It’s the holiday season for many of us. More high-minded values aside, let’s face it, we’re all thinking about gifts. If you have a childhood memory of that Christmas/Channukkah/Birthday gift that just rocked the house down, count yourself among the lucky ones. Here are some of the best gifts I received as a kid. No offense to anyone who gave me an awesome present that didn’t make the list – the following gifts were chosen by my Dad. He had his finger on the pulse of what my dorkitude required at any given time. Check it:
* The archaeologist kit: It was basically a solid slab of brown mud in a box. But with the help of a dish of water, some wet paper towels and the set of tools included in the kit, you unearthed a bunch of stone shards that had a T-rex fossil imprinted on them. Mind you, considering the scale it would have been a tiny, kitten-sized T-rex, but no matter. Next you got to clean off the stones, glue them together, and paint it. I’m pretty sure this was all accomplished the day it was received.
* The stealth bomber: One of those plastic models that you buy from Hobbytown. Oh, Hobbytown, such hours of fun for us! This was my first model and it too was cracked out of the box and assembled the day it was received. Aces.
* The microscope: The microscope probably provided the most sustained amount of fun for a single gift. There were slides included in the box, but Dad and I created other slides to check out under the scope: bits of paper or fruit flies or whatever else was at hand.
* The doll-making book: The cool thing about these gifts is that I doubt I ever announced “I want to unearth a fossil/make a model airplane/sew cloth dolls” but somehow Dad figured out what I would be interested in. He bought me a book with patterns for making cloth dolls, which inspired a full-fledged doll-making hobby for years afterward. I think at least a dozen friends have received handmade dolls as gifts. (My last doll was completed before the signing of my first publishing contract. Since then? Not so much.)
A great gift doesn’t have to be big and shiny and expensive, but it inspires something in us. So, do tell: what were your favorite presents, as a kid?