About halfway through an article about QB pocket presence, I figured I’d change gears and try for something slightly more fitting for the season and go finish the football post later on.
I dunno, there’s something about this time of year that brings with it a sense of nostalgia that is maybe only rivaled by thinking about Oregon Trail.
One part of it obviously comes with getting together with close family and long-lost relatives. Sharing what’s new in our lives and the things we’ve been up to recently. You know, what Facebook does every minute now. But what can top the sheer enjoyment of standing by helplessly as dozens of people hear about your embarrassing escapades; or watching Aunt Ethel get all boozed up and hold a turkey leg like a microphone as she howls karaoke to “Frosty the Snowman” playing quietly on the iPod in the background? Well let me tell you………a lot.
The second part of the nostalgia of the season probably has to do with the music. Many of us were brought up listening to Bing Crosby sing “White Christmas” or Dean Martin croon “Silver Bells”. Funny enough, there’s a shockingly small amount of original Christmas and holiday songs, but a seemingly endless stream of artists covering those songs…probably leading to the perception that there are so many tunes to add to the playlists.
I wish I was joking. But last year, Time produced an article (time.com/3613551/christmas-song/) about the most popular Christmas Songs of the modern era. Here’s a run-down of the number of (copyrighted) versions there have been since 1978:
- “Silent Night” – 733
- “Joy to the World” – 391
- “O Holy Night” – 374
- “What Child Is This?” – 329
- “Away in a Manger” – 300
- “O Come All Ye Faithful” – 296
- “White Christmas” – 283
- “Ave Maria” – 270
- “Jingle Bells” – 254
- “The Christmas Song” – 254
And I’m gonna be honest, I think Mariah Carrey has killed most of the “All I Want for Christmas Is You” remakes for the foreseeable future.
The third part to the feeling of nostalgia? Reflecting back on being a kid and shredding wrapping paper followed by that feeling of elation (or disappointment) as you opened gifts. Here are some of the top gifts/toys that I’m always reminded of this time of year. I hope that some of these made your list too.
Nerf anything. Nerf managed to somehow combine fun and chores in such a rapid 180 that you didn’t know what hit you. Not a lot was more enjoyable than having a battle with friends and simultaneously littering the house/yard with foam bullets. But that fun vanished quicker than Fruit Stripes Gum’s flavor as the unfortunate realization set in that you’d have to spend three times as long picking everything up and reloading before you could continue.
Game Boy. Yes, I know, Game Boy’s still around (3DS is the current generation). But nothing can ever recapture the enthusiasm of ripping open a present and entering the mobile game phase for the first time…two color tone be damned.
He-Man. Mr. Macho wielding an ax, riding around on a green tiger, and fighting a skeleton. I mean, what modern toy could rival this prepubescent testosterone-inducing action figure? Although the scantily clad outfit is sure standing out…so I’ll move on before that thought process and/or inevitable line of questioning can continue.
Speak and Spell. Before Fred Durst had the amazingly terrible idea of including it in a song, this gadget was pretty much lost to time for a while. But when it came out, it leveraged some rad (rad!) technology to mask a learning experience. You could play games while learning to spell. Is that not great, or did I just have a sad Christmas one year? Don’t worry grandma, I still liked it.
Simon Says. Oooohhh, laser-like focus, anxiety, and frustration all rolled into one.
GI Joe and Army men. Ok, yes, these are different toys, I admit it. But they served the same purpose. I mean, what was a better way of bringing in the holidays than opening a box full of soldiers for you to start your own war with? I have to tip my hat to GI Joe though. Explosions, massive gunfire, and constant fighting…yet no one was ever hurt, and everyone was able to parachute to safety.
My Little Pony. Completely brushing aside the bizarre “brony” phase that recently popped up, there’s no way you can mention the 80’s without including My Little Pony. Just about everyone I knew had at least one. Opening a backpack or school locker usually resulted in an avalanche of plastic ponies. And yeah, these weren’t exclusive to girls. There were a handful of male ponies that Hasbro marketed to boys. I remember one was a touring rock and roll star, because of course he was. Also, because it was the 80’s and pretty much everyone was either a mutant, drug dealer, or a rock star.
Etch-a-sketch. Want to draw a square? Done. Want to draw a rectangle? No Problem. Want to draw an angled line or God forbid a circle? Hahahahahahaha, good luck with that!
Micro Machines. Scaled-down cars, trucks, ships, planes, tanks, and motorcycles that were more fun than Hot Wheels…maybe. It probably helped that you could fit 473 of them in your backpack at one time. And also because of that really fast-talking guy from the commercials.
View Master. Someone was really stuck thinking of a new idea for trying to make binoculars and photo-albums cool to young kids and tourists alike, and this monstrosity was the result. It never failed to disappoint.
Pogo Ball and Skip-It. Admit it, you were stoked opening these gifts up, and couldn’t wait to play with ’em. How many skips or bounces did you get before the inevitable twisted ankle or skinned knee? At least Skip It had a built-in counter to keep you coming back for that high score.
Well, Happy Holidays and safe travels to everyone.
And I hope you’re well prepared for the upcoming Feats of Strength.