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SpielerDad avatar 9:49 PM on 12.24.2013
My Fondest Christmas Memory

My intention for this post initially was to retell my Christmas past, present, and future as a cheeky retelling of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. I quickly realized after a few paragraphs that it was utter shit and a horrible idea. It was also remarkably distasteful as I had the late president of Nintendo, Hiroshi Yamauchi playing the role of Scrooge's partner, Mr. Jacob Marley. Not wanting to insult anyone, living or dead, I scrapped the idea.

Starting from scratch, I'm writing this post from an airplane on Christmas Eve morning en route to Orlando to spend the holidays financing a multinational corporation and to ensure that Walt Disney's frozen corpse remains in a cryogenic state for the foreseeable future, so that one day he can be thawed out and rule my great grandchildren with an iron fist and lead his robotic army of ex-presidents to global domination.

As you can probably tell, this trip is not my cup of tea, as I'd rather be home, but it's what my wife wants and it's a gift from my father-in-law so that all his children and grandchildren can be together after a trying and difficult year for the family. Life is about compromise, and in the end I'm sure I'll have a great time.

While I was preparing to write my original post, which would have accomplished the rare trifecta of insulting Yamauchi family, Dickens' estate, and the English language in general, I started to look back at my fondest Christmas memories as a child. Invariably, as a life long gamer, my fondest memory is video game related. Gaming aside, it's is only a small part of the overall story.

Growing up, my mother, father, and sister lived in a two-family home with my aunt, uncle and their two daughters. Many times, my other uncle would be living with us as well. Throughout the year, and especially during Christmas, my grandparents from Italy would be staying with us as well. The house was always full for the holidays, packed to the gills with Italians. It was an epically festive time of loud boisterous conversations, delicious food, and being spoiled rotten.

With so many people under one roof to spend Christmas together and exchange gifts, caused the tree to overflow with presents. I've never seen so many presents under the tree. Looking back, I find it quite funny.

In the Christmas of 1989, there was only one gift that I wanted more than anything else, and that was a Sega Genesis. As a Master System owner, I was already branded as a Sega fan and the Genesis was such amazing technology at the time. To a ten-year-old, it was more than just a video game console, it was magical. It was also ridiculously expensive costing $189 in 1989 which, due to inflation, would cost approximately $10,000 according to my maths.

As a precocious 10-year-old though, I had an epic plan that was so logical, my parents had to agree to it. The Genesis would be a gift from everyone as that was the only gift I wanted. Everyone who was going to buy me a gift would simply pool their money together and get me the Genesis. The family would probably save  money this way, I thought. Instead of a bunch of smaller gifts, I would get one big one. I really was a spoiled fat shit now that I think of it.

Amazingly enough, my mom and aunt bought into it. The deal would be that the Genesis would be my only gift for Christmas and that was okay by me. Now I just needed to wait a little over a month to get my grubby little hands on the thing.

To a 10-year-old, it seemed like s millennia passed between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Sure enough, Christmas Day came and I got to open my precious Genesis. Of course, my mom and aunt got me more than just the Genesis as they generously got me some me additional games. To go along with Altered Beast that was packed into the system, I got Ghosts 'N Goblins  and Space Harrier.

After opening the system and the accompanying games, I got permission to hook it up to the family TV. Having had the Sega Master System, hooking up the Genesis was a snap, but my heart skipped a beat when I put in Altered Beast, switched the power on and nothing happened. "It's broken!" I thought to myself. Dejected, I walked back to the festivities by the tree with a pathetic look on my face. My uncle took pity on and walked back to the TV to see if he can troubleshoot. He took out the game, looked at it and then put it back into the system, the cartridge making a satisfying "thump" sound. My uncle then switched on the power and the blue Sega logo came onto the screen. I was too delicate when putting in the cartridge, as you really needed to slam those suckers home. I was treating my new device too gingerly.

For the rest of the day, I played my Genesis. I'm sure I got other gifts as well, but I don't have the foggiest recollection what any of those other gifts were. It truly was one of the happiest days of my childhood. I look back fondly of the Christmas of 1989, and it brings a smile to my face. Matter of fact, I have a smile on my face right now, as I type this, sitting in this tin can at 10,000 feet traveling to the so called "happiest place on earth". I actually owe Walt Disney's frozen corpse $1 just for saying that.

So as I walk through the "Magic Kingdom", surrounded by mouth breathing whale people, donning fanny packs, wearing sandals with socks, trying not to get run over by a pack of rascal scooter riders, I'll think back to that one Christmas Day twenty four years ago, and remember myself as that chubby 10-year-old and I'll smile. I'll then look at my daughter's smiling, laughing face, as she gets to meet some of her favorite Disney characters for the first time and I'll be happy, as Christmas time really is for children. I may have become cynical and jaded as an adult, but a little bit of that Christmas magic is rekindled when I see the wonderment and joy on my daughter's face.

To end, I would love to hear some of your fondest memories of holidays gone by in the comments section. It'll remind me of being home, by the tree, like the good old times.

Lastly, regardless of what your beliefs are, would like to wish the community peace, happiness, health and success.

-VB

 
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