Toys of Christmas Past
This year will be my first Christmas away from home. This will be a tough adjustment for me. After spending 26
straight years with my parents, you sort of get used to the little traditions you have. Like how will I be able to
survive Christmas without my Mom's baked beans? How will I react to having pasta at Christmas dinner (crazy Italian
in-laws)...I just don't know!!!
However, many of the traditions have already ended...the most important of which is getting toys! My cousin and I
used to spend most of Christmas, when I was younger, putting together my latest toy...Legos and Star Wars were the main
ones. I remember one year (I think I was 14 or 15) I asked my mom to get me a small Lego set, just because I wasn't sure
what my cousin and I would do without having Legos to assemble. Now she's all grown up and married, and instead of having
Christmas at my parents house, we now all gather at my cousin's house. In many ways Christmas is more fun now, but I miss
our old artifical tree, I miss listening to Christmas music and setting the table the night before with my mom...but I
know my mom doesn't miss all the cooking...so I'll go along with whatever makes her happy!
But I do miss the toys. Getting a DVD player for Christmas is great...but it just isn't the same as getting an X-wing
fighter, the new Snake Eyes figure, or a Lego spaceship. So let's reminisce about the best toys of my Christmas past...
First off is the amazing Millennium Falcon. Did it get any better than this. The toy was huge! When you ran around
with it you'd have to tilt you head around it to see. It had everything from the movie. It had the chess table where
R2D2 beats Chewbacca, it had the little floating ball thing that shoots Luke in the ass, it had the secret compartment
they all hid in when they are tractor beamed into the Death Star. What more could you ask for?!?
Well, I could ask for an explanation on how exactly you were supposed to put a guy into the seat for the gun.
Those of you who owned this know what I'm talking about. Nobody really fit in that seat. You just shoved a guy in there,
a minute later he fell back out. And what about the ramp? How long did it take for those blue arms on it to break, and
damn thing never wanted to stay closed. Also, what is the deal with all the wasted space? Two-thirds of this toy was
hollow plastic. If I had been a little more adventurous, I would have hired a general contractor to knock down a
few walls, put in a sky light or two to really open up the place. I didn't, so the toy is actually in pretty good shape...
a few more years, and I should be able to get some serious money for it! Regardless, this was a great toy, and once
you had it, you were the envy of every kid in the neighborhood!
Yellow Lego Castle
My personal favorite Lego set of all time. I think I was either 4 or 5 when I got the generic lego set. It was a
giant box filled with red and blue bricks, and a big green square to put them on. Very fun to build stuff, but the
big yellow castle really got me hooked. We now had people and horses! This was the perfect toy for a geek boy
like me. I think I spent all day and night putting this thing together.
Look at that! You need to be very good at spatial geometry to easily put this thing together. How is a 6 year old
supposed to figure this out...well, I did, it just took awhile.
Wow, it didn't get much better than this. The AT-AT was my favorite gift of all time. When you come down Christmas
morning to find a box bigger than you are, you know you were getting a serious gift. The best part of the AT-AT was putting
you hand inside and making the head move around and shoot. The little light bulb that lit up the plastic guns was a nice
touch. Kudos to Kenner for this one. This toy was bigger than my dog, and she really didn't like it...especially when it
starting shooting her. Good times...
Some quick honorable mentions:
My second lego set was a space set that came with a little red and a little yellow guy. That was a vast improvement over the big box.
The space"ship" was this moon rover which had a long elephant trunk-like arm on the front that had a scooper, or a couple
other tools you could use.
I also really liked the "Blacktron" Lego sets and the later castle sets. It was the time when Legos stopped looking
like a bunch of bricks slapped together and started looking like actual ships, castles, and horses (and the accessories
(helmets, swords, guns) became more realistic too). Of course to make things that looked like castles and ships they
started using very specialized pieces which sometimes limited your ability to make other things, but all in all they
were pretty damn fun.
Imperial Attack Base
Ok, one last one. Did you have the snow fort? I loved that thing. Exploding command posts, collapsing ice bridges! What
more could a kid want?
Wow... I was a spoiled little brat... wasn't I?
Merry Christmas, Happy (belated) Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, and Happy New Year!!!