Best! Present! Ever!

Judging by the look on my face, you'd think that clock radio was my favorite present ever. But no, there was a much more memorable present for this GeekGirl.

I’d guess that the year of my best present ever was 1983. I was in 5th grade and I opened an object of great wonder and mystery that rocked my 10-year-old world. No, it wasn’t a Sears AM/FM clock radio, though I do look awfully happy about it in this old picture. It was an IBM personal computer. I screamed when I opened it and proceeded to teach myself to program in BASIC over Christmas break. I made my first bit of multimedia art – a snowy outdoor scene with Christmas trees that would play Christmas carols while you gazed upon their pixellated holiday glory. There was some serious groundwork laid that year for my future self, and it’s a present I’ll always remember. Thanks, Santa!

I shared that story with my fellow GeekMoms, who in kind shared memories of their favorite presents from Christmases past.

GeekMom Andrea: My all-time favorite Christmas present was a Fisher-Price castle with a staircase that pulled out to create a secret hiding space. One of the turrets had a trap door, too: when you put one of the people on the trap door, they’d fall down into a jail that you could only get to by raising a portcullis. Oh, and the front door was a drawbridge! I got this castle when I was 7 but I remember sneaking to play with it in middle school (when I should have been “too big” to be interested in it).

GeekMom Mandy: I remember the year I got an NES. I was so excited. We had an Atari, but the Nintendo was a new kind of cool. I played that thing until it died.

GeekMom Rebecca: In seventh grade my best friend Stephanie got me two books for Christmas because she thought I might like the covers (I liked pictures of mythical creatures). She had no idea about the content. They turned out to be Xanth books – a very popular fantasy series. My dad had already introduced me to the sci-fi genre, and while I thought they were better stories than what I was forced to read in school, I never sought out more on my own. Out of curiosity (and the covers were really cool) I read the two books…and something sparked. I used my babysitting money to buy all the previous books in the series, and my love affair with fantasy novels began. It’s been a long and happy relationship. Thanks for the awesome present, Steph!

GeekMom Patricia: My parents usually try to keep above the hype and trends in toys and fashion. I totally credit them for developing this attribute in me. I’d ask for something faddish and they would say “No, that really isn’t necessary” and they’d try to make me see the big picture: would I care about this product in a year? Of course not. I think it was 1983 or 1984. I asked for a Cabbage Patch Kid. After all, every little girl in America was asking for one, right? For those who might be a little younger, in the early 80s the Cabbage Patch Kid was the equivalent of Tickle-Me-Elmo in the 90s. I got really upset that year when my parents said “no.” I was a little older than “Santa age,” but my sister was similarly asking Santa for one. My parents usually did their best to respect our requests to Santa growing up (I’m the same way now). What were my parents to do? Well, they braved the crowds…and this was the year that parents were fighting tooth and nail for these dolls! Christmas morning…there were two Cabbage Patch Kids sitting in front of the tree! My Mom did it! She (a) braved the fighting parents and (b) gave in to letting my sister and me get a fad toy. I remember the trend being to find a Cabbage Patch Kid that looks like the kid, but mine had long blonde hair. Mom tried to find a left-handed brunette with glasses and 1-2 years later she found me one…well after parents had stopped fighting for them. I kept that doll well into my college days, and she got so grubby and gross I think Mom trashed her when Dad was transferred to Guam while I was in college. It was okay. We military folks have to be very discriminating with our sentimental items.

GeekMom Helene: I think the most memorable Christmas for me had to be the Christmas that we adopted a family. I must have been in 8th or 9th grade. My family decided to provide Christmas for a family in need. When friends of ours heard that we had adopted a family, they also bought gifts and cooked food. On Christmas Eve, we showed up on the doorstep of this little house with two cars full of stuff. We had gotten our adopted family a tree with lights and decorations, presents for all of the members of their family (three generations under one roof if I remember right), stockings filled with sweets and fruit, and a huge Christmas meal. By the end of the evening I had a memory so vivid: the look of happiness on their faces when we showed up was one I’ll never forget…

What’s your most memorable present?

The GeekMom blog is captained by Jenny Bristol and Corrina Lawson, and supported by a brilliant team of writers. Since launching in 2010, we’ve created a robust community of writers, readers, and media geeks, dedicated to the vision of creating a smart, savvy, social online experience for geek parents everywhere.