We’re about to celebrate our first Christmas in Florida. Funny, I thought that it would seem less like Christmas here because of the need to turn on the A/C in the middle of December, but it hasn’t really taken away from the holiday. Just like every year, those 24 days before (or 31, if you start counting right after Thanksgiving) are filled with certain sounds, sights and smells which call to mind specific memories of Christmases past. So much anticipation and planning, with all the frenzy of going to parties, decorating, baking and listening to Christmas songs ad nauseum- they all make up the days leading up to December 25. Whether you celebrate it in 20 degree weather, or 80, it’s all the same.
Over the years I’ve discovered that these days leading up to Christmas are always better, strangely, than the actual day itself, with the exception of the presents. While most of us can say we have found that it is truly better to give than receive, who are we kidding? We all still love to get gifts. Though the nature of the presents have changed throughout the years and my excitement of waking up on Christmas morning has waned, it’s always a thrill to open up a carefully wrapped package that was chosen especially for me. With that in mind, I bring you this week’s
13 of the best Christmas presents I’ve received
1. The Christmas of 1985, I opened many gifts from my parents (who wrote Santa on all the tags, of course) that would have made any 6 year old’s day, but one in particular stood out from all the rest: a Fisher Price tape recorder. In the years before MP3 players and Ipods, this was hot stuff. I took that thing everywhere with me, tape recording stories my sister & I made up, my parents’ conversations, and my favorite songs off the radio. Somewhere in my mother’s house, she still has the audio tape of that Christmas morning 21 years ago.
2. Christmas ’04, my husband braved the crowds at the mall to actually go into some of my favorite stores to pick out clothes and ahem, some personal items, for me. Everything he got was pink, which is my favorite color! They were all things I would have bought for myself, too.
3. I awoke Christmas morning in 1991 to find a shiny, new purple twelve speed beside the tree. I proudly rode that bike around town from then on until the year I turned 19.
4. The first Christmas we were married, Gregg wrapped up a big box and placed it on the kitchen table for me to find that morning. Unbeknownst to me, this was just a decoy and my real present was a brand new ski jacket he had secretly hidden in the hall closet. While I was opening the empty cardboard box, he triumphantly brought out the jacket from its hiding place and my jaw hit the floor.
5. That same year, my sister bought us a beautiful album from Things Remembered for our wedding proofs and had it engraved with our names there.
6. My mother loved to fill our stockings with little trinkets and one year when I was a teenager, she stuffed mine with a jar of chunky peanut butter. Every time she went grocery shopping, I asked her to get me the chunky kind because everyone else in the family preferred smooth. Well, she decided to surprise me with it at Christmas instead of just putting it in the pantry!
7. Last year, Gregg bought me a bright pink fleece blanket because I was complaining I didn’t like using an old comforter to stay warm under. It’s so very soft and snuggly.
8. Christmas ’86, my sister and I each got our very own My Child doll which was all the rage that year. They were these soft dolls that came with all different hair & eye colors, because they were meant to look just like you. My sister got one with brown eyes and curly brown hair, and I got one with blue eyes and straight brown hair. We thought it was so cool that these dolls sort of resembled us and we pretended they were our daughters.
9. 2002 was the first year I got to experience Christmas with Gregg’s family. I found out that the presents come out and just keep on coming! I got a bread machine, which I was floored about since I’m sure it must have cost nearly $100. Over the years, I’ve used it to make all sorts of yummy breads like Banana, Italian Herb and Cinnamon Pecan Swirl.
10. The Christmas of 1996, I received a radio/tape/CD player from my mom which I used extensively throughout high school and college to play all my favorite cd’s and also make compilation tapes of songs from friends’ cd’s. Again, this was highly useful in the days before MP3 players or Ipods became available.
11. When I was ten, I got the coveted American Girl Doll, Molly, for Christmas and
had lots of fun fixing up her hair and changing her outfits so she could look just like the pictures I had seen in all the books.
12. Christmas of ’98 my mother bought me a VCR for my dorm room so that I could
watch movies and tape my favorite shows like Friends, Dawson’s Creek and Felicity.
13. Last year, Gregg got me Carrie Underwood’s debut cd because he heard me
mention one time how I’d like to have it after hearing “Jesus Take the Wheel”. On my 45 minute commute to work, that was my cd of choice and I played it so much, I almost wore it out. Now whenever I listen to it, it reminds me of the last few months we lived in New Jersey.
26 years worth of Christmas gifts, and I struggled to come up with just 13 of the best ones. Goes to show you that you don’t need to go crazy buying the latest and greatest stuff for your kids since they likely won’t remember ¾ of them when they’re an adult!
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