Gifts from Christmas Past

Editor’s note: This is the first in a six-part series about MDT staff memories of Gifts of Christmas Past. Check back here for future installments.

Staffers at the Missouri Division of Tourism recently were asked to share memories of their favorite gifts from Christmas Past, with the caveat their responses should be:

  • Totally superficial
  • Related to gifts received before age 17 or 18.

Overall, the results were varied, but fairly heavy on dolls and music-playing devices.

In this piece, we’ll focus on MDT’s rookie staffers, Elise and Elsa (no, they aren’t related).  And out of respect, we won’t (intentionally) divulge anyone’s age – not that these two, in particular, care.

As a kid, Elise was caught up in the great Furby craze of 1998.

Elise wanted this, for real

Elise wanted this, for real (Morguefile.com image)

“It was like a pet,” she says. “It was the first toy I’d ever had that actually responded back to you. Plus, it was all furry like a stuffed animal; girls love a good stuffed animal!”

Way back then, a Furby cost $25. Strangely enough, Furby made a big comeback with retailers this year. As for Elise, her Furby remains well cared for at home.

“It’s not because I couldn’t let go,” Elise says, “but more because it creeps me out. My mom thinks it’s hilarious to keep it in my old room and have it staring at me when I stay the night.”

Elsa, meanwhile, has somewhat less traumatic experiences with her Christmas gifts. Her top gift was a Sony boom box, complete with a Spice Girls CD (although, that seems kind of traumatic in its own way) when she was in the fourth grade.

“Having a boom box allowed me to carry my blasting music around the house,” says Elsa, who notes this gift was a major upgrade from her cassette player. “It was the latest way to listen to music and a big gift for an 11-year-old girl.”

The boom box cost about $40 in Elsa’s pre-teen years and it’s still in use, although she gave it up when mp3 players came along.

“I see it lurking around,” she says, “my dad keeps it in his work shed.”

Elsa also counts an American Girl doll among her best-ever Christmas gifts. It was a big deal when she got the doll as a first-grader; it cost about $100 and was a much-hyped gift that year. Elsa still has the doll, in a box, and plans to one day give it to one of her own children.

Or sell it on eBay.

Re-selling gifts – that’s the true spirit of Christmas.