Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Toys-R-Us Big Christmas Book Time!

I was flipping through the newspaper the other week and the Toys R Us Big Christmas Book insert fell out. I grabbed it and began thumbing through it smiling. Such different toys these days or maybe not so much.

I see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are still around. That Disney chick Elsa from Frozen is apparently really big (um, no kids here). Has Barbie had botox? My Little Pony also looks, um, odd, like there has been an infusion of Harajuku girls somewhere along the line. It is also comforting to see that Lego is bigger than ever. I'm also happy to see that NERF is still making questionably safe toys which could take out an eye if given to the child which has had too much caffeine or sugar.

Batman Colorforms
Remember back when your parents brought home the toy catalog each year before Christmas or Hanukkah? The excitement we would feel?  There were a couple out there I remember: the Sears Christmas Wish Book, the BEST Store Gift Book, and the Toys R Us Big Christmas Book with that giraffe, Geoffrey. Remember how you would just dream about the toys you could get from Santa or during Hanukkah?  I sigh and think of those times with fondness; the innocence of youth during the holidays.

Each year, around mid Fall, I remember my Mom starting to get the holiday catalogs. I would sit down with my pen and paper and begin making a long list of everything I wanted. Now I new I wouldn't get everything so through the power of marketing, this kid put the most important things up top.
"Aaaaaay!!!"

I remember asking for over the years (and being lucky enough to get) a Captain Kirk doll, a Fonzie doll, Dungeons and Dragons stuff, Star Wars figures and toys, Hot Wheels cars (I wasn't a Matchbox kid), models,  board games, Spirograph, books, Micronauts, Fisher Price playsets, Ramagon construction sets, Loc-Blocs, Tinker Toys, Colorforms, Lincoln Logs, an awesome microscope set, a Grey's Anatomy Coloring Book, a dissecting kit, a camping knife, a junior back pack, 45 records then cassette tapes, and all manner of art and craft stuff.

Every now and then, we'd ask for an electronic toy or game. TOMY was the big electronic game manufacturer back then. We once got a Tomy Digital Derby Auto Raceway and a Tomy Blip pong style game. Adam also once got a Mattel eletronic football game. The electronic game Simon rose in popularity too, as well as a bunch of knock off type games.

Digital Derby!
There was the year we got our ColecoVision game set. Adam and I played with that for hours.  Just loved it. One year we got a Jungle Jim. Another year we got a ping pong table, And still another year we got a tether ball set. That was so big in the 70s and early 80s! I remember when we got our first VCR for the family. We never did figure out how to set that damn clock. :)

There were some duds as well. There was the year we got a Commodore 64, one of the first home computers. Didn't do much with that. I think we were bored with it after a couple months.  Home computers were just too difficult to figure out and yet too rudimentary back then.

BLIP
Anyway, I thumbed through the toy catalog and remembered back to my holiday wish list writing. One year, Mom and Dad surprised us kids with it just seemed like miles and miles of wrapped toys under our Christmas Tree / Hanukkah Bush. Years later, Mom admitted she completely went over board that year and kept forgetting she had already bought stuff for us. It was a very good, very fun Hanukkah/Christmas that year. We didn't have another one like that and yet, that was OK. Every year was always a good year. I was a very lucky kid, never had to want for anything in the world, and as an adult, I get that and am completely thankful.

My heart goes out to those kids who may only receive one gift for the holidays or may not receive any at all. Donate gifts if you can, to a charity that accepts unwrapped gifts for kids. Let's give these kids a holiday that they can remember too.

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