top of page

Opinion: Toys under the tree

Remember the first Christmas when all your presents under the Christmas Tree were clothing? My cousin Kary and I were talking, and she said, “What are we supposed to do, go play with our new underwear?”

Everyone should get at least one toy at Christmas.

In our family, we opened presents on Christmas morning. I was usually the first kid awake. I’d run upstairs to Rocky and Brian’s bedroom, yelling, “Santa’s here, Santa’s here!”

The gifts from our parents were wrapped in bright paper with curly-cue ribbons. They would slowly accumulate under the tree throughout December.

One of the best gifts every year was a huge gift basket from dad’s sister, my Aunt Frances, and her husband, Alex. It came by mail and contained fancy cookies and candies from far away.

On Christmas morning, Santa Claus’s gifts were unwrapped under the tree. Who can forget the year they got their first bicycle? It seems like it took me forever to learn to ride it. I started out with training wheels and eventually graduated to just two wheels.

Our neighbor across the street, Art Olivas, taught me to ride my bike by running alongside until I got the hang of keeping my balance.

A kid with a bicycle gets their first taste of freedom, second only to getting a driver’s license at age 16.

I remember the year I was 13, and all I wanted for Christmas was a record player. The Monkees and the Beatles really rocked my world. Daddy waited until all the presents were unwrapped before bringing out this big package, all wrapped and shiny.

I can still hear him saying it was a package for himself, “To give to my Baby!”

I got a portable record player with an AM radio. I got more use out of the radio, as I didn’t have very many records.

The mid-1960s was a great time for AM radio. Madera even had its own K-HOT station. The good rock stations were KYNO from Fresno and KARM out of Merced.

My mother was not a big music fan. She called rock and roll “Yeah, yeah,” music.

My dad loved all music genres. He was a great dancer and my parents were members of the “Boots and Belles,” square dancing club. My mother had a hard time distinguishing between right and left, so following the directions of a square dance caller was very confusing.

Unfortunately, I have inherited this lack of direction from her…

I know up from down, given a second, I can figure out left from right, North, South, East and West? Well, that’s just crazy talk. This was a source of ongoing frustration for my engineer husband, who always knew which direction he was pointing.

His family didn’t make a big deal about the holidays. They barely acknowledged Christmas.

Some years we would put a large lit Santa Claus and a snowman on the roof of the house.

We lived out in Dixieland. The houses are not close together so there were very few outdoor Christmas decorations.

My dear friend and neighbor, the late Terry Earls, said she always enjoyed our efforts and would go the long way to town so she could drive by and see them. We got similar comments from other neighbors too.

I’m getting most of my Christmas from the television these days. I hope to view every “Dickens A Christmas Carol,” on demand before the holiday gets here.

It lights up my heart every time Tiny Tim says: God bless us, everyone.”

Long days and pleasant nights, have a blessed weekend.

• • •

Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

bottom of page