I know it's better to give than to receive, but I have so many great memories from Christmases past. Some of these are heartwarming; others are just downright funny. Listed them as best as I can remember.
- Being 3 was an interesting year. About half my gifts had something to do with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the other half were Beauty & the Beast. What can I say? I've always had eclectic taste. This Christmas is on home video and upon opening every package, I cried, "Just what I've always wanted!" For months afterward, my favorite place to hang out was my play tent that looked like the castle from Beauty & the Beast. It's a miracle I didn't wear out the VHS of Ninja Turtle episodes I got.
- My late grandmother, God rest her soul, always loved to watch figure skating on TV. Her absolute favorite female skater of all time was Michelle Kwan. When I was 4, she got me a pair of white figure skates, maybe thinking I'd be twirling out on the ice one day.
While Mom and her visiting best friend went to post-Christmas sales, Dad babysat me along with his youngest brother (who was dating my mom's best friend at the time). They saw no problem with letting me stay up to watch ER with them. At some point in the episode, a 5-year-old girl with blond hair and blue eyes was brought to the hospital screaming in pain; her parents explained she fell down ice skating and broke her arm.
I fit the little girl's description and was traumatized, figuring the same fate would await me. I mysteriously felt bad whenever Mom wanted to take me to the rink and the little white skates were eventually given to Goodwill. I didn't tell Mom about the ER episode until about 10 years later and I remained so terrified of ice skating that I never tried it until I was 20.
- My mom's best friend and her boyfriend used to visit for a few days after Christmas. They were into motorcycles and my Christmas gifts from them always included Harley-Davidson T-shirts. When I was about 12, I decided I needed something to wear over them: a tough-looking black leather jacket. My grandma combed all the department stores looking for one small enough. (I was a runty kid and now a very small adult). On Christmas morning at Grandma's, I found a giant, heavy box under the tree. I shrieked with excitement when I saw my dream jacket inside. The best part is it's been 10 years and that leather jacket still fits.
- Some of the best memories I have of Granny involved us bonding over TV shows, like when I stayed over at her house just so we could watch the wedding episode of Walker, Texas Ranger together. My preteen self thought Gage was dreamy and that Chuck was pretty kick-ass for an old guy. I was also in love with Walker's hat. When I was 10 or so, Granny gave me a black cowboy hat with a silver-studded hatband.
- When I was a senior in high school, I helped build the choir's Homecoming float. It was themed after the carnival scene from Grease and won the prize for Best Club Float. I was so proud and for Christmas that year, my mom got me a musical ornament that plays the Olivia Newtown-John version of "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee."
- Freshman year of college, I reunited with my 2 best friends from high school for an annual Christmas party. We're all obsessed with Johnny Depp. It wasn't planned out, but we all ended up getting copies of his newest-to-DVD movie Public Enemies.
- My aunt and I share the same dark, twisted sense of humor, love of obscure/purposely bad movies, and TV crime shows. She also knows of my weakness for firemen. She doesn't have a lot of extra money, but managed to give me DVDs of Justified's latest season, Analyze This, Analyze That, Summer School with Mark Harmon, and FDNY's charity calendar last year.
- I have a little (okay, big) obsession with movies. I've lost count of how many DVDs I own, to the point where I ran out of room on the family shelf. Last Christmas, my mom and stepdad put together a bookshelf just for my movies, which I thought was really sweet.