Gather around children and let me tell you a story of a Christmas long since passed. The year was 1991 and I was eleven years old. It was that magical white time of year when all a kid my age could think of was snowball fights, playing video games, and Christmas morning. You see children, 1991 was not just any other goofy year. Oh no, 1991 was the year the Super Nintendo came out and I was sure that come December 25th, my chubby butt would be glued to a television playing that sleek, grey piece of gaming heaven.
I’m sorry kid, Nintendo is hoarding all of the Wii’s this year. How about a Playstation 3 instead?
As the countdown to Christmas began, the yearly rituals were gone though. Santa’s lap had been sat upon, letters had been mailed, and the right people had been told of my Yuletide desires. No, I did not believe in Santa but I believed in the wrath of my parents who said that if I spoiled Christmas for my little brother, the SNES was going to be but a figment of my misguided imagination. There was too much at stake this Christmas, introducing my brother to the cruel deceit of the world would have to wait one more year. I knew what I wanted and I had to keep my eye on the prize.
What exactly did I want? This is a good question and one worth answering. I wanted it all; I wanted the Super Nintendo, Super Mario World, Pilot Wings, and a television of my own to play it on. I knew I was asking a lot but I also knew that I had not been as much of a pest as I had been previous years and I deserved this. This was the year for me to take Christmas and sculpt it to perfection; I could already smell the new plastic of my Super Nintendo. It would soon be mine.
By the time Christmas Eve rolled around, I was basically wetting myself in anticipation. As was tradition, I had already thrown up twice due to working myself into a pre-C Day frenzy…and having eaten a lot of Reese’s Chocolate and Peanut Butter Christmas Trees. Christmas Eve dinner came and went and I got to open my one Christmas Eve present. It must have been clothing because I don’t remember what it was. The one thing about Christmas Eve that I do remember is being all but assured by my parents that come the following morning, I would be blissfully making Mario ride Yoshi through level after level of 16bit, side-scrolling glee. Morning was mere hours away.
The hours between midnight and 6am were dreadful. I got so excited I got into a coughing fit and threw up again. I went back to sleep only to awaken at 3am to be told by my parents that it was way too early to open gifts. The next thing I knew it was 5am and I was yelling to my parents that now was definitely a fine time for present unwrapping. I was told to wait at least one more hour. The minutes were torture and I could hear Mario calling out to me. He was so close but I couldn’t free him, I shuddered as that doughy Italian plumber called out to me, half an hour to go.
Finally, the hour was upon me. My time had come and there was nothing that could go wrong with the day. After waiting for another hour for my grandparents to arrive and my dad to shower, my brother and I ran into the living room where the Christmas tree stood tall, besieged by presents. Sweet, glorious Christmas!
The present opening commenced and the first thing I tore into looked like it could be a game. After about .025 seconds of unwrapping, I was staring at Mario, happily astride his new-found friend, Yoshi. Next were Mario pajamas and Pilot Wings and then, some more clothes. After the useless clothing had been tosses aside, I wildly scanned the paper strewn battlefield, searching for the SNES I knew to be among the parcels waiting to be torn asunder. Nothing. I looked on the other side of the tree, the dark side, still nothing. I went behind the couch, under the table, into the kitchen, still no Super Nintendo. As I frantically scoured the area, I caught snippets of whisper that asked, “You did remember to get it… didn’t you?” This couldn’t be happening, I had been good, I had asked the right people, and I had been specific in my desires. Most importantly, my brother was still in awe that Santa got him everything he wanted and snuck it into the house without him knowing. I held up my end of the bargain, where was my Super Nintendo?!
By this point, I was inconsolable. Tears flowed freely down my cheeks and I had concluded that God could not exist in a world this cruel. I had all of the puzzle pieces, save the most important one. How could this happen to me on Christmas? I gazed heart-broken at my mother who was giggling at me. She was laughing at me. I looked at my dad and he was shaking his head and calling me a cry baby. How could they be so mean to me? It was at this point that my grandpa said, “Oh jeez, just give it to him already.” What did he mean, had he gone senile already? With that my mom said, “If you are going to be a boob, jut go cry in your room and don’t ruin Christmas for the rest of us. We made a mistake and we are sorry. We will get your Nintendo tomorrow.”
I couldn’t take it anymore and I stormed to my room, betrayed. When I reached my bedroom door, I knew something was amiss. My bed had been moved over slightly, but why? I nudged my door open a little wider and then I saw it, a TV sitting on a small entertainment center and directly below the TV was a Super Nintendo, expectantly waiting for a cartridge to be dropped into it. Maybe Santa exists after all. Merry Christmas and if you don’t celebrate it, have a good few days off with your family and friends!