Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Gifts Keep Getting Smaller

Most of you probably remember Christmas and birthdays as a child.

Part of the childhood magic was in seeing the gifts before you opened them.

Having two brothers, there was almost a contest, an Olympic if you will.

There were only two medals, "biggest gift" and "most gifts." That was the way you judged if this was going to be a great holiday or a "I can't believe you ruined my life" holiday.

I remember sneaking downstairs on Christmas at 2:00 a.m. to groggily see what this year's haul looked like. My brothers, unprompted by me, used to join me near the tree only minutes later.

In one of those loud whispers, you would shake the medium sized boxes declaring it was Legos and would kick the small packages out of the way to get to that one or two large boxes in the back of the tree.

We would need Nick's skeleton arms to reach through the sharp, dried pine needles to sort of maneuver the box around so I could see the name. "Ugggh, it's Brett. Brett gets the big one. I'm going back to bed." I'd slam a shot of milk from my Superman glass and go to bed feeling like I had just gotten a pile of coal.

Birthdays were the same. I sat cross legged on the living room carpet waiting for my parents to bring the gifts out. It was as much of a full on Olympic festival as Christmas was, but it was at least an event. I would take stock within the three minutes the gifts entered the room and I started opening them and know which medal I had won.

It's hard to take stock anymore.

Before, the large boxes usually presented as a bike or the Death Star play-set. Now, you're sent emails with digital codes, unwrap gift cards, or at best you might get a tablet. (That gift size was maybe worth 5/10 points in the old Olympics.)

As a side note, remember when you could only buy gift cards at the actual place? Now I'm grocery shopping and buying a Gamestop gift card for my imaginary nephew.

Does it take a little bit of the magic out of these childhood days? There's something less majestic about a Christmas film that pans across the fake Christmas tree with 30 iPod sized boxes underneath.

Maybe this Christmas I'll wrap Sallie's gifts in much larger boxes, just to see if it feels different.