Depending on your place in the child hierarchy; oldest, middle, youngest, only, or one of bunch, Christmas and Christmas presents are seen and experienced differently. Being the oldest of three, a sister, 3 years younger, and a brother 7 years younger, it was up to me to “educate” them about asking for, and getting what we wanted under the tree. Were we selfish? In hind sight, yes, but with 3 children under 10, with all the excitement, build-up and store displays, it was almost impossible not to get a little greedy.
I kinda guessed, when my brother came along, that the Stork story was not reality, and in my 7-year old mind it brought suspicion onto the other holiday stories, like the Easter bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and yes, even Santa. But I couldn’t prove it and not really being sure, I hedged my bets and wrote my note to Santa each year, sat on his lap at the mall and told him all my secret wants, and put cookies and milk [with a Scotch chaser for some unfathomable reason] out on Christmas eve.
In the early 60’s it was a time before internet or cell phones. Mass communications was limited to 3 television channels in black and white. Christmas catalogs would clog the mailbox [well that part hasn’t changed much]. In the weeks leading up to Christmas the Sears toy catalog would get worn out, marked up, drooled over, and endlessly discussed. Our lists were created, and then recreated when we saw something new on TV. With all the excitement of the season, we would share our lists with friends, and well, pretty much anybody that would listen to us.
When I was eight, I accidentally found where my parents “hid” the Christmas presents to be. That year and the next held no surprises under the tree and seemed to confirm my suspicions of Santa.
In 1965 I turned 10. That year I discovered James Bond, both in Ian Fleming’s books and the movies. It was the first “grown up” movie I was allowed to see. I became a bit obsessed with Bond. That year, one of the hot toys was a James Bond briefcase. It was a hard plastic briefcase containing a plastic bullet-firing Lugar gun & attachments to turn it into a sniper rifle; hidden dagger, 'Code-a-Matic' machine & code book, wallet w/ passport, 6 business cards,