Thursday, December 20, 2007

Gifts of Christmases Past

by Beth Andrews

I admit it: I love presents! Not just getting them (although I really do LOVE getting presents *g*) but giving them as well. I enjoy shopping for someone else, looking for that perfect (or as close to perfect) gift, the one that is thoughtful, that says I was thinking of you and thought you'd love this :-)

So, since I do love presents, and since I always get sentimental around the Holidays, I decided to take a trip back in time and blog about some of my favorite Christmas gifts.

My Little People Cabin. I loved Fisher Price's Little People and I spent hours playing with the A-frame cabin my aunt gave me one Christmas. It opens to reveal a large living area and a loft complete with bunk beds.

Weebol Wobbles truck with pop up camper. The truck was light blue and had seats that reminded me of a Deviled Egg tray for the Weebles to sit in.

Weebol Wobbles Disney Land (or World, I can't remember) The Weebles were Disney characters including Mickey Mouse and Goofy and the set came with Cinderella's Castle and a few rides, such as a Merry Go Round.

Buffy. Nope, not the Vampire Slayer. My very first (and only) Cabbage Patch Doll. Okay, to be honest, Buffy's not a REAL Cabbage Patch Doll but a cloth version. A woman in our town began making them when the Cabbage Patch Craze hit and both of my sisters and I got one. I still have Buffy although I have to keep her hidden in a closet as the look of her freaks my youngest daughter out *g*

A cherry cradle. My father made one for each of his daughters and since it's the only thing he's ever made me, it has special meaning. All three of my kids slept in the cradle as newborns and I'm hoping my grandchildren will as well *g*

And last, but certainly not least, I have to add this year's gift from my husband. While I won't technically take possession of the gift until Christmas morning, it is already one of my favorites. This beautiful oak Dry Sink my husband made. Isn't he super talented?? :-)

I even polled my family about their favorites:

Son -- Genesis video game system he got when he was about

Older daughter -- her Pikachu backpack (yes, Jo, I remember the Pokeman Craze well *g*) It didn't have Pikachu ON it, it was shaped like Pikachu. She couldn't fit much inside but she loved carrying it around :-)

Younger daughter -- As a two year old, she was scared to death of the Crawling Minnie Mouse she got from Santa but loved her brother's 2 foot tall walking, roaring T-Rex.

Husband -- He had a three-way tie between:
1. His Roy Rogers cowboy outfit, complete with hat, vest, gun holster and six shooters (I've been informed they used real leather back in those days because cowboys loved the smell of real leather)

2. A Shooting Gallery. A game where metal ducks go around and he shot at them. With a machine gun (he called it) that shot metal BBs. And not the little ones either, but LARGE BBs (what was his mother thinking??) He played with that toy so much, he shot the paint right off the ducks *g*
3. Rock Em Sock Em Robots. "I'll knock your block off!!"

What about you? What's your favorite Christmas gift? Or your most memorable? Heck, maybe even the most dangerous gift you received? (Anyone remember those metal lawn darts?) I'll pick my favorite out of the comments and the winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card :-)

Raspberry Cream-Cheese Bars

12 oz graham crackers (about 24 whole crackers) ground or finely crushed ( 2 3/4 cups crumbs)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 bricks (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablspoons cornstarch
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam, melted

White chocolate, melted according to package directions

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix graham-cracker crumbs and butter until crumbs are moistened. Press over bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 12 minutes to set.
3. Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in cornstarch, then eggs, salt and vanilla. Scrape into crust; smooth with rubber spatula. Drizzle with warm jam, then swirl with rubber spatula to marbelize.

4. Bake 25 minutes or until puffed. Cool in pan, then refrigerate at least 3 hours before cutting into 1 x 1 1/2-inch bars. Drizzle with melted white chocolate.


Helen said...

Did I get the Gr has he come back to warmer weather for a visit.

Have Fun

Tawny said...

YAY Helen!!! Congrats on snagging the GR ;)

Tawny said...

hmm, btw, Beth, that doll is a little freaky looking ;-)

My favorite gift was a life size Tawny doll. No, it really wasn't me, but it looked like me and I loved it. My brother loved it even more, he used to take her on dates.

Helen said...

Beth what a lovely post.
The most memorable Christmas present I ever got was a puppy when I was about 10 years old I had no idea what I was getting and as I have said on another post we didn't have a Chrissy tree we got our presents in a pillowslip at the end of our bed.
He was in a box and he woke me up very early crying I scrambeled to the end of the bed it was dark and felt with my hands in the box and picked this little ball of black fluff up I called him Sooty and he was my best friend for a very long time I was never sure what type of dog he was just little and fluffy.

Thanks Beth for bringing back some wonderful memories.
I will keep the GR company for at least a day.
Have Fun

Jane said...

I still have my Cabbage Patch dolls. My favorite Christmas presents include my first Barbie doll. It was the generic Barbie, not the themed ones. She didn't come with a nice ball gown, just a regular outfit. No accessories were included. Another favorite was a Pound Puppy stuffed toy. It was soft and cuddly. I loved the Pound Puppy commercials and the jingle. One dangerous toy I got was a battery powered water gun that was black and looked like an AK-47. I can't imagine them being sold in the present time, the cops would think you had a real gun and it could get ugly.

Buffie said...

Great post Beth!!! I especially loved your doll Buffy ;)

There are a couple Christmases from my childhood that I remember so vividly. One was when I was about 8. First, let me just say that I was a very, um, snicky child. I could carefully unwrap a present, look at the gift, and wrap it back up so that no one knew what I had done. I know, I know, but that's how I was. Anyway, back to when I was 8. I would always get home from school before my parents, so the nature thing for me to do was . . . snoop for presents. One day I was looking through my parents huge walk-in closet and was shocked and stunned to find The Barbie Dream House. Man, I was so excited and couldn't wait until Christmas. But in the midst of my happiness, I forgot to put the clothes back where I found them (see I had pushed the hangers aside to find the Barbie Dream House. Just imagine the look on my face when my father asked me if I was in their closet -- No Daddy. He was furious!!!! Told me that maybe I didn't deserve the present, and since we were giving to a needed family who had a little girl, maybe she deserved it more. I was horrified. Those couple weeks until Christmas were awful. But my Dad cured me (mostly) of my Christmas snooping and we spent the entire Christmas Day putting together that house and all the furniture.

Another memory is when I was in 6th grade. I had lived in Florida since I was a baby. Never seen snow or colored leaves or really any change of season. That Fall we moved to a little town in North Carolina. I loved seeing all the wonderful things -- the woods, the hay, the leaves. It was great. We lived in a two story house with a couple old fireplaces. When I woke up on Christmas morning, there in front of the fireplace was a sled. It was red and brown and had a huge red bow on it. or a child who had never experienced the joys of wonder, I was on cloud 9. It truly felt like an old fashion Christmas to me.

Caren Crane said...

Beth, OMG, the metal lawn darts were Jarts! We had them and I am fairly certain they were something my father purchased. My mother got this look on her face whenever the Jarts came out. I know what it was now: anger (that my father ever bought them); terror (that one of us or a neighbor would be impaled); resignation (because once you have Jarts, you can never go back). Ha!

My favorite toy ever was my Barbie Dream Boat. It was Barbie's cruise ship. Actually, I didn't "play" with my Barbies. I liked to arrange the cruise ship and their "houses" which we made from the carrying cases. I would arrange their clothes by color and style, do the same with the shoes. Change their clothes, make different outfits. Experiment with accessories. Yes, I see now exactly where that was taking me. *g* Did I mention that I insisted that all my patent leather shoes be pink? My mother was very accommodating.

I greatly envied my next older sister's Barbie Town House. It had an elevator! She also had a Little Kiddle playhouse that I loved. Little Kiddles, you may recall, were tiny dolls with different scents. They couldn't really do much, but they smelled divine and could be inserted into the window pocket of your vinyl Little Kiddles purse. Heaven!

I did have a great pair of black cowboy boots (real leather, of course, as your dh mentioned) with red tracing the carved pattern. Gorgeous!

Okay, there was a trend I never noticed before in my favorite things. Clothes, shoes, fashion and perfume. Hm. I have added one thing since then: jewelry. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Go, Helen, on snagging the GR!

brownone said...

What a funny post! I remember my favorite gift as a kid was my Hungry Hungry Hippoes game. That year my sister got "kissing barbie" (she would leave a pink "kiss" on anything you pressed her lips to). Gee, how she loved that barbie! That year, she would play with my Hungry Hungry Hippoes all the time, but she would NEVER let me touch her barbie. Well, one day I just got plain 'ol mad and bit barbie's feet off so that she could never wear the lovely shoes ever again. My sister was so broken up about it. Heck, she still talks about it!
As an adult, it my favorite gift was the bottle of jelly bellys I got with all my favorite flavors. Oh so good!

Gannon Carr said...

OMG, Buffie! One year I peeked at all of my gifts, too. Actually, it was not a fun Christmas because I knew what I was getting. My parents knew what I had done, but my mom figured I ruined my own Christmas so that was punishment enough.

I got a Mrs. Beasley doll when I was very young. She was my absolute favorite. I wonder what happened to her.... She's probably for sale on eBay! ;)

Beth Andrews said...

Congrats on getting the GR, Helen! I loved your post - what a wonderful gift!

I wanted to get my youngest a puppy this year but three of us in my family are allergic. But she really wants one so I'm still hopeful we can manage it in the future *g*

Tawny, I'm speechless at the idea of a life-sized Tawny doll. Do you still have her? Could you bring her to the next conference? :-)

Jane, I only had a small Pound Puppy but I had many a Barbie Doll *g* Loved your comment - especially about the water gun! I'm sure my son would love an AK-47 water gun *ggg*

Beth Andrews said...

LOL on liking my doll, Buffie *g* You don't happen to have blonde haire pulled back in a ponytail, do you?

The kid in me cringed at your Barbie Dream House story but the parent in me was cheering *g* I snooped a bit as a kid but never unwrapped anything. Luckily, my kids don't snoop either. Or if they do, they're VERY good at it because I've never seen any signs of snoopish activitiy ;-)

Great stories!

Beth Andrews said...

Caren, thank you for naming the metal lawn darts! I have to admit, I never had any but my husband was telling me about them. Seemed he lived a very dangerous life *g*

My older sister had the Barbie Dream Boat! Oh, how I coveted that luxury liner (sigh) But I wasn't aloud to touch it. Ever. Or any of her Barbies which she kept in pristine condition. I believe she wanted to keep them for her own kids but she ended up having 5 boys *ggg*

Beth Andrews said...

ROFL, Brownone!! I also had Hungry, Hungry Hippos and Loved it and I had the kissing Barbie!!

And what is it about sisters and their Barbies?? Hmm...wonder if I should search my sister's attic, find those old Barbies and bite their feet off?? Seems like a fitting punishment to me ;-)

Beth Andrews said...

gannon carr, did you ever peek at your gifts again? Even though it ruined that Christmas, I have to know if the temptation was too great to resist the next year *g*

I wonder how much Mrs Beasley is going for these days?

Andrea said...

My most memorable Christmas gift was when my husband asked me to marry him. In our family, we open our stockings last, and in the toe of my stocking was a little velvet box that contained my engagement ring. I wasn't expecting him to ask me so soon (we'd only been dating about 10 months), so it was the best surprise ever!

Merry Christmas, lovely Banditas!


brownone said...

Beth, it was REALLY funny because my sister had a TON of barbie shoes (the high heeled ones and the ones that tied around the ankles), but poor barbie couldn't wear 'em. My sister and I laugh about it all of the time now. One year I had the gall to ask for a barbie and my parents bought me one of those dollar store Ms. Flair dolls. A couple of years ago, she put one in my stocking as a gag. It's so funny reliving that. Oh, and that Ms. Flair doll HAD to be the worst gift I ever got. Even worse than the hot pink porcelain chicken I got from my aunt one year. I didn't even know they made chickens in hot pink.

doglady said...

Congrats on the GR Helen. I LOVED your puppy story! I still have the copy of Black Beauty I got when I was about 11 years old and I must have read it once a day for weeks after Christmas! A few years later I got To Kill a Mockingbird with the same result. See a pattern here? Any gift from my DH was precious to me, especially the simple ones like a pair of warm gloves because my hands were cold. My niece and nephews always give me DVDs because movies are "our thing." We love to watch them together. My brother gave me a fabulous sewing machine a few years ago because I make quilts for family members and I was piecing and quilting them completely by hand. My BFF gave me the most wonderful gift the Christmas after I won a chapter of the Avon Event novella. She created a memory box, glass on all sides depicting a scene from my chapter. Is that not perfect? It is on my bookshelf next to me writing desk.

doglady said...

Oh and a heads up. The Potato Chip Cookie recipe is posted in yesterday's blog comments toward the end for anyone who is interested!

Nancy said...

Helen--way to go! You got the rooster!

Beth, it's hard to pick a favorite. Maybe the easel my parents gave me the year I had artistic aspirations. Or the Barbie dream house--back when it and the furniture were cardboard, extensive assembly required *g*. Least favorite was a CB radio. My sister longed for one; I had no desire to talk to strangers on the highway.

Buffie, was your dream house fold-up cardboard, or did you come along when it had advanced to something sturdier? The assembly could be a real pain. I sympathize with the present-finding thing. Ouch! Glad it worked out okay.

Gannon, I remember Mrs. Beasley--from the show Family Affair, right? I never had one, but I remember Anissa Jones carrying her around all the time.

Tawny, a life-sized doll sounds amazing! I've heard of look-alike dolls; I didn't know they came in life-size.

A fun post, Beth!

Anonymous said...

I love presents too, Beth! Love giving AND getting! :-)

My strongest memories were of a cool comforter I got one year that had hearts all over it. I have no idea why a comforter would be a great Christmas present, but there you go.

I also got a big stuffed horse for a present (I think birthday, actually) that became my best friend and companion for many years. He's still nearby, and now he's a friend to my kids. Kind of like the Skin Horse. :-)

p226 said...

The little green army men. Got them every year. Hell, believe it or not, I still get them every year. Without fail.

As a kid, I must've had a division of those guys. At the least I had four or five battalions. As a kid, I'd take 'em out somewhere and find a dirt pile. I'd dig 'em in with fighting holes and build defensive positions with them. Then I'd lob dirt-clods at them (artillery you see) and then pick off the rest with my BB gun. You see, I was General George S. Patton. The four stars on the collars of my olive drab kids-sized BDU shirt proved it. Some days I was Rommel (I had the lil tanks too) but I didn't have anything but a black t-shirt to get in to character there.

Of course, by the time I was twenty five or so, the neighbors began to think this was a little strange. *g* So a son was needed. Now I have an excuse to do it all again. I wonder how many I'll get this year.....

This reminds me of the first ... uh... military award I ever received. This is sort of a long story, but it's related in a tangent sort of way. I think I was eight. I was spending the day at an uncle's house, who was a decorated navy veteran. The man helped put a Japanese battleship on the bottom. He also helped mine the Japanese fleet in at Truck Island, which was a HUGE strategic boon for the US in the pacific. But I digress...

Anyway, I was "playing war" as I always did, and I was getting my "missions" from Uncle Pete. He'd tell me "go take the hill across the street." A half hour later I'd return, salute, "Mission accomplished sir, what's next?!" This went on for a couple of hours, and Pete got annoyed with me bugging him. So he assigned me to guard duty. In the driveway. I was not to allow any enemy forces access to the driveway for any reason.

Six hours later, in the middle of the summer heat, with me probably on the verge of heat stroke, my aunt asked about my whereabouts. Whoops. Uncle Pete forgot about me. I remember being hot, exhausted, and feeling pretty bad. But I did not abandon my post. Even when my aunt came out to bring me inside, I refused to budge. It was my post, and I was not moving. Pete had to come out himself and "properly relieve" me.

He felt horrible. His my aunt was tearing him a new one for leaving me out on the black asphalt in the summer heat without so much as a half a canteen of water. She was mad. Out of his guilt, Pete decided I needed an award for my performance. I had no idea of the significance of this at the time, but Pete set up a formal "awards" ceremony next to the pool table in the basement. He gave me one of his Distinguished Flying Crosses.

I had no idea how important that cross was back then. But I still have it. And it sits in a place of honor in my home.

Heh, those were the days. My son loves the plastic "army men" now. We both get them every year. And barely are the wrappers off of them before there's a major military incursion on the living room by one side or the other. He likes to defend the couch with his. I flank around the recliner, and set up a unit for covering fire from the Christmas tree. I think I'll change it up on him this year. I'll send a small unit around the coffee table. Yeah... General Minime will never see that coming... muahahahahah

Anonymous said...

A memorable Christmas gift was the cookie monster doll I got when I was really little :)

Margay1122 said...

My favorite was a gift I received last year from my youngest sister. It is a large coffee mug with five black cats in varying poses on it and the phrase, "Everything tastes better with a little cat hair in it." It turned out to be quite prophetic because two months after Christmas, we lost our cat to cancer and when we were ready to have another, we decided to get two, hopefully from the same litter. We ended up with sisters. Two black kittens - from a litter of five, all black.

Margay1122 said...

My favorite was a gift I received last year from my youngest sister. It is a large coffee mug with five black cats in varying poses on it and the phrase, "Everything tastes better with a little cat hair in it." It turned out to be quite prophetic because two months after Christmas, we lost our cat to cancer and when we were ready to have another, we decided to get two, hopefully from the same litter. We ended up with sisters. Two black kittens - from a litter of five, all black.

Beth Andrews said...

Andrea, what a lovely story!! My brother asked his wife to marry him on Christmas. He bought her a coat and put the engagement ring in one of the pockets :-) And my husband and I got engated quickly as well - six months after we started dating *g*

Donna MacMeans said...

Buffie - LOL. Your post made me remember the year my brother and I poked little holes in the wrapping paper. My mother would wrap the presents and store them in various closets. I think we noticed one of the packages had a tiny rip in the corner - as if something accidentally fell on the present puncturing the wrapping. So we continued the process on every present! *g*. I don't think we saw very much, but we were busted.

Beth Andrews said...

Oooh, brownone, that hot pink chicken sounds like the perfect playmate for our dear Golden Rooster!!

And I will say that one of my siblings (I won't name names to protect them *g*) used to chew on our Barbies' feet! Gnawed most of them right off - not in revenge but just a really bad (and weird) habit ;-)

Hellie Sinclair said...

Most thoughtful, unexpected gift: a print/drawing of Mel Gibson (as Braveheart) in 1995 from a trio of college guys I knew. Mac said he saw it and knew immediately he had to get it for me. Very sweet; I loved it.

Strangest, but most thoughtful gift: a can of mushroom soup and a pair of deer hooves. (My 4 year old niece gave these to me: the soup because I had yelled at her [hey, I was a moody teenager] about eating all the mushroom soup in the house--and wasting it no less--so she wanted to replace it; and the deer hooves because they were very favorite possession at the time.) It was a sort of Gift of the Magi/O Henry gift, really.

Worst gift: a set of microwave-plates to nuke potatoes on. From my brother-in-law.

Best gift: probably Harry Potter's wand...or the year I got Robin Hood on VHS (Kevin Costner)--I leaped around the room like a maniac, clearly excited.

Beth Andrews said...

What lovely, thoughtful gifts, doglady! Your memory box sounds beautiful!

Oh, I have to go and check out the potato chip cookie recipe :-)

Nancy, my dad had a CB radio in one of his trucks and I would sit in that parked truck and try to find someone to talk to *g* We must've been out of range because I never heard anything but static!

Beth Andrews said...

Kirsten, my MIL got my girls comforters for their beds last year and they ADORE them *g* Nothing better than a pretty, comfy bed :-)

Beth Andrews said...

p226, my husband has a box filled with Green Army Men! Love the story of your first military award :-) My FIL was a Paratrooper with the 101st during WWII and we have the shadow box with his medals *g*

Beth Andrews said...

Margay1122, I bet that's still your favorite mug!

Donna, isn't it funny how our minds work? I'm sure you and your brother never thought your mother would notice that each gift had a hole in it *g*

Mshellion, I'm LOL over the can of soup! What a sweet gift - or at least, the thought was very sweet *g*

Jennifer Y. said...

Congrats Helen!

Oooh...this is a hard one. I have a few.

I loved my Cabbage Patch Doll...still have her in fact...her name is Michaela.

I also loved my stereo with a cassette deck, record player, and 8-track player I got as a kid complete with an Alvin and the Chipmunks Country Album...the chipmunks were a fave of mine growing up. I even recently found my Alvin doll that plays the Chipmunk Christmas song when squeezed.

But I think one of my all-time favorite gifts was my talking Pound Puppy. While all my friends were getting Teddy Rupskin (sp?) the bear that would read you story or play tapes when you put one in him, I got the Pound Puppy version named Cooler. He was grey with a blue jacket and I thought he was the best thing in the world.

Of course my brother used to like to put his Michael Jackson tapes in him so he would look like he was singing his songs, but I preferred the read-along book tapes so I could read the books with the talking, stuffed animal (hmmmm...maybe that is where it love of books and stuffed creatures ;o) Banditas know what I am referring to).

When I told my friend I got a talking Cooler for Christmas she thought I meant the kind you put stuff in to keep cold...I had to explain it was a dog. Apparently I was the only one of my friends with the talking Pound Puppy. I am not sure where he is now, but I still have my original non-talking Pound Puppy.

Lily said...

Actually the most memorable gift that I have received was one I have just received... it is a hand-made card by one patient with terminal cancer thanking for my attention during her hospital stay (I am a med student doing rounds)... at home, when I read her message, I started crying.

I know that I will always remember this woman and her card will be something I will be cherishing for the rest of my life!

Christie Kelley said...

Those raspberry bars sound delicious! Maybe I'll make them after the sugar rush disapates from all the cookies here.

My favorite gift as a child had to be the Barbie camper (and I hate camping).

My favorite as an adult must be the Kitchen Aid mixer my husband bought me last year. Every time I pull it out, I thank him again.

Maureen said...

Barbies were a favorite along with this Crissy doll who had hair that you could make longer or shorter.

jo robertson said...

Delightful post, Wonder Beth. I love reminiscing about my favorite gifts. The two best are

(1) the beautiful -- to me anyway -- upright piano I got when I was twelve. I still believed in Santa -- okay that's another story -- and I was so thrilled to get it even though my parents couldn't afford lessons. So I taught myself!

(2) the fiftieth birthday gift my daughter Kennan made me. On 4x4 inch parchment paper, she wrote and cartoon-illustrated 50 reasons why she loved me. She strung them together in a little book with a metal curtain ring.

My favorite was "because Mom wouldn't buy me Barbie playhouse so I was forced to make my own out of a cardboard box, including real wallpaper, carpet scraps, and furnishings.

It's true. The girls made their own Barbie dolls clothes too.

In fact, when each had a milestone -- a college degree, a new baby, an awesome job, a wedding -- they'd make and outfit a Barbie in the appropriate fashion. Amazing!

They must have gotten that talent from their dad. I draw stick figures!

Margay1122 said...

It sure is! I still use it almost every day.

Helen said...

I am loving all these stories it is so nice to hear about other peoples favourite gifts and traditions.
Have Fun

Deb Marlowe said...

Tawny--LOL on your brother dating your Tawny doll! I'll bet he's never lived that one down!

Caren, that's it--we're playing Jarts next summer. My house or yours?

My best and most dangerous childhood gift was my very own pair of ice skate. Oh, how I loved them! But about a month later I got plowed into from behind on the ice, went down and split my chin open. Now I have a nice scar to remember them by! :-)

Buffie said...

Beth -- nope, I'm a Buffie with dark hair and dark eyes. There was a blonde Buffy in my high school. She was the one on the drill team, while I was the one in the national honor society.

Nancy -- my Barbie Dream House was made of that hard plastic stuff, and you had to use screws to put it together. It took a little while to put together. And man, all those stickers that you had to put on the food for the kitchen :)

P226 -- Sounds like the military was in your blood from a young age. I'm sure Uncle Pete felt awful, especially after his wife let him have it :) I am sure that is one of your treasured items!

Donna -- what can I say? I'm a very curious person ;)

And where oh where is dear AnnaC????

Hellie Sinclair said...

Beth, ah, yes, the deer hooves/soup was a very sweet gift. I embarrass her every year about it now. She's all grown up now (even has a 1 year old of her own)--and I imagine her little one being a little chip off the block.

My sister says she was very specific that year about what I was getting too. "What do you want to get your Marces?" (Which was name at the time since she couldn't say Frances; and she was confused by my sister having a name other than Mommy--the "Marsha" threw her off; so I became both names. I was very upset when she finally learned my real name. *LOL*) "I want to get her soup." "Uh, are you sure you don't want to get her this cassette?" "No! Soup! Soup! This soup...wrap it."

Nathalie said...

My favorite gift must be a very old necklace that belonged to my great-grandmother... it is really beautiful.

It is a tradition to give it to the oldest girl of the family when she turns 18, and so it is a sign of maturity :)

I cherish it because I love anything that is linked to my origins and I hear it is quite valuable!!

Beth Andrews said...

Jennifer, we'll have to have our Cabbage Patch Dolls set up a play date *g* Although mine is a faux cabbage patch.

Lily, what a wonderful gift and how lovely to know what a difference you made in her life!

Christie, the raspberry bars are my husband and daughter's favorites! I need to mix up a batch this weekend - and of course I'll use my beloved Kitchen Aid :-)

Cherie J said...

My favorite gift is a Barbie Town House I got as a little girl. I remember wanting it so bad. Since I felt with my little girl logic that it was expensive item for Santa to bring I had to earn it by being extra good. On Christmas Day I was so thrilled to see it because I had truly tried real hard to be extra good. The memory of that shining moment is bittersweet because the next year our house burned down to the ground and my Barbie Town House went with it. I was devestated.

Beth Andrews said...

Maureen, I forgot about Crissy! I used to love to make her hair long *g* My sister had a blonde one and I had a brunette.

Jo, you are such a wonderful mother to help your daughters learn to be creative *g* Did Santa deliver the piano? When I was about 10 Santa left us a Ping Pong table in the yard - guess he just dropped it off his sleigh and wasn't about to haul that thing into the basement to put under the tree *g*

Deb, I'm afraid I'm going to have to forbid you and Caren from playing Jarts. If you think your ice skating scar is bad, just imagine how awful you'll feel if you get impaled with one of those lethal lawn darts!


Beth Andrews said...

I suppose I could darken my Buffy's hair - although I'm not sure how well the yarn would take the color ;-)

LOL -- mshellion, that is such an adorable story! Although you might have preferred the tape *g* My youngest called my sister 'Aunt' - just aunt until she was about 5. We both wish she hadn't outgrown that *g*

Nathalie, what a wonderful tradition! I too love things that have been handed down generation to generation :-)

Beth Andrews said...

Oh, Cherie, what a bittersweet memory! I'm so glad you got to enjoy the Dream House for a year but am sorry for all that you did lose.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Late to the party as usual!

Buffie, Anna C. (aka Foanna) is incognito for a few days. I HOPE she hasn't slipped over to Helen's and confiscated the rooster! Joanie T. is Demetrius still safe at your place? One can never be too careful when Foanna is hiding out. ;-)

Thanx for the GREAT post, WonderBeth!

Yes, Aunty and her sister (also named Beth) were sneakers & peekers. This usually involved crawling under my parents' king size bed to find the presents, which were sometimes wrapped. We never had the nerve to unwrap them or poke holes in the paper, but we tried hard to see through and figure out what was inside.

One year we found our white "go-go" boots (unwrapped) and we were sooo excited! Knowing what we were getting didn't dull opening them at all. Of course, what I REALLY wanted was the electric train set my brother got. But I wasn't allowed to touch that. Come to think of it, neither was he... wonder who that toy was REALLY for?

My mom made my son a cabbage patch doll the year they were so popular (I don't think he was in school yet)and the neatest thing was she took buttons off one of my baby sweaters and put them on the doll's shirt. I hope my son still has that doll, whose name was Graham, and the sock monkey my mom made him for his very first Christmas.


Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Beth - what a fun post! Hard to pin down my absolute favorite Christmas but I'm going with the year I was nine. My brothers and I all got new bikes. They were lined up in front of the tree, along with a gazillion other presents and we all thought we'd gone to heaven!

And I know I'm going to date myself (as usual) but the doll I got that year was a Shirley Temple doll. Her hair bugged me so I ended up cutting it all off. Strange child. LOL

And congrats to Helen! I know you'll take good care of the old bird!

Anna Sugden said...

Great post Wonder Beth! Fab recipe too!

I'm very lucky because my hubby is so great at getting me perfect gifts ... all year round, let alone Christmas, birthday and anniversary ... it's hard to choose just one!

Doglady - thanks again for the recipe!

Margay1122 - as mummy to two black kittens (and having lost my older two black cats to cancer this year) - your story made me smile!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Okay Kate, while we are "dating" ourselves...

My favorite doll was the original Chatty Cathy, and she was a brunette! I'm sure my mother had to drive all over town to find her, just like she did to find my black haired Barbie (the original in the striped swimsuit). Almost EVERY doll was either a blonde or red head back in "those days."

old but still kickin

traveler said...

My favorite gift was a blue raleigh bike without gears which I rode for many years. This bike was a treasure and now that I am much older regret ever getting rid of it since it is irreplaceable and extinct now. Would I ever love to use it now where I live.

Caren Crane said...

Sorry, Beth, Deb and I are totally playing Jarts! But, um, the kids aren't invited. Can you see your boys and my girls with giant, metal-tipped lawn darts?! It fairly stops the heart! We also may have to Jart first and drink tropical beverages second as we lounge by the pool. Which I guess means it's at my house! *g*

Beth Andrews said...

AC, I would peek at the wrapped presents but the ones under the bed were so clearly clothes, that I soon lost interest *g* Love the story of your mom making your son a cabbage patch and using buttons from one of your sweaters!!

Kate, I never got a bike for Christmas but my kids have and they are so thrilled - except we live in the Northeast so they usually have to wait 6 months to ride them :-)

Anna, having met your hubby, I can honestly say you are truly one lucky lady ;-) I think I'm something like 8th in line to be his girlfriend *g*

Nancy said...

Beth--I forgot to mention earlier that I love all things raspberry. Also all things easy. So this recipe is sure to be a winner for me!

Kirsten, I longed for a humongous stuffed animal when I was a kid. Still do. On a trip to NYC a few years ago, I was riding up the escalator in FAO Schwarz, generally a window-shopping spot for us, and sitting by the escalator was this enormous, stuffed rhinoceeros. I wanted him instantly, but he was "only" about $5,000.00, not to mention too big to fit in the overhead compartment or anywhere in our house, *g* so he stayed in NYC. How neat that your kids have your horse now!

p226, I wanted those little green guys, too, if they're the ones that used to be advertised in the back of comic books. My parents considered them inappropriate for a girl, though. That's a cool story about your uncle. What a great memento to have!

mshellion, you have an interesting selection! I think I'd go with Harry's wand, especially if it works . . .

andreaw, that's a wonderful Christmas gift, sort of the "the gift that keeps on giving!"

lily, the story about the patient is very touching. No wonder you cherish the card.

Beth, I think you had to be near the highway to pick up a conversation. I don't think people used CB radios in town much. My dad didn't, anyway.

Deb, sounds like your skates were sort of an ongoing gift, too, with the scar. I salute you for trying them, though. I've never had the nerve.

nathalie, your grandmother's necklace sounds like a wonderful heirloom, and that's a touching tradtion. Sounds as if you have a real family treasure.

AC, I didn't have go-go boots until I was in college and had to wear high-heeled ones for marching band (also a freakin' skirt with the uniform--don't get me started!). It's hard to do a stride step in a heel, but they do look seriously cool. *g*

Jo, I love the Barbie commemoratives. Wish I'd thought of something like that. Though I don't think my son would have carried it on.

Buffie, your house is definitely of a later, sturdier generation, but I relate to the stickers. Every single Power Rangers toy that ever came into this house had them. Lots of them. Some, so small you needed tweezers to handle them. There's gotta be a better way!

Beth Andrews said...

traveler, I'm not a very good 'saver' and I've often regretted giving something away. Sounds like you had a real treasure *g*

Well, Caren, since you and Deb are so set on playing Jarts, don't come running to me when you poke your eye out. Or get impaled in the head.

And my husband mentioned that Jarts were usually played at family reunions after copious amounts of beer had been consumed. I suggest you and Deb DRINK first *g*

Caren Crane said...

Maureen and Beth, my next older sister (yes, the one with ALL the good stuff) had the growing hair Crissy, too! The blonde one. I wasn't really a doll person. I only like Barbie for her clothes and shoes. I know, I'm horrible!

AC, my brother has a sock monkey from when he was a baby. He still loves it!

Margay, shout out to you, babe! I love your cat mug story. So glad you have two little sisters to love now! My kitty isn't black, but he has loads of personality. Um, and he's kind of a brat. *g*

Jennifer, you're talking Cooler story made me laugh. Actually, I always liked having toys other kids didn't have. I was arrogant enough to believe I simply had better taste than everyone else. Okay, I still think that--sue me!

Caren Crane said...

AC and Nancy, I had black go-go boots! Of course, you can get away with that look when you're 6. I would never dare wear them now! *g* Nancy, I think you could totally get away with go-go boots now. You probably wouldn't, but you could. I will refrain from using ugly words that would describe how us large-calfed people feel about you thin-calfed people. Grr.

Caren Crane said...

Beth, I am getting this mental picture of me and Deb with Jarts sticking out the side of our heads. But we wouldn't notice because we were so numbed from the frozen daiquiris. *g*

ruth said...

The gift that I still remember fondly was a wonderful teddy bear. I received this bear when I was very young and kept it until it was totally shredded to bits. Through all my illnesses, surgeries it soothed my fears away.

doglady said...

Okay, so my Dad's family DID have it right! JARTS are to be dragged out and played with ONLY after the entire family is snockered (except my immediate family as we were/are too scared of my Mom to drink). The only problem with that is the sober players are the ones are SCARED CRAPLESS as we are surrounded by drunk Pennsylvania Yankee drunks and they are ARMED!!! (In case you are wondering, anyone from or living north of Memphis is a "GD Yankee" if you are from the South. It is not a spiteful or derogatory term, but rather one of endearment given to those hampered by a lack of gentility and 'good ole boy' charm!

Joan said...

Seasoned, AC and Kate! We're seasoned....

Because (gasp) I have to admit I also had a Chatty Cathy doll. Though mine was blonde and when I pulled her string it sounded like she had had one too many sangrias. LOL.

My very first memory of a gift was of a red checkered stuffed elephant my Mom got from Top Value stamps. From there Christmas' went to a vanity at which I sat putting on plastic lipstick and powdering my nose. A typewriter...god, I loved that typewriter.

A stuffed vulture from the movie Jungle Book and the aforementioned brown sedan pedal car.

As a teenager though I was all about the music. I got a stereo system and a round orange ball radio that I could use to listen to my favorite station WAKY!

And Jarts....oh, yes I remember Jarts. I wonder how P226's "green army men" would fare under a volley of Jarts. Caren...hand me one.

jo robertson said...

LOL, Beth, not so much a good mother as that necessity is the mother of invention. Boyd and I just mostly flew by the seat of our pants and were very, very lucky.

catslady said...

It has to be my cat (feral barn cat) that I got from parents who didn't care that much for animals and I had asked forever for a pet and never really thought I'd get it. (I now have 7 cats lol).

p226 said...

And Jarts....oh, yes I remember Jarts. I wonder how P226's "green army men" would fare under a volley of Jarts. Caren...hand me one.

You can bet if I'd had the Jarts, I would've found out!

Joan said... crack me up!

And...I was trying to refrain from it....but your story about your devotion to 8 year old duty and playing with your son made me...yes, I'll admit it...made me make girl noises like "ohhhhhhhhh."

It was...cute :-)

doglady said...

Girl noises, Joan? Now THAT is cute! Who would LOVE to see a photo of p226 at the age of 8?

Fedora said...

Ooh, so very late today to the gifts party! Congrats, Helen, on GR's return to warmer climes!

Love everyone's stories--how fun to read about presents that've clearly made a lasting impact ;)

I don't recall many of my childhood gifts--I don't remember receiving too many, or being allowed to keep too many of what we did receive (it was all part of being frugal, setting aside some of what we received to regift later or share with others who had even less).

As for my own most memorable gifts, I have one very sweet friend, who with her dear (and incredibly talented mother), have helped us decorate our tree with special ornaments (a couple each year for several years) and a handmade quilted tree skirt and gorgeous cross-stitched stockings for each of our three kids. The gifts are now a precious part of our Christmas tradition, and I am always reminded of what a fabulous friend she is every time we do up the tree.

And one year in college, my roommate generously bought me (a fledgling dancer) a pair of pointe shoes. I'd longed for ballet lessons as a child but got piano lessons instead (also useful, but not quite the same thing). So I started taking ballet classes in college, and was just starting out when I received these--they were such an "I believe in you" and a promise of things to come. And after several more years of classes, I did finally wear them! :)

Thanks for the great post, Beth, and for the prompting to recall some very special gifts!

Margay1122 said...

Hey, Caren! Nice to "talk" to you again! Aren't kitties the best? Okay, there are some pretty cute dogs out there, too (my mom has a westie-poo that is just adorable), but I am, at heart, a cat person.

Have a great holiday, everyone!

Margay1122 said...

Hey, Caren! Nice to "talk" to you again! Aren't kitties the best? Okay, there are some pretty cute dogs out there, too (my mom has a westie-poo that is just adorable), but I am, at heart, a cat person.

Have a great holiday, everyone!

Unknown said...

My favorite gift was my cabbage patch doll. Me and my sister got one. We even got a talking cabbage doll one year for Christmas. We still have them. They will talk to each other and even sing.

Beth Andrews said...

Thank you all so much for sharing your stories! I love hearing about everyone's favorite/most memorable gifts *g* But you all have made it super tough for me to pick MY favorite comment :-)

CrystalGB said...

My favorite gift was a shiny blue petal car that I got when I was six. I was so excited to see it that I ran out on the porch without shoes.