It’s Christmas Eve, but it’s not too late. There’s still time to pick up a few things for your kids. And no, I’m not talking about the Wii controller, the latest Xbox game, the flatscreen TV, or the new laptop. I’m talking about the gifts that will make memories for years; the gifts your kids will really appreciate when they get older.
My best presents weren’t the Legos or the Gameboy or the sweatshirt. As I look back on my childhood Christmases, my favorite gifts were the ones that forced me outside. I remember the Nerf football, spongy and shining out of the box, that survived hundreds of sessions of pick-up football in the cul-de-sac until finally it was nothing more than a bare block of foam. It’s paint gone from all those incompletions scraping off the asphalt, it’s shape altered by the times the neighbor’s dog got a hold of it.
I remember the hockey sticks for my brother and the goalie pads for me. Gifts that turned our driveway into an imaginary rink. Gifts that transformed my brother into the overtime goal scorer, and me into the netminder who preserved a shutout with his spectacular glove save. Believe it or not, that hockey gear is still in my parents’ garage, and still gets use from time to time. Simple gifts that gave me my favorite times with my brother and inspired in me a love of hockey that I still possess today.