For some reason, most of my memorable gifts have been birthday presents, but thinking real hard, I seem to recall a few noteworthy Christmas presents I’ve received, some of which I still have.
My first tape recorder
I was maybe 11 or so when I received this gift from my favorite uncle (Russ). I remember skimming the writing on the box and thinking it was like a blender or something, until I slowed down and read it properly. That was probably my first love affair with technology as I taped bits of all my favorite TV programs with reckless abandon, and am slightly embarrassed to say I still have most of those original cassettes as well as the tape recorder.
My Betsy McCall Fashion Designer Desk
This was a hand-me-down from a friend of my grandmother’s, but I didn’t mind. Even though I was never very interested in fashion, I always enjoyed creative pursuits, so this was right up my ally. I carefully placed a sheet of recycled paper (brought home from my dad’s company) on top of the tissue paper templates, plugged in the desk, grabbed a pencil or pen, and traced lot of funky fashions onto Betsy’s patiently posed body.
Sadly, some years later (quite a few in fact) I discovered the bulb needed replacing and I carelessly replaced it with too high a wattage causing the plastic to melt and leave somewhat of a crater on the surface of the desk. I’m not entirely sure what happened to it after that, but have since bought a replacement on E-bay. This time I’ll take much better care of it!
My “Mandy” doll
Unlike my sister, I never had many (if any?) big (i.e. life size) dolls. Most of mine were either doll house size or perhaps six to eight inches high, so when I received “Mandy,” I was pleasantly surprised to have something a bit bigger. I think the doll was from my Grandma Goff (my dad’s mother) and I might have been about 9 or 10 years old.
“Mandy” came with white tights, a pretty pink knee length dress and shoes of some sort I guess (not sure where they are now).
My mom also made me clothes for her, some of which I still have (whichever ones the mice didn’t chew holes in while stored in my parent’s attic).
By the way, “Mandy” wasn’t a name I selected for her, like the infamous Cabbage Patch dolls, she was assigned that name. She’s similar in size to an American Girl doll and I often wonder if she would fit into any of their clothes. Maybe I should bring her over and my niece and I could have a swap session with her American Girl doll (which she received for Christmas last year).
These days I take more pleasure in the giving rather than the receiving, and usually try to make an effort to get something for each person that shows I know them. Some people are definitely easier than others, but that’s a whole other column!