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The Ghosts of Christmas Presents

23 December 2009 One Million Watts 14,556 views 4 CommentsPrint This Post Print This Post Email This Post Email This Post

Every year, Christmas seems to lose some of its luster. The Christmas gloom begins to set in once kids leave home, leaving behind the whimsies of their childhood to face a lifetime of lowered expectations and nostalgic yearnings for better days. Those days when, say, a certain old man dressed in red wasn’t actually two parents with a mortgage and a penchant for spoiling their kids. The days when the presents under the tree weren’t just gift cards and desk calendars. The days when you wished, with all your heart, that you would find a certain present under the tree.

At some point, those wished-for presents stopped showing up. “A Christmas Story” may have its happy ending, but what about all of those kids who never got their Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle? All of us have stories about the present we always wanted but never got. It’s the prelude to hating carols and buying fake trees.

But there is still time to make good with those ghosts of Christmas presents. As adults, we have access to a thing called “money.” We can now purchase those lost presents and finally revel in the fun that we had wished for. I polled more than 50 people to learn of the Christmas presents they wished for but never received, and what follows is a list of their top picks.

Moon Shoes

This is my own personal Red Ryder Air Rifle, except Santa never delivered. My cousin Carly got a pair and even let me give them a try. For 15 glorious minutes I bounced, jumped, hopped and vaulted in a pair of dream shoes. Honestly, what is cooler than shoes made out trampolines?

It might also be wise to point out how incredibly unsafe Moon Shoes are. Having a personal set of mini trampolines strapped to your feet practically begs for severe ankle injuries. But hey, what’s a little pain in the face of a Christmas miracle?

A new pair of Moon Shoes costs $40 through Amazon, but catching up on decades of low-gravity fun is priceless.

My Pet Monster

My Pet Monster first rolled on to the plush toy scene in 1986, primarily as a response to the ridiculously creepy My Buddy toy. My Pet Monster was a punk rock teddy bear, treading the fine line between snuggly and evil. Complete with multicolored Mohawk and handcuffs, the monster made it cool to have an inanimate object as a friend. It was so popular that it spanned both a short-lived cartoon and a live action direct-to-video movie.

Looking back, My Pet Monster looks a bit like it just broke out of jail. Leave it to the 1980s to spawn an evil blue monster toy that looks like it’s going through methadone withdrawals. To fill your Monster dreams, you’ll probably have to hit up eBay or Craigslist.

Power Wheels and Power Wheels Barbie Car

Must-have Christmas presents come and go, but the Power Wheels and Barbie Car combo have the distinction of being the most universally wished-for present. For 25 years running, the children’s electric car has been the cause of many a Christmas morning letdown. At the same time, it is such an unobtainable expectation that most kids don’t even dare to ask Santa for one.

Among those polled for this article, the kid’s car was the most often-mentioned toy — but everyone seemed to realize the likelihood of getting a $500 present was low. Those in the neighborhood who did get them were almost always subject to angry glares and a lack of friends.

To achieve an epic Christmas win, a Power Wheels or Barbie Car will still set you back a large chunk of change. For an average price for $400, it’s no wonder why more people didn’t park one under the tree. You can buy an actual car, albeit a surefire POS, for that much. But if an electric car that can barely fit a ten-year-old, let alone a full-sized adult, is for you then by all means make it happen. You can drive in circles yelling “Pow Pow Power Wheels” while reclaiming your Christmas dreams.

Nintendo Power Glove

The Power Glove was a marketing success, selling over 100,000 units. But how cool is the Power Glove? So cool that they two games were specifically designed for the Glove. Other games required epic amounts of restarts and the ol’ “eject it and blow the dust out” routine to get it to work. It was soon discontinued, and is actually seen as a commercial failure. Regardless, the Power Glove looked ridiculously cool and looking cool is all a young gamer really cares about.

Originally released in 1989 for around $100, one can now purchase the most awesome yet pointless video game accessory ever made for $23! Take that, inflation!

The Easy-Bake Oven

What’s better than homemade baked goods? If you said miniature baked goods made by a tiny light bulb, then you win the prize. For more than 40 years, the Easy-Bake Oven has meant confectionery fun. From cakes to pizza, the little oven does it all.

Already have an oven? Don’t like risking third-degree burns or house fires that start from faulty light bulbs? Well, then this might not be the present for you. If you don’t mind the warnings, a new (albeit microwave-styled) Easy-Bake Oven costs a mere $25 through Toys “R” Us! You could even bake a tiny cake to celebrate.

Electric Football

What is more fun than playing actual football? Why, watching miniature football figures run around randomly on a tiny field! Since the original Electric Football model was released in 1947, the game has developed a massive following. From mentions in “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey” to an actual official Electric Football League, the game continues to thrive.

If you missed out on the original game release as a kid, don’t fret — there are still companies who make current up-to-date versions of teams and players. It’s like Fantasy Football with even more lack of social acceptance! Either for fun or for professional league play, a basic set will costs around $30.

Mattel ThingMaker

Christmas is a time for toys that require making things out of diecast molds and weird, unidentifiable liquids called “Goop” or “Slime”. The Mattel ThingMaker was the first in a long line of homemade monster factories, later evolving into the “Creepy Crawlers” line.

Even though the original ThingMakers products have been discontinued due to safety concerns, you can still indulge your inner mad scientist and pick up a used version for about $60. Just pay attention those legitimate fire safety warnings…

Polly Pocket

Designed as a “Micro Machines for Girls”, the Polly Pocket line was an early 1990s craze that developed an epically-large following, with hundreds of different types available in the Pocket Mythos. The idea was that you could keep the toys in a compact carrying case and bring them with you wherever you go — but the thing about miniature toys is that odds are good you’ll lose them the moment you get them.

Still, you should get yourself some Polly Pocket fun times. They’re available at a pretty wide price range, sure to suit even the tiniest of budgets.

An Actual, Live Pony

The Pipe dream to end all pipe dreams! For most people, the likelihood of a Pony wrapped up under the tree is as impossible as the notion of a flying reindeer. Yet it is a possibility that one can absolutely make happen. Don’t own a stable? Live in a tiny apartment? Don’t have a steady supply of grains and hay? The thought of cleaning up after a horse makes you nauseated? Well, don’t let those those things stand your way!

Despite having a yearly cost of around $20,000 to maintain, a pony can cost you as little as $300! That is cheaper than a Power Wheels car! Granted, a horse has an average life span of 25-30 years, which would end up costing you over $500,000.

Still, when it comes to realizing dreams, it’s okay to throw common sense out the window. Do it. You deserve a pony. You might even have time to wrap one up for Christmas morning!

Remember, it’s never too late to fix your Christmas dreams. Maybe this is the year Santa will finally follow through on his promises. Either way, have a Merry Christmas, and may all your presents be as good as that Red Ryder Air Rifle.

Pat Moran


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  1. There was a really funny commercial (dunno what it was selling) featuring a teenage girl who got an actual (apparently unasked for) pony for Christmas. “Does he bite?””Yes.” Guess that doesn’t count. I have tons of books and stuff that relate to the basic fact that we didn’t have much money when I was a kid, at least compared to my myriad nerdy obsessions. My big unreceived (because it was never available) item was a space suit like the ones on “Space Patrol” and “Destination Moon.” Which makes me about two generations back from Moon Boots. I can’t imagine that my kids will have dreamed-for and unreceived stuff, but I’m probably kidding myself.

  2. The Powerglove almost gave me a case of child-onset arthritis because of how you had to hold your arm in the path of the sensors.

  3. When I was 5, I had a Fisher-Price play airport that my mom threw away in a move. Her rationale was that it was “dirty” because orange juice had spilled on it, but it wasn’t that so much that bothered me as it was she didn’t ask me, just tossed it, and hoped I’d forget. This was the crown jewel of things my parents threw or gave away without asking me, and it took me a long time as an adult to remove this hoarding behavior that started from these childhood traumas.

    Part of this “cure” was to search on eBay for these things. Eventually, I found them, and ordered them. Maybe it may sound silly, but I got one of those Airports (same year of make and everything), put it together, and stared at it for a very long time on our dining room table. Then I put it in a box and it’s in a closet. It’s nice knowing it’s there and safe.

    I also got an EZ-Bake Oven and a Lego model my parents would not let me have. I felt like I was filling up some holes.

  4. Mine was a “talking” cabbage patch kid and Cricket and Corky…they were twin boy and girl that you put a cassette tape in the back like a teddy ruxpin and they sang and talked.

    Still want the talking Cabbage Patch Kid though.

    My little cousin got a power wheels barbie jeep in 1990. When they came out I was about 2 years too old for one.

    Oh and I also wanted Mall Madness.

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