Christmas is here and I’m pretty sure it’s a time of year when a lot of kids are looking forward to Santa bringing them some presents. Some of them will be pretty big, others more modest, but all presents are given with love.
I’m quickly turning into the lady to talk to at work when they know Santa is going to deliver a Switch to their children come Christmas morning. I’m handing out tips on how to set up a Nintendo account even before the present is unwrapped, as you want your youngster to dive right in and not have to wait on those boring set up proceedings.
It’s silly, but even I get exited at the prospect of their kids getting this ultimate present (well, ultimate in my opinion!). And let’s face it, it is indeed a precious present, and I expect there will be game-related gifts under many trees!
Presents in the Olden Days
It made me think back to my own youth. The same kind of feverish excitement when the day of presents drew near, even though we didn’t get such costly electronics or video games. Don’t worry, this isn’t turning into a tirade of “back in my day we had to make do with a wooden spinning top and a doll with real hair”. It’s just that it got me thinking back to my own youth in the early ’70s and what gifts stand out to me.
There was a doll, a Spanish one with a read flamenco dress. I remember that one vividly, not because I was a doll-kind-of girl. I don’t think I’ve played with her much but I have been told that come the next vacation, I was adamant that the doll came with us. So my mom took pains to make sure on the night before we left that she was in good shape. Her black hair was combed and tied with a red ribbon, and that her dress was washed an ironed. Only for me to completely ignore the doll while we were holidaying in France! In the end it turned out okay, as I kept it in good condition and was able to give it to my daughter when she was little. By the way, she was no doll-loving child either….
Make Belief Post Office
When I was about 8 years old I had asked for a post-office set. One where you could play make belief that you were running your very own post office. It seemed the ultimate dream to me, though I’m sure a lot of people will think it extremely boring. Bear in mind that I also enjoyed playing library with my own books! That should give you an insight in the kind of child I was. Anyway, I was so hoping to get that, but I was a good girl and didn’t go explore the house to find the presents.
My brother is four years older than I am, and a terrible tease. He carefully started leaving little hints that he had actually seen what presents I would get. I didn’t believe him, but he was so persistent. So when he whispered in my ear that he had actually seen the post-office set in my moms room, I happily believed it. Can you imagine how crushed I was when the unwrapping started and the set wasn’t there. So disappointed that I still remember it to this day! And as I didn’t want to rat on him, I didn’t tell my mom why I wasn’t jumping for joy!
Pushing the Button at the Right Time
One other present stands out in my mind. One that I got when I was a little older and I think it was the most expensive gift I ever got. My father loved electronics, always had to have the newest gadgets and I’m pretty sure he convinced my mother that this was a wonderful gift for us. My brother and I each each got our own portable Cassette Recorder and a couple of audio compact cassettes to work with.
We were awed, it was sleek, silver colored and had so many functions. Even though I didn’t really know what to actually do with it. Yes, play music, but the cassette tapes were empty. My brother did know however: we could connect the recorder to our radio and when you pressed record at the right time, it would record our favourite songs. After that day we spent many, many hours glued to the radio to listen to the Ferry Maat Soulshow (sorry, only Dutch readers might recognise that). Trying to time it just right, otherwise you missed the intro of a song or have the presenter chat through it.
In hindsight I’m sure it was a costly gift for my parents to give us, but we had many years of fun and good music out of the recorder.
Thank you for reading and if you would like to share: What are the gifts from your youth that have stuck with you?