Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Ghost of Christmas Presents Past

Written by  Linda Bobowski

‘Tis the season for the ghost of Christmas presents past to come and visit me once again. It started a couple of weeks ago while I was attending an orientation for volunteers for the Festival of Trees. We were playing games and the coordinator inquired about our favourite Christmas present. In a flash, my mind raced back to 1965. While watching the Friendly Giant, a Hasbro toy commercial came on. Who cared that it was 20 below outside and the winds were howling with the snow swirling across our front lawn, my nose was now about six inches away from our black and white RCA counsel television and the only thing I could imagine was the colour of the snow cone maker machine. It had to be at least two feet tall, cause it covered the whole screen. I imagined a bright red hat complete with syrup squirters. It had to be cherry flavour or maybe it came with grape – who cared! I could imagine my delight in making those snow cones and devouring them one by one.

I wrote to Santa, of course, and told anyone in the family who cared to listen that I would love to make them a snow cone on Christmas Day. That morning, it was a mad dash down the stairs as five kids jostled and jumped, barely touching the steps, to be the first to get to the Christmas tree. To me, it took forever for Mom and Dad to join us so we could get to those gifts under that tree. When my name was called, the box looked about right. Shaking the contents didn’t give me any indication even though it was rather light, but I just knew it had to be it. Slowly, savouring every moment, I carefully opened the present. The box was white, but I figured it was disguised for my delight. There under the tissue was a white fur hat. I stared at it and tried my best to cover up my disappointment with a crooked smile and said, “Gee, it was just what I needed.”

Then came my first Christmas as a new bride. For weeks, I scouted for a suitable gift for my husband. He enjoys hunting and fishing, so I knew I had to find something along those lines. But my thoughts flashed back to Christmases past, so I tried to be a detective and asked him for some hints as to what he might want. Finally, I had the brilliant idea for a one-year subscription to Western Sportsman magazine. Not once did he ask me what I wanted, so I just knew he would surprise me. Our first Christmas morning, we sat under our tree and exchanged gifts, he was more than excited with his first issue and I quickly ripped the paper from my box. There it was, staring back at me. A bright, shiny General Electric frying pan. First, one tear, then another… and suddenly the flood gates broke open. The more he tried to console me, the harder I cried. Our second Christmas finished our gift giving to each other, but that is a whole other story.

Well, time marches on and as parents of three beautiful daughters, every year we did our best to fulfill our girls’ desires (within reason, of course). We were living in Humboldt that fateful day. Two were teenagers and the third was just a couple of years behind. As usual, I asked for the gift list in October. This gave me plenty of opportunity to get into the city or shop local for those perfect Christmas presents. Great, all they wanted was Levi jeans. Everyone at school was wearing them, I was assured. I raced to the city, picked up the jeans at Midtown Plaza and I was done.

Christmas morning, I had a smug look on my face. I had succeeded in getting what they wanted. One by one the howls started. The jeans… the jeans were all wrong. In December, the hot trend was Guess jeans. Not only were there three girls crying, but mom joined in as well.

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I got a phone call a couple of weeks ago from our oldest daughter who lives in Calgary. The conversation went like this:

        “Hi Mom; how’s it going? I just phoned to say thank you for my birthday present.”

        “Great, what did we buy you this year?”

        “I got some really neat Under Armour; it will keep me nice and cozy when I am at the hockey or ringette rinks.”

        “I’m glad you like it. We will see you in a couple of weeks for Christmas.”

As I hung up the phone, I smiled to myself and thought… maybe cash isn’t such a bad present after all.

Read 596 times Last modified on Thursday, December 14, 2017