Four Decades of Christmas

So far this holiday season, I'm not feeling much Christmas cheer. I'm guessing a lot of that has to do with the weather we've been having here in Central Illinois. Today, for example, it's two days before Christmas and it's rained buckets and pushing 65 degrees. In an effort to get festive, I started going through some old photos thinking I'd share a few from various kid Christmases I'd experienced growing up. What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than to remember times when Christmas was all about fun and not about bills and crappy weather!

As I started going through photos, something occurred to me. In two days, I'll be experiencing my 40th Christmas!

Forty years, man.

So without further ado, here's my most narcissistic blog post ever as I look at how I've evolved over four decades of yuletide joy!


1976. Surprisingly, this was the only year I couldn't come up with a photo of myself at Christmastime. The price I pay for being born second, I suppose.

1977. I got a Ronald McDonald doll. My brother got a Magic 8-Ball and was dressed like a clown.

1978. Tic-Toc-Pop! for me. Pair Ups for my brother.

1979. Plastic bowling and Spider-Man PJs. Matt and his can of Tinker Toys.

1980. Eat your hearts out, Star Wars nerds. I got a Snow Speeder.

And for the record, I would not have known this was a Snow Speeder unless I talked to my old friend and Star Wars aficionado, Matt. Matt likes Full House, too. Thanks, Matt.

1981. Hot Wheels carrying case. My brother in red pants.

1982. I've shared this picture before. Batman PJs, Crayola Caddy, E.T. Colorforms, and a book of Life Savers.

1983. In my sweet E.T. sweatshirt, I'm pretty sure I know what I'm thinking here: "Awesome. An effing sweater."

1984. Boom. Cobra Rattler.

1985. Stompers. I have to admit, I'd pretty much forgotten about Stompers until I found this picture. Now I'll be searching eBay for Stompers.

1986. Apparently pretty amped to have gotten this jacket. Not a Members Only...but not far off.

1987. I got a kid's woodworking set for Christmas. Would you believe that what's left of this set is still in my garage today in the original box?

Shocking, I know.

1988. Yellow and blue sweater for a second year in a row! My feet are screaming Nike Air while I stack Outburst on top of Win Lose or Draw.

1989. For those keeping score at home, that's a cassette copy of Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince's ...And In This Corner. And that's a friendship bracelet on my wrist. Of course, my jeans are acid-washed.

1990. Cubs. Calvin & Hobbes.

UPDATE: Thanks to my cousin Jennifer for pointing out that the blanket on the chair behind me is the same one seen in the 1980 picture!

1991. A phone for my bedroom and an obligatory Bulls hat for my head.

1992. Introducing my stupid high school hair and my awesome Malcolm X shirt as I was starting to establish my own individual identity at this point. You may also notice my shorts in December and a background appearance by my brothers tight-rolled jeans.

1993. Shorts in December again. That hat I'm wearing is a Notre Dame hat which is absolutely a result of my early-90s allegiance to House of Pain.

1994. Oh. Hello, College Tim.

1995. A no-mustache beard, Dennis Rodman jersey, and a Far Side book.

1996. This was the year I discovered blue t-shirts with khakis which I wore almost daily around that time. Also, this was the year I got Jenga, a VCR, and Sleepless in Seattle for Christmas.

1997. The first of many years where I would mark my territory in front of the fireplace at gift-opening time with my family.

1998. Wearing a set of coordinating Gap PJs while I try on a new jacket. I was majoring in history at the time and all history teachers need a tweed jacket. And Gap pajamas.

1999. Back in front of the fireplace for a third year in a row.

On a side note, I just wore that same t-shirt yesterday. Seriously.

2000. My grandma gave me a towel.

2001. Christmas with my Aunt Sylvia who just passed away this year.

2002. Stupid White Men calendar. Since then, I've come to realize that despite his liberal views (most of which I actually agree with), Michael Moore is three things himself: stupid, white, and a man.

2003. I bought a camcorder and recorded a bunch of stuff that year. More importantly, there's my Bigfoot coffee mug on the floor that I still use today. Oh, and this was also my first married Christmas.

2004. New nephew. New X-Ecutioners shirt.

2005. Nephew a little older. Me a little fatter.

2006. Got a saw for Christmas. Apparently I should have asked for a clean hat instead.

2007. My UCLA sweatshirt makes an appearance for the second consecutive year.

A few days removed from my twin nieces being born, my brother and I sported our dark beards. Pretty sure we're both mostly gray now.

2008. Oh, hey. I'm a dad now, too.

This was also the last Christmas we had with my mom.

Effing cancer.

2009. Crowning a princess. I miss those socks.

2010. A dad of two by this point, my girls picked out this candy cane for me. It is currently on top of the refrigerator because my son cannot understand that it's not a sword.

2011. A pretty good chance I was a few rounds of "Christmas cheer" into my day when this picture was taken of me watching the Knicks on TV.

2012. Easily the best Santa I've ever met. My kids were not impressed though.

Had three kids by this point. Not sure why #3 wasn't in this shot.

2013. This was the year I realized I had married into a family of jerks after I fell asleep at the in-law's Christmas gathering.

I like those jerks though.

2014. Feeling old. Feeling tired.

2015. ???

So did it work? Do I feel festive after looking through forty years of Christmas photos?

Yeah. A little bit.

But more than that, I feel lucky. Really lucky.

Merry Christmas.


the sandwich life said...

how often do I read your blog and then merely comment "I love you."?

I love you.

Merry Christmas to you and Amy and the kids, from all of us!

TL said...

:) Much love to you and your family as well! Merry Christmas!

Rob O'Hara said...

Tim, this was a great post, and a great collection of photographs. I have pictures from probably two-thirds of my 43 Christmases and you nailed it -- when going back through them, I feel extremely fortunate, grateful, and lucky.

For what it's worth I really liked the "tight-rolled jeans" fad. I wore mine with those big, puffy white Converse high-tops. I miss those, too. Of all the things that have come back, I'm still waiting on these.

Merry belated Christmas to you and yours, Tim.

TL said...

And to you as well, Rob! And for what it's worth, I miss my red and white Converse high tops sometimes, too.