The Jets and kids that grow out of the ground, that’s what my favorite Christmas memories are made of…


My parents were really good at surprising us at Christmas, for birthdays, etc.  They loved to see my face and my sister’s face light up when we discovered something.  When I think of Christmas, I think of the times they totally shocked us.  Like, back in 1984 when Christmas morning came and Santa hadn’t left a Cabbage Patch Kid for me.  This is all that I wanted.  I don’t think I cried, but I was pretty disappointed.  My mom then asked me to go throw something away in the garage trash can.  When I opened the door, that bald plastic head was sitting in her Cabbage Patch Kid box on the hood of my dad’s Dodge Ram Charger.  My dad was in the garage waiting to take a picture of me.  I was SO excited to get that doll.  I’d show you my face in this picture, but I look horrid. 

Me in front of the Ram Charger circa 1984.

Flash forward to 1985 when all I wanted was the cassette tape by The Jets.  I loved “You Got It All” and “Crush On You”.  As my family and I were riding in the car one night, “You Got It All” came on the radio.  I told them, “THIS IS IT!  THIS IS THE JETS! This is the tape I want!”  I had to be sure to let them know.  They said they would remember.  Then the radio played another song by The Jets and then another and then another and then…I realized it wasn’t the radio.  They were playing the tape they bought for me.  YEEEEEEEHAW!!!!  If I could have managed to do a flip-flop inside that car, I would have, except I didn’t know how to do a flip-flop and I was inside the car, remember?  Anyway, my day was made.  My day. Was. Made.

There was also that one Christmas when I asked for an electric keyboard/synthesizer and got an electric organ with a Pat Boone songbook instead.  Miscommunication with Santa was all that was about.  So glad Santa didn’t see my face when I saw Pat’s.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of all, however, was the Christmas morning I woke up extra early to see my parents and grandmother arranging gifts in the living room “from Santa”.  Dagnabbit.  Dag. Nabbit.  Now, granted, it was last year, but still!  Santa wasn’t real???  Seriously, I’d be the kid you would NOT want to have.  I wanted to go to sleep on Christmas Eve practically right after lunch so that I could wake up and see what Santa had left.  Once I fell asleep as early as my parents would let me, I would wake up around 3 a.m. to see if Santa had made it.  My younger sister would always still be asleep (LAME!), so I’d have to wake her up before going into the living room.  Three a.m.!  My poor parents had barely gotten into bed from setting up Barbie mansions and whatnot and there I was- wide awake- ready to play with all of the Christmas toys.

I look a little deranged, don’t I? 

They never complained. 

My parents love for us and the way they loved seeing joy on our faces is something I carry with me all the time.  It makes me want to do things that catch my kids off-guard in a good way.  I know I could do better,too.  Like, I could stop forgetting to move that dang Elf on the Shelf.  I keep having to come up with reasons he’s still dangling on the wrought iron Christmas tree decoration thingy.  If you have kids or around kids, I know you want to make happy memories for them, too.  I’m hoping my kids forget the not-so-good moments where I lose it after seeing all the couch pillows all over the floor..again.  Also, the one where I yell “STOPITSTOPITSTOPIT” and contort my face in an odd way when I see them tackling each other in the middle of Best Buy or in the grassy area outside of Chili’s or by the Christmas tree or near the…

Do you have any Christmas surprises you want to share?  I’d love to hear them!


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