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.
Today, we’ll focus on Andrea, Shari and Stephen. Out of respect, we won’t (intentionally) divulge anyone’s age; though you’ll quickly realize they were children of the 1980s.
Andrea wasted little time in writing about her favorite Christmas present, a Cabbage Patch Kids doll, given when she was 7 or 8 years old.
“She was a surprise Christmas gift from my ‘rich’ uncle and aunt,” says Andrea. “She had light brown hair and green eyes, just like me.”
Andrea notes the doll cost about $60 in the early 1980s. To put that dollar figure into perspective, it would have made for a fine down payment on a Yugo in 1984.
Nevertheless, the doll remains in Andrea’s life; it’s stored in a box in the attic at her father’s house.
“She’s held up very well,” Andrea says, “maybe my future daughter will inherit her.”
Shari’s top gift was a little more high-tech, one that’s perhaps the greatest gift any child of the early 1980s could ever hope for. The Atari, which at $125, was a big-ticket item in its time.
“I was one of the first kids my age to get one of these new-fangled things,” says Shari, who apparently aged 35 years while writing her responses. “I was the master of games such as Pole Position and Frogger.”
The Atari was built to last; Shari had it for seven or eight years, then passed it down to a nephew who enjoyed it for a number of years after that. And by “enjoyed it,” Shari means the kid went crazy begging for a Nintendo or Sega to no avail.
Stephen’s favorite Christmas gift was a Freedom I bicycle, which was carried by Western Auto stores. He got it sometime around the fifth or sixth grade, when bike riding was a popular thing, thanks to movies such as “Rad.” Yes, you read that correctly.
“I remember waking up Christmas morning and seeing it in the living room and falling to my knees,” Stephen says. “It was chrome and black and the coolest bike I’d ever had.”
The bike retailed for about $100 and is the last bike Stephen remembers owning before turning 16.
Also high on Stephen’s list is the original Nintendo.
“From Mario Bros. to Super Tecmo Bowl, it’s probably the greatest video-game system of mine, or any, generation,” he says.
Apparently, he’s never spent any time around a PlayStation 3.
This is the second in a six-part series about MDT staff memories of Gifts of Christmas Past. Check back for future installments.