It’s another Christmas morning. And as we enjoy the 24-hour loop of A Christmas Story on TBS, it’s a good time to reflect on Christmas mornings of the past.
The reflecting began last night, when I asked the throng of PFT followers on Twitter to identify the best Christmas gift they ever received. The full collection of responses can be seen right here.
It’s a list that is, from time to time, nostalgic, funny, touching, inspiring, and wrong.
For me, the best gift arrived 40 years ago this morning. I was 10 and hooked on football, specifically the NFL. After all of the presents were unwrapped and I was disappointed that I didn’t get the electric football game that had been perched at the top of the No. 2 pencil-scrawled list, my parents pulled the same maneuver that Ralphie’s used when he finally got the official range model air rifle of Andy Dalton.
In the corner of the living room, propped up against the wall, was a large, flat, rectangular box wrapped with newspaper. I ripped it open, saw the word Tudor, crapped my pants (perhaps literally), and then spent the next four months alternating between 10 minutes of setting up the plastic members of the Browns and Steelers on other sides of the ball and 10 seconds of watching the artistry quickly degrade into a preschool soccer scrum.
Most of the other gifts that made the short list of the best gifts I ever opened on Christmas morning have something to do with football. Helmets, jerseys, jackets, magnetic standing boards, boxes of Topps football cards, and the surprisingly compelling O.J. Simpson See-Action Football, with red team/blue team cartoon-strip action.
The electric football game remains the Holy Grail of ’70s-era Christmas gift. You’ll see some of the players from the various teams I later purchased in the photo at the top of the PFT Twitter page. And the quarterback from that game I ripped open four decades ago still survives. Just like his real-life counterpart whom I tried to kill more than 30 years later.