Giving or getting, enjoy your Christmas

Published 12:32 pm Friday, December 23, 2011

I was probably six years old when I woke up on Christmas morning and found a NWA wrestling ring complete with figures under the tree.

As a kid who sat at the feet of my dad’s chair and watched Ric Flair battle it out with all the faces of the National Wrestling Alliance, I was pretty stoked about the gift.

But as I got ready to put the thing together, we realized the ring itself was made of cardboard.

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My dad understood without hesitation that a cardboard ring would be quickly destroyed by a destructive six-year-old boy. So he built a wooden one of the exact same dimensions and we put the NWA cover, ring posts and turnbuckles.

The ring lasted for years. And now, more than two decades later, it still stands maybe the best Christmas gift I have ever gotten.

There are a handful that stick out over the years.

I believe I was 11 when I got a guitar that I never quite figured out how to play.

I still have the assembled model from the Bigfoot monster truck kit I was given.

There was the year my brother and I each got a Nineteno. That was pretty cool.

Jason Cannon seet the bar high over the last two years, giving me a box of 30 different New Era caps last year (I’m big on New Era caps) and, this year, an actual sketch used in the making of the short-lived Pro Stars cartoon.

It has long been a dream of mine to see a game in every Major League Baseball stadium. And last year a friend got me a framed map with all of the stadiums highlighted and a pushpin system to track which ones had been knocked off the list.

My mom and dad have always done a good job of coming up with solid Christmas gifts over the years.

Most recently, Mom has taken to giving the gift of DVDs for Christmas. She generally just checks what movies and TV seasons I am lacking and tries to get a few of them. It is a system I very much appreciate.

The funniest thing to me is the way my tastes have changed as I have gotten older. As a child, I thought clothes were a terrible gift.

As an adult, I love getting socks and jeans and khakis and dress shirts and ties.

But, as much as so many of the gifts I have gotten over the years stand out, the most fun thing about Christmas is still the giving.

I start planning gifts in mid to late October and begin online shopping in November.

I have a long list of folks that I shop for and there are always a few others I wish I could fit on the list.

The experience is always fun for me as I typically appreciate the challenge of trying to identify something that the people in my life would appreciate.

But Christmas leaves much more quickly than it comes and, whether it is giving or receiving, the experience must be savored and appreciated, however brief it may be.


Jeremy D. Smith is the community editor of The Demopolis Times.