IS A VALUABLE THING.  JUST SAY "NO."

4.  The Barbie Country Cabin.  This was the most awesome toy in the world (as long as you had adequate Barbie dolls to go with it, which I did).  It looked like a little suitcase.  And it unfolded into a wondrous little cabin.  There were bunk beds with plastic sleeping bags, cabinets, a kitchen table, chairs, dishes, pots, pans, and a coffee pot.  I had wonderful times playing with this.  I used to pretend that there was an outbreak of a terrible disease and my Barbies had to hole up in this cabin in survival mode.  Come to think of it, I was playing Zombie Apocalypse when "Rick" and "Darryl" were just babes in their cribs.  Actually, this makes me wonder if some future TV executive -- playing in the sand at the park -- overheard me talking to my friends about my game -- as we played in the sand at the park -- and stole my idea.  Lesson:  copyright your children's imaginary friends. 

5.  The baby buggy.  One year, Santa Claus brought my two sisters and I each a baby buggy.  Sitting in mine, as I found it on Christmas morning, was an absolutely GORGEOUS (non-Thumbelina) baby doll, the kind that must have caused those Planned Parenthood minions much grief and many sleepless nights.  The buggy also contained a delicate, sterling silver charm bracelet, with a little silver Scottie dog attached to one of its links.  I loved all three of those gifts, and I still have the doll and the bracelet.  I think, though, that I probably had the most fun with the buggy itself.  My sisters and I used to pretend our buggies were Barbie high-rise condos.  We outfitted these condos with furniture made of infant receiving blankets.  We would fold and roll up those tiny blankets into sofas and chairs and rugs for the Barbie condos.  Our Barbies wore fabulous clothes and had fabulous parties in their fabulously furnished baby buggy condos.  Our Barbies also endured many "earthquakes" in their high-rise abodes.  My sisters and I would carefully arrange our dolls on their receiving-blanket furniture and them -- wham! -- right in the middle of their hip and edgy party, a HUGE earthquake would strike.  We would shake the buggy madly, causing ultimate destruction.  Of course, I could not allow this to be done to my own personal buggy.  So, we used my sister Diana's buggy.  Gina -- even though she was the youngest -- was sly enough to realize what her eldest sister was up to and refused the use of her buggy for the purpose of natural disasters.  Diana, though, being always sweet and agreeable, was quite cooperative about letting her buggy be the scene of the devastation.  Eventually, whenever she pushed her dolls in this buggy, it would sway madly from side- to-side, as the springs were shot to hell.  I am not quite sure if she has ever really forgiven me for this whole scenario.  But, she is getting married next summer, so I'll buy her a nice wedding present.

So, as I fondly remember these gifts, I would like to extend my best wishes for the Holiday Season to all of you -- however you may celebrate it.  And may you receive all the desires of your hearts.  And may you find no (pet) rocks in your socks.

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