When I was a kid, I used to ask for the usual stuff- a bike, dolls, games, crayons. I loved crayons. Unfortunately I used to love to go into my closet and draw on the walls so I hardly ever got them.
So crayons were like the Holy Grail of Christmas gifts to me.
On the occasional Christmas morning there they’d be- they came in these little buckets and there’d be a hundred different colors.
I’d pop the lid off and breathe in that waxy crayon smell and set them down right next to me in a place of honor as I opened my other gifts.
” She can’t draw” various members of my family would say when they saw that bucket of crayons.
Now in defense of my family- I couldn’t draw. I sucked on epic levels at drawing. I could almost manage color books- but I always colored outside of the lines and the colors I chose never worked together so the pictures would look like a disjointed mess.
My Mom would be giving me the hairy eyeball. We had this deal. Santa would bring me crayons if I didn’t go into the closets and draw on the walls.
I thought I kept that promise for weeks- my Mom insists it was more like hours.
Anyway, it was my Aunt who pointed out that it was sort of funny the way I’d take my crayons, go into the closet and draw on the walls in the dark.
Before the air ran out.
” That’s dedication to art.” my Aunt said.
I guess that’s one way to look at it.
I think I was around eight when I asked for my first homemade gift.
I asked for a Shrunken Head kit.
I had heard loads of stories from my family about Head Hunters in the South Pacific- in fact to this day I find it interesting how vast their knowledge of Headhunting and cannibalism was.
All I know is that to this day the knowledge turned out to be solid and I’ve used it in my writing.
Yeah. I know. Weird.
So at this point it shouldn’t surprise you I got Vincent Price Shrunken Head kit from my parents- as you can see on the box, it was sold as a craft for the whole family.
I loved Vincent Price and his movies- my entire family did right along with Liberace, Elvis, Wayne Newton and Little Richard.
My parents thought they’d scored big time with this gift.
” Oh” I said in genuine surprise. ” You make them from apples.”
My Dad leaned down and said right into my face.
” That’s right Anita- YOU make them from apples.”
One Christmas Eve I learned about Krampus from my Grandpa Bert.
He told me Krampus was this Devilish creature with horns and cat’s eyes. He had pointy teeth and carried around chains, sticks and he visited bad kids at Christmas.
When he was done, all I could manage when I could speak was:
” Oh Boy! I’m going to meet Krampus!” I cried out in sheer joy.
My Grandpa Bert laughed and laughed and my Dad ignored him for the rest of the evening.
I stayed up for hours waiting for Krampus.
When I woke up I had a new bike, the mumps and it was snowing.
After that, I wrote letters to Krampus for Christmas.
And he never let me down.
Homemade gifts for Christmas are great.
My family gave me a wonderful homemade gifts every year. They just didn’t realize it at the time.
They gave me wonderful stories to tell.
I can’t thank them enough for that.
I love them all.