The holidays are upon us. The malls swell with traffic, all the cars cramming into their asphalt slots, as shoppers file into the stores, armed and ready for battle with their credit cards.
I don’t like getting mauled at a mall, so I usually shop online if I can. I’d rather click and pay and wait for that arrival day when the gifts come home. It saves me a lot of time and aggravation.
When we were young, there was no online shopping. Our parents had to shop at May Company, JC Penney, Sears and a few other places to buy us toys, clothes, and sometimes a few items we usually hated. Sometimes they’d frequent some of the stores along Ventura Blvd. I seem to recall a toy store in Studio City, but I don’t recall the name.
Most of the gifts we received were wonderful. Our family didn’t have much money, so anything new was a real treat. Items that were shiny made our pupils pop.
My favorite Christmas gift was my first two-wheel bicycle, which I got when I was about eight. It was Kelly green, which was fitting since I’m Irish. Teresa’s was the same color. Training wheels dangled from the sides of the bike until we were coordinated enough to finally get them removed.
I’m sure we pedaled all over town, down to places like Kit Kraft on Ventura Place, Thrifty’s on the corner of Ventura and Laurel Canyon, and sometimes up to Carpenter. These Schwinn bikes were heavy and indestructible –perfect for wild kids like us.
I also loved my skateboard, which I rode religiously when we were around ten. Back and forth we’d go along our potted driveway, sometimes hitting a crack and being hurled into the bushes. That never mattered. We’d just dust ourselves off and continue.
One year, someone bought us a metal robot that lumbered across the living room. That was cool too, with Teresa and I emulating the robot when we’d be outside playing. No doubt, we were watching the Jetsons on TV during that time.
My least favorite gift was the Barbie Doll my mom got us when we were around eight. Why my mother thought we’d like this gift is beyond me. We soon turned Barbie into a grenade, hurling her head and limbs across the gully, and using her torso to dig up dirt clods in the back yard.
At least she didn’t make the mistake of buying us an Easy-Bake Oven. We probably would have blown up the house.
What holiday gifts do you remember? Feel free to share your memories here on the Patch.