Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Toys of Christmas past

So, Christmas is upon us!  Are you excited?  Are you blaring Christmas music every chance you get?  Are you annoyed that B97.5 plays the same version of Christmas songs over and over and over instead of changing it up?  

So I thought I would harken back to my childhood days and highlight some of the best gifts I got for Christmas as a kid.  Get ready to flash back to the 80's and 90's.

1.  Baby Heather

I got this when I was 4 I think.  She was totally cool.  All electronic (which in 1986/87, was a big to do).  She talked.  She also broke a lot and I remember having to take her back a lot.  But she was totally awesome.  And about the same size as me.  

2.  Cabbage Patch Kids

You kids raised on Tickle me Elmos and Furbies have no idea how much you missed out having good toys as a kid.  I was little at the height of the Cabbage Patch Kids explosion.  I had several.

My favorite was one that had hair just like the one in this pic.  I saw her at the store (I think we were in Service Merchandise.  If you don't know that store, you are a youngun!)  Anyways, I thought she was ugly.  So I pointed to her and told my mom I didn't want that one.  Which somehow got misunderstood as "I want that one."  And she showed up under my tree that Christmas.  And, soft-hearted, uber compassionate child that I was, I was terrified that she would know I didn't like her and hadn't wanted her.  So I showed her extra love and attention.  And she became my favorite. I still have her.  Her name is Jenny and I cut her bangs when I was six and her silken curls look like rat's nests now.  But she is loved.  And practically a person to me.  If our house caught fire I would grab Dave and her and let the rest burn.

3.  Barbie House

Mine didn't look exactly like this, but it was similar.  Cardboard, cheap plastic, and that elevator.  Good, good times.  I made an addition for mine out of a cardboard box because the inhabitants had kids and do you see a bedroom in this sucker for children?  No.  The addition was pretty sweet.  It had wallpaper and carpet.  Oh yes.  Wanna know who lived in this sweet little house?

4.  Midge and Alan

I got the entire wedding party for Christmas one year.  I had every Barbie chair I owned out for the wedding, and all the guests were dressed up.  I used a big, white Ace bandage for the aisle runner and my mom played the Wedding March on the piano.  I am not making this up.

So Midge and Alan got married and then got busy.  'Cause they had a lot of kids.  Hence the addition mentioned in #3.  

5.  Quints. 

Did anyone else have these?  Five little kids, all numbered.  Which makes sense 'cause if I had quints I would give them numbers instead of names, too.  I jest.  I named mine (Jessica, Billy, Amy, Tommy, and Susan.  Holy crap, I still remember that.  That is insane. I couldn't tell you what I had for breakfast yesterday but I can tell you the names of my plastic dolls.  Craziness).  Anywho, these were fun.  I had the 5 little color coded dogs that went with them and their older triplet cousins.  Which now, sounds a little kinky, doesn't it?  

6.  American Girl

I was borderline too old for Samantha when I got her.  But I was a late bloomer and didn't grow up as quickly as my peers I think.  I used to pour over the American Girl catalog, just looking at all the pictures over and over.  My mom made all of Samantha's clothes, and I still have all of them, waiting for my daughter to inherit.

I still have Midge and Alan for any daughters we have.  It will be very sad if Dave and I have only boys.  Although, really, I would prefer boys to girls.

7.  The complete Little House on the Prairie Books

This is probably my most used gift of all time, and the books I have reread the most in my lifetime (which is saying a lot because I reread books the way some people reuse someone else's jokes as their own.  Don't deny it; you know you have that friend that does that).  I was obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder as a kid.  (Not the tv show either.  I grew up without cable.  If it wasn't on ABC, I never saw it).  These were wonderful. And my set looks more used than this because I read them so much.  My mom sewed me prairie dresses and sun bonnets and I would stalk in the woods in whatever little reality my head created.  Granted, we did not live on a prairie.  But my imagination is vast.  No real prairie needed.

8.  Christy Miller series

I read all 12 books in 3 days I think. These books are amazing.  And I know it sounds cheesy and over the top to say that they changed my life.  But they really did.  I wasn't involved in a church growing up and these books were like my youth group.  Full of wisdom and life lessons.  I read the Sierra Jensen series too, and all the other books that came out about Christy and Todd.  Swoon.  I want to visit Newport Beach and pretend that a fancy house I see is Bob and Marty's.  

9.  Band of Brothers

Ok, so technically this isn't a gift I got.  It was one I gave.  To my dad.  And I loved it as much as he did.  I grew up watching westerns and war movies.  And this series.  Oh man, the right words don't exist to give it justice.  Wonderful story.  True story.  I keep telling Dave and we need to buy these.  He's never seen them.  If you haven't, you need to.  Completely epic.  And I always cry or want to at the end.  

"Grandpa, were you a hero in the war?"  
"No, but I served in a company of heroes."  

10.  Chronicles of Narnia

I was in college before I read any of the Narnia stories.  Growing up I wasn't a huge fantasy genre person (which is funny because I love it now).  I read these and nearly came undone.  Oh CS Lewis.  The things we owe you.  These books combined the two things I love most:  stories and the gospel.  I got things from this about Jesus and the gospel that I never had seen or realized before.  The Silver Chair is my favorite story.  I want to read these stories aloud to my babies some day.  I hated that in the movies Lucy didn't have blond hair.  I think she is the character from literature I most identify with.  If God looks like Aslan in heaven, I will not think it unfitting.  Although, I imagine that God's voice is more James Earl Jones than Liam Neeson.  That's just me though.  

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