I enjoyed Christmas so much more when I was young. I've held on to many memories of great gifts I've received - almost all of them from Mom - and recounted as many as I could last weekend when I visited her, to let her know how much I appreciated everything.. the giant inflatable Stegosaurus that blocked out the bottom half of the the tree, the Super Mario Bros desktop pinball game, all of the video games and consoles, and the countless baseball cards, jerseys, and other sports-related items I asked for over the years, including Starting Lineup talking baseball which I really want to buy second-hand someday. (note the first comment: How come I didn't want this anymore when I hit my teens. Now I want it again at 34)
When my aunt moved in next door to us around 1990, Christmas was even more enjoyable. Mom would make coffee and knock on Aunt C's door, and she'd come over - usually by 10am. As a kid, getting that extra present while still in my pajamas was everything. As I got older, I enjoyed having more company on Christmas morning, regardless of gifts.
The last great gift I remember receiving from her was SimCity 3000. I had it installed on my PC and was building like crazy before she finished her coffee. Always loved those SimCity games... and even though I found a free app that gives me my city building fix, I still wish I had a computer old enough to play the SimCity my aunt bought me. I miss the jazzy city music and the excitement of having a new game to play. I also miss playing it while she was there.. to show her how much it meant to me.
Every Christmas, when I was finished opening gifts from Mom but before my aunt would come over, I watched my favorite Christmas special:
Thought I still had my copy but it's gone. I may have actually played it to death #80stech
This was a gift from my sister, either for Christmas or my 12th birthday. I can remember where she gave it to me (in her old basement-level apt.) but not when she gave it to me. All I know is, I watched this video every Christmas until I knew all the dialogue. And it was always on when my aunt came over. (Sorry, Aunt C)
But you know what they say...'tis better to give than receive. And I truly enjoyed shopping for gifts for my family and friends. I used to love going to the mall with my list and picking out something for everyone. Online shopping will never replace the experience of weaving your way through thousands of other shoppers, while the same ten Christmas songs play over and over and over. It's annoying now, but it was enjoyable then. Something about seeing all the Christmas trees and wreaths and lights makes you forget that many of the other shoppers will run you over and stomp on your face to save 10% off a Snuggie.
I was so eager to buy gifts for a girl that I didn't even wait until I had a girlfriend. When I was in junior high I was madly in love with a girl named Annie, and one year I decided to add her name to my Christmas shopping list. Can't remember anything specific that I bought her, but I'm sure I picked out the finest jewelry available ...at Claire's.
I probably bought her something from Bath and Body Works and maybe a sweater or something, I dunno. All I know is that when I was done, I left the bags on her front porch because I didn't dare hand them to her in person. Apparently I wasn't the only one who bought gifts for Annie; someone told me that a kid named Paul bought her lingerie.
First of all.. he wasn't her boyfriend, either. And second.. she was 13 years old. That's just skeevy. I know I'm weird, but at least I wasn't that weird.
Anyway, I do recall that Annie thanked me but that's pretty much all I got. No date, no hug, not even her number. At least Kristen (my high school crush) gave me a kiss on the cheek when I bought her a Grateful Dead tie-dyed t-shirt for her birthday.
I don't think this is the one I bought her..but you get the idea
And yet, I actually remember that kind of fondly. It was fun shopping for someone I "love". I don't get to do that anymore. My wife does all the shopping, I have very little control over the allocation of funds, and even less control over the purchasing of gifts. D needs a hundred things but she doesn't want anything. I've had to beg and plead with her to let me buy a birthday or anniversary gift for her - and she still doesn't let me. She says we don't have the money (and she should know because she's the one that pays the bills.)
So I gave up. I bought nothing for Christmas this year, not even for my daughters. There was talk that we might go to the mall this week... but I don't see how we're going to find the time. Without the music or the shopping, or the decorations.. Christmas is just another day I'm forced to spend with the in-laws.
Not to mention the fact that my girls don't play with the toys they have already... and they're going to get more than we can fit in our house. So that's going to take up what little room I have to myself.
I really don't want to be all 'bah humbug' about Christmas. I want to enjoy it, but it's hard not to be melancholy these days.
It was ten years ago this winter that I met Angela. The last 'real-life' crush I've ever had. At the time it felt like the awkward longing of my teen years had come back to strangle my newlywed adult self... but now I kind of miss it. I miss seeing her gorgeous self in class and getting to know her just a tiny bit. But what I really miss is the feeling I had, before and after seeing her. Trudging home through the snow and slush, listening to Keane or Mew, or Snow Patrol on my iPod and imagining what it would be like to be with her...
I can't even do that now. I've got no one to crush on, or dream of..no one to remind me of the Joy of the holiday season...
Meh...i Guess that will do. ;)