A Bang-on-the-Mark Christmas

Cara/Andrea here,

As you may have noticed, the Wenches are doing celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas with daily little snippets from our childhood holidays. It's my turn to share, and as I cleaned up crumpled wrapping paper and tangled ribbons this year's holiday, it got me to thinking about presents past.

It’s funny how certain things stick in one’s mind . . . When I was very young, Christmas morning was always such a magical time—the tree glittering with its colorful lights, the stockings bulging with sweet treats, the presents beckoning with hand-lettered name tags. But there’s one present I remember above all others.

Cowboy-Christmas I was three, and as I had an older brother, I wanted to imitate everything he did. So it goes without saying that dolls were not on my wish list. (Like Pat, I never grew to like girly things. I was always a complete tomboy, and to this day I’d probably choose L.L. Bean boots over Manolo Blahnick stiletto heels) In any case, my brother wanted a cowboy outfit, so naturally I did too. My parents, to their everlasting credit, did not object to this gender-bending request and saw fit to grant my wish. Well, as you can see by my picture, I was one very happy buckaroo that morning.

 But it’s memorable for more than that one moment. For some reason, that outfit really sparked my imagination. I spent countless hours creating elaborate stories and acting them out. (The poor family dog, who was very patient with me riding him bareback.) I become immersed in my own little  world . . . and was inspired to AD-horses-book-cropped write my first book about the Wild West! (Even then I was a horrible speller, but alas, Crayolas didn’t come with Spell-Check. I took many years of kidding about ‘horeses’ from my family.) I guess what I’m getting at is that present triggered a passion. The West gave way to Regency England, but my love for losing myself in my own make-believe world and spinning stories with people and events that came to life in my own little brain was a gift that stayed with me for a lifetime. I’m forever grateful for that beribboned box that held a pint-size ten gallon hat and fancy boots.

So how about you? What’s the most memorable gift you ever received? And did you ever get one that sparked a lifelong interest in something? 

Happy Holidays, everyone! May you all have a happy and healthy 2011.