Both of these are sentimental stories; the present one is really cool, the ornament one is frustratingly sad.
Favorite present: Before they divorced and times got tough, my parents showered me with presents. Like, I am embarrassed by how much they used to get me for birthdays and Christmas. Being an only child, I honestly think I would have turned out to be a super selfish bee-yotch if certain events had never taken place. Kind of weird to think about…
Anyways, one year, I think when I was 5 or 6, I unwrapped my presents like any kid does: as soon as one was unwrapped and registered as really neat and “can’t wait to play with!”, I was ready to unwrap the next.
My dad had been videotaping all morning, something that wasn’t unusual. I still have this home video, but it’s a VHS so I can’t even begin to try to show you.
When all three of us had unwrapped everything, my dad asked me if I had gotten everything I asked for.
I said, “Yeah,” kind of unconvincingly.
“You got all that stuff and you still weren’t satisfied?!” my now 26-year-old self yells.
I remember my dad then looked over toward our recliner chair and furrowed his brow. In the video, he says, “Wait a minute…what is that?”
Concerned, I turn my head to look at the recliner and ask, “What is what?”
“Go look behind the recliner; there’s something behind it.”
To my bewilderment, there was a large wrapped box behind the recliner. I was so excited and had no idea what it could be, but it was huge so it must be something good!
My parents encourage me to open it and, wouldn’t you know, it was the Life Size Barbie I had been coveting! My dad had pulled the trick from A Christmas Story with the present, and it was amazing and unforgettable.
The next clip on this particular home video is of me dancing in the matching ballerina costume that came with the Barbie; I was already about 8 inches taller than this thing, so the outfit was a little snug.
Favorite ornament: This is a hard one because it makes me remember that when I moved out of my house and got it ready to be sold 2 years ago, I forgot to go through the hall closet where we kept all of the holiday decorations. Old halloween costumes, Easter and Thanksgiving knick-knacks, our fake Christmas tree, all of the lights neatly organized, and all of our Christmas decorations. All of it, gone.
When I reached my early teens, I became the Christmas tree decorator. Every year, I would choose a color theme for our tree, and only use decorations that were those colors. I also realized that in order to make the fake tree look somewhat realistic, each individual branch had to be “fluffed”, a concept that my parents never seemed to get. I remember that you could always see the middle pole and the branches looked flat, like a cupcake stand if you know what I mean.
We had decorations that my mom had bought back when she was single and living on her own. We had some Buffalo Bills decorations and a couple metal ones that were personalized: one looked like an angel and said “Holly” and had my birthdate on it and the other was a cat in a stocking that said “Jack” (my cat who passed away in 2011). We also had a few decorations that I made back in elementary school.
And now I have no idea where any of them are. Maybe they ended up getting sold when my aunt had a yard sale to get rid of all that was left in our house (I was still in school and couldn’t go back up to do it). Maybe they were overlooked and the new owner ended up going through them. Maybe they just ended up going straight in a dumpster.
I’ll never know. And it breaks my heart. I won’t have those to decorate when Tom and I have our own house and own tree. Our kids won’t ever see the decorations that I made when I was their age. And it’s my fault.
I know they’re only material possessions and we can buy our own and our kids will make their own someday. I don’t mean to be dramatic but it just frustrates me that I didn’t even think about going through that closet. We were so pressed for time and couldn’t fit anything else in the truck when I packed it up with my stuff to bring down to NYC.
So as of right now, I have 3 decorations: 2 are from when we got engaged (thanks Casey and Juhasz family!) and the other is a set of 4 snowmen from our friend Courtney. We haven’t had our own tree since living together because we spend Christmas with my in-laws (and there’s not really any room for a tree!) so it’s okay. There’s plenty of time to make our own decoration collection and tie memories to them.
Do you remember your favorite present and/or have a favorite ornament?