Christmas is a lot different when you’re a kid. I can remember not being able to sleep on Christmas Eve in anticipation of what I’d find in the morning. Every house has their own traditions, but in our house I was always the first one up and all the gifts were under the tree. I’d simply go downstairs and tear into my gifts and find out what Santa brought. After about a half hour I’d go back upstairs, wake my sisters and let ‘em know the big guy brought them some cool stuff. Then I’d go into my parents’ bedroom and start to tell them about all the great gifts I got. I could never understand why they never seemed surprised. I thought Santa might have some kind of special hotline to let parents know what their kids’ presents are each year. That’s the way we did it in our house. But here are some of my favorite Christmas gifts as a kid.

  • Eldon Bowl-A-Matic

    This was a mini bowling alley – about three feet long with a bowler at one end. You’d place a small bowling ball in his hand and aim for the pins. At the other end was a mechanical pin setter. You’d have to set the pins by hand into the slots, then after the first shot you’d wind the crank to activate the pinsetter for your second shot. It would also return the ball just like a real bowling alley. I had hours of fun with the Bowl-A-Matic.

    Youtube
  • Merry Milkman

    This was a board game that featured milkmen making their rounds for the day and all the obstacles they would encounter along the way. The point of the game was to deliver all your milk and successfully navigate thru all the trouble spots. I don’t know what it was about this game but my best friend and I would play this game over and over. It brings back a lot of great memories.

    eBay photo
  • Schwinn Collegiate 5-Speed Bike

    This was real surprise. I couldn’t believe I got a full size, 5-speed bike. It had fenders, a cushion seat and derailleur gears. When I saw that by the tree I just sat there for a few minutes with my mouth wide open. I couldn’t wait to get it outside. Luckily it was a mild winter and within days I was riding thru the neighborhood.

    Schwinn Bikes
  • Kenner Girder and Panel Building Sets

    One of my all-time favorite toys. You could construct modern buildings with plastic girders and wall panels. With some sets you could build highways with overpasses and exit ramps. I had a blast.

    eBay photo
  • Matchbox Series Cars

    I still have most of my collection. Police cars, fire trucks, dump trucks, bulldozers, tractors, boat and trailer, numerous makes and models of cars. These were metal toys made by a company in England and small enough to fit in a matchbox. I could amuse myself for hours.

    (sarflondondunc@Flickr)