I was tagged by Brian A. of Yesterville Toyroom to do a Top 10 Favorite Childhood Christmas Gifts post. No easy task!
Here's what I came up with after many revisions and a few edits too:
10) 90cc Kawasaki:
One Christmas, I think I was 11 or 12, my Dad got it in his head that it's be cool for me to have a Motorcycle - even though he was notoriously accident prone on motorcycles, we lived where it snowed so I couldn't ride it until Spring, we lived in a residential area where I could not legally ride it at all, and my dad is notoriously anti-outdoorsy so the likelihood of us going somewhere so I could ride it were zero. But he had a friend paint flames on the tank and a helmet so it looked cool and that was cool enough for him.
That Spring he tried to teach me how to ride it and on the first ride up the road he pulled the front brake as I went into a turn. I remember his head (un-helmeted) smacking against my helmet as we slid (slowly) into the turn. We came out of it fine, but Mom was now even less thrilled than when he concocted the whole motorcycle idea in the first place.
Sufficed to say we didn't ride it much after that. The neighbor teenager helped me ride it a few more times, but the novelty of it soon lost it's luster since there were so many rules and schedules to coordinate before I could even ride it. But I have great quirky memories, and that's what Christmas is all about!
9) Slot Cars:
Being a hot-rod family meant there were always slot cars and track in our house. Christmas often meant new track or new vehicles. Often we would replace the iconic "train around the Christmas tree" with a slot-car race around the Christmas tree. The only thing funner than zipping those little cars around their electric track is hauling ass towards a turn at full speed and watching those little cars fly off at a hundred miles an hour!
8) Sectaurs Prince Dargon and the Dragonflyer:
I really enjoyed the Sectaurs when they came out, and the piece-de-resistance was Prince Dargon and his Dragonflyer! I loved the "puppet" angle of the ride-on beasts. Dragonflyer's wings also flapped and you could manipulate his jaws with your fingers as you emulated his legs with the rest of your hand. Cool!
When it comes to original Star Wars playsets or vehicles, none were cooler than the All Terrain Armored Transport, or AT-AT! I remember getting to open an early Christmas present the year I got my AT-AT. I chose my sister's present - it was the AT-AT Commander. Later, when Santa delivered the AT-AT I couldn't believe I was so lucky my older sister picked the perfect companion figure - and neither could anyone else in my family! Christmas is magical like that ;)
6) Tyco Train Sets:
Like slot cars, there were always Tyco train sets at my house. I loved setting the trains up in my basement and leaving them up all year long - so many toys had adventures on my trains, from Tonto to MUSCLE to Tron - they all took a ride on the Bubba express!
5) Tron action figures/Light Cycles:
Speaking of Tron - the year the movie came out I got the entire action figure set and both light cycles! The figures were an awesome transluscent plastic and their disks (or staff) all glowed in the dark. The light Cycles were amazingly cool - they held a Tron figure and hauled ass with help from a zip-cord. The shape of the Light Cycle allowed them to fly off the curb, go into a front roll, land on their wheels, and speed away at light speed! I had so much fun with those Light Cycles!
4) Transformers Trypticon:
I couldn't decide if this slot should hold Trypticon or Metroplex. Both were equally awesome, but Tyrpticon's motorized walking ability tipped him over Metroplex. I remember every Christmas I would stealthily peel back the tape of my Christmas presents to see what they were before Christmas. My Mom caught on and started placing my presents into dark Hefty bags beofre wrapping so I couldn't see what was in them.
Trypticon was so large he was placed against the wall, and knowing he wouldn't be moved until I opened him Christmas day, I decided to just rip a huge "window" out of the paper in back and see what was inside, replacing the box against the wall, window side in. It worked, and when I got up Christmas morning Trypticon was the first present I opened - being sure to begin tearing him open from where he sat ;)
No one was the wiser.
3) World's Greatest Monsters Rodan:
I had this giant Rodan terrorizing every toy I owned for years. You held him by finger holes in his back and by shaking him up and down his wings would "flap." His jaw cranked open by way of a lever behind his head, and his claws clamped shut with help of a couple rubber bands. This guy was huge and awesome.
2) Castle Greyskull:
The coolest playset of my generation, Castle Greyskull had it all. A trap door, an elevator, a weapons rack chock full of extra weapony goodies, a lockable "jaw-bridge" and it was A CASTLE THAT LOOKED LIKE A SKULL! What more could a kid want?
I remember one year my Mom and I flew to California to visit Grandma and Grandpa. I wanted to take Castle Greyskull and all my figures, so I wrapped it in tape and off we went. It was too big to be a carry-on, so I reluctantly handed it over as luggage. You should have seen the airport patrons at the other end when in the midst of Samsonite and Sears luggage a Castle Greyskull popped onto the rotating conveyor belt - no worse for wear I might add.
1) '77 Schwinn Competition Scrambler:
I got this bike on Christmas 1980 - my first bicycle. I still have it and I still ride it. I've ridden this thing to school in the snow, on dirt tracks, in fields and in cities. I've crashed into my Dad's work truck with it, ridden it with mismatched pedals after Dad backed into it (entirely his fault,) used the kick stand EVERY TIME even though all my friends threw their bikes down and leaped off them thanks to Dad's insistence that I always use the kick stand and I keep it nice (Thanks Dad!) I've polished it and re-packed the bearings and changed the tires and the chain and the tubes and the seat and lost the original pads and maintained the original grips and I love my Scrambler more than any toy I have ever owned.
Merry Christmas everyone - I hope 2009 brings you and yours as many wonderful memories as Christmases past!
Be sure to check out Brian A's Yesterville Top 10
and Brian B's What My Dad Saw Top 10
and hopefully soon Charles will post his Eclectorama Top 10 :)