Sunday, December 18, 2016

Favorite Christmas Presents

The holidays to me mean Christmas, and this week's post also features that holiday. The third giveaway of the month is here as well, and like the previous times, there are some really fun prizes - books, swag, some candles, beauty/body products and more. A reminder - to be eligible to win, you simply have to answer the question at the end of the post. If you're unsure of the answer, search the blog – all the answers are here somewhere! Comment with the right answer and you're automatically entered for a chance to win! Winners will be selected randomly.

Today I'm sharing some thoughts on some of the favorite gifts I received when I was a little girl. There were a bunch of course, but several that stood out in particular. I remember getting a doll called Baby Secret when I was small. To be honest, I don't actually remember receiving her, but I do remember her – she was mine and Batman's baby. Yep, when I was three or four, I was obsessed with Adam West's Batman. In my imagination, we were married. (BTW, Speed Racer is my brother. hahaha) I look back now and laugh when I remember how my mother said I called the doll Baby Srecet. Don't know what happened to her – probably wore her out to the point of near destruction and Mom got rid of her.

Shortly thereafter, I moved onto Barbie Dolls. I loved Barbie and remember "Playing Barbies" with several of my friends – perhaps the start of my writing career in that I, well, all of us, made up quite extensively detailed storylines. As for the most coveted dolls (and we all had a ton of dolls), Malibu Barbie and Mod Hair Ken (you could change his facial hair!) topped the favorite gift list for a couple of years.

And our Barbies had all the latest accessories, too!

The Malibu Camper, natch – one of the first "big" Barbie accessories I received. Beat that thing to death, I played with it so much. lol

I also had the Barbie Friend Ship, an airplane set that opened up to be about four feet long, and when closed was literally the size of a train case. BTW, do they still make train cases? 

And then of course, we had to have the Barbie Dreamhouse. I think this one might have been one of the first shared toys between me and my sister – at six years younger than me, it was a while before she was interested in Barbie and all the trappings. This thing was huge compared to any other Barbie toy I had. Thinking back on it now, it was quite flimsy. My daughter's Barbie toys were much better made, though she's been out of that stage for many years now.
This next gift was another one that my sister and I both got, though we did each get our own. Anybody remember the Sunshine Family? I don't think they were around too long, but one Christmas, my sister and I both received the Sunshine Family, and they were a nature-loving Hippie family of the 70's. Not only did we receive the dolls, but also their camper with a shack – portable living at its least environmentally detrimental. 

That toy actually segued me from Barbie to the next giant phase of my childhood – horses.

When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I developed an obsession for horses. A year or so later, my mother signed me up for riding lessons, and for the next seven or so years, horses took up a large part of my life. I read horse stories, I took riding lessons and worked in the stable to pay for them, the stories I was writing during that period nine out of ten times involved horses in some way. That Sunshine Family camper found itself the truck for my Breyer Horse Farm. Breyer made, and still makes, authentic accurate model horses. My first Breyer horse was the classic Palomino. I named him Topaz:

Every Christmas after that included at least one Breyer horse, though usually more. I ended up with close to, if not more than, 100 Breyers. I still have them all, though now they are in boxes in my basement closet. I can't part with them, or all the accessories. Because not only did I collect the horses, I created an entire farm for them in my family's basement. I made the stables out of various boxes, used popsicle sticks and branches to create fences and riding rings. After a while, I stopped "playing" with them, and just spent hours setting them up in various configurations. I took pictures, compared them with other friends' collections and kept a detailed list of names and backgrounds for each horse. Yes, I was crazed!

Here are a few of my favorites:

Later on, when I spent more time riding than fiddling with the Breyers, my favorite gifts were usually riding gear. Boots, a helmet, new gloves or a riding crop. There was nothing better in my teenage years.

These days, I don't ride anymore. Christmas is all about my kids, keeping the fun traditions going and yes, making sure they get what's on their list, within reason of course. I love seeing their faces when they open the gift they really wanted more than anything. Little Guy's getting a little harder, and My Girl is still easier – clothes and makeup and the like are always on her wish lists. And while my son is starting to be picky about what he wears, he's at an age where video games or gadgets/devices top the list. Problem is, with a birthday so close to Christmas, that short list is easily completed and the last couple of years, I've had to scramble to come up with something surprising.

This week's question involves my family – and one of our Disney trips. When we went the last time, we made sure we hit the Disney World Christmas celebration. While we were there, we got a sneak peek at the new Fantasy Land, and met a character from one of mine and My Girl's all-time favorite movies. Who was that guy? Put your answer in the comments, and if you're right, you're entered to win this week's goodies!

As for last week's winner – MsAwesome, you're it! Congratulations! I will need an email so we can work out all the details and how to get your prizes to you.

** Note: The images of Breyer's Man O'War and The Family Arabian Mare are courtesy of the Identify Your Breyer site. If you're a collector from the 70's and 80's, you can probably find your model, not to mention details on everything in the Breyer world. Careful, you could spend hours there and not even realize it! I did. lol

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