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Christmas 64

By: vkimo
The spirit of giving, the love of fellow man and being thankful for what one has; all trademarks of Christmas...but I'm not here to talk about that. Every Yin has its Yang, for every Luke there is a Vader and of course for Santa there must be a Grinch. I've got a few Noëls under my belt and want to touch on the not so jolly side of Christmas as seen through my not so rose colored glasses. 

As a kid, there was nothing worse than gifts from distant relatives. It's Christmas morning and you're sizing up the loot under the tree, but you know before you get to the big boxes in the back you have to contend with the unfamiliar packaging that form the front battle lines. Your mom tells you, "It's from your aunt Bee in Louisiana" as she hands you the soft packaging that falls limp in your hands. A pair of pajamas, plaid and a size too small! NEXT! I remember one year getting a jigsaw puzzle of an English garden. Who does that to an overly GI-Joe stimulated violence craving 7 year old?! I've had gifts stuck in the back of my closet for years, unopened with bits of wrapping still attached. 

I literally have no idea who these kids are but felt this picture should be included

I don't know what it was (probably cocaine) but marketing execs and toy companies were on it back then. The packaging came to life, ripped my young impressionable heart from my chest, marinaded it in 16 bit goodness and reinserted it with a mail in rebate for 5$ off my next Tyco purchase. If you look back at old commercials, they were like mini made for TV action flicks condensed in Campbell's tomato soup form. I saw kids knocking down brick walls with Crash Test Dummies and shooting up the living room with Nerf guns, it was mayhem. You bought a Super Nintendo? What a dweeb! The Genesis boasted 4MHz more speed! I remember a commercial of an overweight kid playing Gameboy, he grabs a stiff, dead squirrels and whacks it over his head so he can "see colors" on his Gameboy. The next shot pans to a tall slim kid with gelled hair playing a Game Gear. 

See what I mean? This ad has me breaking out in a cold set ready to throw a level J-9 Tantrum if not under the Christmas Tree

Being broke was bad enough, but with 7 kids and a vast extended family it really focused the glaring sun through the magnifying glass on our ant sized savings. I remember going back to school after Christmas break and seeing nearly every kid sporting a fresh new pair of Nike Air shoes and a sweet leather bottom Jansports. All of a sudden I wanted to ditch my light up sneakers and go barefoot. Christmas is great and all, but sometimes it just shoves your head in the dirt and rubs it down like a Russian masseuse. 

Nike Air Adjust, these had a superfluous velcro support strap and if you didn't have these come Christmas you were a nobody 

People were stampeding each other well before Black Friday. It was the mid 90s and Power Rangers had every kid in America in a half nelson tapping the mat for sweet action figures. I remember getting to Toys R Us early with my dad and scoring on a Red Ranger, as we checked out a lady actually offered my dad to buy it for twice the amount paid IN FRONT OF ME. It really brings out the worst in people at times. No parent wants to face the wrath of their spoiled child on Jesus' birthday with the only remaining Yellow Ranger figure they could find by paying $50 for it in a dark alley from a greasy scalper. 

Gift inequality was a major sociological issue in my day. A parent with more than one kid had to maintain just the right balance of gift giving, or face the ugly wrath of sibling jealousy. One Christmas my uncle got my brother, my cousin and I Star Wars 12" poseable figures and to this day I don't know if this was a personal slight against me or not. My brother and cousin both got the same Tie Pilot figures while I got Admiral Ackbar! They were the cloth clothing figures and kind of girly to begin with but at least the Tie Fighters came with guns. It was so embarrassing. Come to think of it, I often remember looking over my shoulder with envy as he opened his seemingly better gifts..ahhh another thing to mention to my therapist this Friday.

With removable smock! Good grief.

Well that concludes my X-Mas rant, I hope it hasn't spoiled your egg nog! I was by no means a brat as a kid, and I don't mean to bash Christmas at all, believe me I had some really good ones. I just don't like to ignore the less cheery aspect of the holiday as it would be unfair. If you take anything from this, I hope you'll never gift a Admiral Ackbar to a kid, they just don't deserve it no matter how naughty. I'm interested in your thoughts, please share your Yuletide gripes!

Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animals! 

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Superman Posted on Jan 05, 2017 at 03:11 PM

This article reminds me of the time my aunt gave me a sweater for Christmas and gave my cousin an X-Men X-Jet. I couldn't help but be a bit disappointed...

Rick Ace Rhodes Posted on Dec 22, 2016 at 08:50 PM

I can't really remember ever asking for something and not receiving it. I didn't really ask for much around the holidays when I was a kid, I would often make out a small list of things, and most of my presents that followed were either things my family thought I would like or things they heard me mention and thought would be a good gift.

There are some darker sides to Christmas though. Not getting to spend it with certain family members because of either family drama, falling outs or them just not being able to travel home. There's sad aspects but I guess you just have to focus on the good.

massreality Posted on Dec 22, 2016 at 04:34 AM

It’s refreshing to hear some of the forbidden topics of Christmas talked about. I guess, what it all boils down to is, most of us as children, are a little ungrateful and self-centered. We just focus on the things we want, and we can’t think of anything else.
I do think the whole gifts from extended relatives affected me more as a person than most people. I hate to give a gift if it isn’t useful or desired.

mickyarber Posted on Dec 20, 2016 at 04:15 PM

You've hit the nail on the head here talking about the "other" side of Christmas. Like I wrote in an old article, for years and years I always put on my wish list a rock tumbler and a chemistry set that I saw in the Sears Wish Book, but I never got them.

On the flip side, I usually got things I liked from relatives. I didn't have many that I got stuff from, but the ones I did, did a pretty good job.

Vaporman87 Posted on Dec 20, 2016 at 09:03 AM

I have a feeling most of us have stories that would fit right in with the theme of this article. For myself, the first thing that comes to mind is that every year I asked for a golf cart, and every year I was disappointed. LOL. I wanted a golf cart to drive up and down the neighborhood in. I used to think it would be so incredibly cool. The closest I ever got was a four wheeler, and that's just not the same. I also wanted the U.S.S. Flagg, and never got that either. Nor did I get the Eternia playset. So yeah, I was disappointed a few times on Christmas. And man, can I relate to your feelings about extended family gifts. They are usually such "throw away" items that there doesn't even seem to be a point in opening them.

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