Saturday, November 29, 2008

The twenty-five year Christmas Gift

Most Christmas gifts have a few month lifespan, especially toys. 
The Barbie dollhouse? Don't remember what happened to that.
Cinderella's castle? Ditto. 
The Cinderella princess tent? We probably destroyed that one. 

But there was one Christmas present that endured for 25 years. 
The Care Bear Kitchen set. 

I don't really remember this, except through pictures, but apparently I really wanted this toy. It was like my version of "Tickle Me, Elmo" or whatever.  I was probably about 4 and I wanted this toy with some sort of greed, let me tell you. Now, given that in my four years of Santa Experience, he had never let me down, I was pretty sure I would find it in our family room come Christmas. 

So that morning I head downstairs and being ripping into the presents. I figure that this toy would have to be assembled, but I didn't really think about that. As I was doing my thing my parents were helping Bryan with his Christmas toys (he was only about 1 or so). 

As the packages thinned, it dawned on me that the kitchen set was not there. As in, it hadn't appeared. I hadn't gotten it. The polaroid of this moment shows me in my Strawberry Shortcake pajamas, looking very, very sad. Like my best friend had died sad. 

That was until my dad opened the doors to the basement. 

Now our basement in this house was small and oddly shaped. The stairs dead-ended into a wall and you had to turn left for any sort of open space. So my dad led me down because, you know, these are dark stairs and I'm not going down them alone. 

And there, lo and behold, on the dark red carpet, is the kitchen set.  A "fridge" with the Care Bears painted on the doors and a stove, with the bears painted on the backsplash. Of course there were also various food and kitchen products (non-care bear). W

I was in heaven. I loved this thing. The second polaroid shows me in mid-jump as I discovered that Santa had not abandoned me after all. 

Well this set lasted many, many moons. The stove part met its death in the early 1990s, but the fridge (which was really a few shelves covered by the door) lasted a very, very long time. The door was removed and it became a set of book shelves.  It has been in our basement since we moved to the house, in May of 1990. 

When I came over to the house this year, on Thanksgiving, I noticed it had reached Its End and was piled at the curb, next to the Trash Can. 

So many Christmas toys that you are dying to have disappear without a trace. But this kitchen set endured and gave us many years of faithful service. That can't be said for a lot of toys. 

I salute the Care Bear Kitchen Set. 

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