Same Gift, Different Year

Every year of her life, our 15-yr-old daughter has received a sled for Christmas. It’s a staple. It’s just part of Christmas at our house. Without a doubt, every year, she knows she will come downstairs on Christmas morning and find a sled. She has quite a collection now.

Did any member of your family receive a yearly  gift?

When I was growing up, we always knew, without a doubt, there would be an electric train for my brother under the tree on Christmas morning. And Santa never failed. There were countless trains, but the best ones were the ones with a fat power box with a switch that just made them go forward or backward, fast or slow.

For whatever reason, it was always the most popular gift in the family. What’s so entertaining about watching a train go in a circle? But there was something about it. I think we set up little people at different “stations” around the track and pretended we were picking up the people or cargo when we made stops.

While I don’t remember the all the details of how we played, I know we played with those trains a lot…on Christmas Day.

Usually, about halfway through the afternoon, we’d smell something burning. The first couple of years, we weren’t quick to identify it, but later, we knew right away…the control box was on its last leg. It was an electrical “fire” we were smelling…inside the overheated control box, and we knew the fun of the train was almost over. It usually happened when Daddy was playing with it, but he would never admit it. As adults, we laugh about how he enjoyed the train more than any of us.

Fortunately for our daughter, a sled doesn’t cause electrical fires. And most Christmas mornings in Charlotte, there’s no snow, so no one even touches the sled that day.

But when it finally snows, it’s always the most popular gift in the house!

Because my husband and I grew up in south Alabama, we didn’t have the opportunity to go sledding when we were growing up. In fact, when my family moved into one house, my brother and I found a couple of sleds that had been left by the previous owners. We had a big, tree-filled hill behind our house, and since we rarely had snow, we would go “leaf sledding.” We’d “sled” down that leaf-covered hill, dodging trees along the way. It was fun (and dangerous), but it wasn’t snow sledding.

Sure, you can visit ski resorts, but there is nothing as much fun as “home snow.” There’s nothing like racing down the neighborhood hills on sleds in the snow…with all the neighborhood kids. We know that now, because now that I live in North Carolina, we get to go sledding. We buy lots of junk food and hot chocolate mix beforehand, and we invite friends over…young and old…and we go sledding. Our daughter now has a big collection of sleds, so there are plenty to go around, but you know what happens…we all want to take a turn (or two) on the new sled.

Generally speaking, my husband stays out for about 15 minutes. I’ll stay out for an hour or two. Our daughter stays out all day with friends. She always knows our sledding time will be short, so she doesn’t mind letting us take the new sled for a trip or two down the hill.

This year, she’ll get another sled. It’s supposed to be even faster than the super-fast one she got last year, which was faster than the super-fast one she got the year before.

And we’ll wait for snow…

***If you’re interested in a toy train for someone in your family this year, Amazon has an assortment. You can shop here. I’m not in the market for one, but if I were, I’d probably purchase this one. They also have an assortment of sleds here.***

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