FW Presents – Find Your Christmas Joy

Just in time for the holiday season, Shag, Rob, Chris, and Max share stories of Great Christmases Past!

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15 responses to “FW Presents – Find Your Christmas Joy

  1. Wow, what a nice conversation that was full of nostalgia. I happened to be wrapping Christmas presents at the time I was watching it and it was a perfect accompaniment.

    Being juuuuuust slightly younger than most of you, I didn’t start getting Star Wars toys until just before Jedi came out, so I missed the Death Star playset. But because my Uncle Lou bought all these huge playsets for myself, my cousin, and my sister (we called him the “toy king”), I had a number of the big pieces from the Jedi line. I remember that the Imperial Shuttle was one of my favorites because it was just enormous and pretty accurate as far as what I saw in the movie. I had some pretty awesome MOTU and G.I. Joe sets as well, and I think that if you looked at my toy closet from when I was a kid, you would have thought I had Rob Kelly money, but I just had the benefit of a very large extended family during the height of 1980s childhood. Unfortunately, all of those toys were given to charity or the kids across the street and I wound up only holding on to a few figures here and there. But considering I don’t think I’d have the space for a toy collection, that’s probably not a bad thing.

    Loved some of the Christmas stories as well. I keep trying to think of some myself, but for some reason, I’m blanking on a particularly good one to share that involves me (I have one about my sister’s reaction to getting a Cabbage Patch Kid, but that’s more her story than mine). I also don’t remember when I discovered Santa isn’t real.

    I remember when I found out how babies were made, though. Not sure what that says about me.

    Happy Holidays!

  2. Thanks for a great show, definitely bringing me back.

    We opened our gifts on Christmas Eve. But Santa came so that there was still loot on Christmas morning. Like Chris, Santa didn’t wrap.

    I came from humble beginnings so I didn’t get a ton of stuff. So when I did get something major, it was eye-opening and truly memorable. I can remember begging for a Shogun Warrior and Santa brought me the Great Mazinga, the one I wanted! (Mom and Dad must have been listening!) It was such a big deal. I wish I knew what happened to that thing!

    I occasionally got comics as well, but always weird loose ones which I think probably came in cheap three packs. Never DC or Marvel. Always Gold Key! But one year I did get the Superman 30s to 70s hardcover. And that I do still have to this day. That was where I first learned about the Sand Superman, my avatar everywhere on the internet!

    But the part of this show that struck me was hearing about Max’s watch. I know the exact watch he was talking about because I can remember dropping many many hints to just about everyone how much I wanted it. Alas, I did not get it. So good on you Max!

    1. The “unwrapped presents from Santa” tradition was something my wife’s parents did, so we decided to do it when we had our son. My parents had two traditions: making us take a picture at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning and always wrapping various sundries in our stockings. I’m not kidding when I say I used to get a toothbrush for Christmas every year.

  3. Ah, the holiday sentiment is strong in this nostalgia-fueled episode! It was so great hearing your various stories of memories from past Christmases. We Gen Xers truly grew up in a Golden Age of toys brought on by Star Wars and that has yet to be repeated.

    Although I was only two years old when Star Wars came out, I also received the Death Star playset one year for Christmas. I know it was a gift from “Santa” only because of family pictures, but I remember playing with it and all my other Star Wars toys. However, I don’t think I really came into my own with action figures until the release of Masters of the Universe. I clearly remember the Christmas I received my Castle Grayskull playset along with various He-man action figures, including Battle Cat.

    But, the most magical Christmas I had was in 1984. That was the year I got into the Super Powers toys and started collecting them that summer, saving money where I could to buy the figures as I found them at local toy shops and department stores. The first one I got was Robin, the only figure left on the display, at the local Woolworth’s. And he was soon followed by Aquaman and Green Lantern found at a nearby Ames. I won’t bore you with too many more details, but I can remember the order in which I received all the pieces of that first Super Powers run and where I got tbem.

    It culminated in that Christmas of 1984 when I received the Batmobile from my grandmother on Christmas Eve, the Hall of Justice from “Santa” on Christmas Day, and then the last two action figures I needed (Brainiac and the Penguin) that afternoon from my other grandmother. That was the first time I had ever completed a collection of an entire toyline, and it felt damn good.

    Plus, the DC super heroes just sparked my imagination in ways that other toys did not because, I think, the serial, ongoing adventures in the comics allowed more room for different kinds of adventures, unlike Star Wars that seemed to me to be finite and enclosed. I was that weird child who felt it was strange to have Obiwan Kenobi go on new adventures with Luke and Han when he had died in the film. As for my MotU toys, I could have new adventures with those toys, but the story possibilities were limited to the fantasy realm of Eternia. With the Super Powers, I could tell any kind of story I wanted, and I could make them fit into any play location I came across. But, that has always been the beauty of comic book super heroes.

    Yeah, I was a continuity freak even as a child. No wonder I was so lonely and socially awkward. Haha!

    Thanks again for another great episode, guys! It really got me into the holiday spirit.

  4. Gents –

    This was a fantastic and enjoyable episode. It brought about such good memories of my childhood and in particular I am feeling it more this year because of COVID and my dad passing away last year. Christmas was a major thing in my household and taken very seriously. My dad had to have the best tree (blue spruce), he and my mom were the only ones that decorated it which took hours. my dad put up blue lights around the house “and not those twinkling lights which are commercial!” . My mom made stollen every year which seemed to be an elaborate bread. My dad was German and my mom Dutch so we got to open our presents on Christmas eve. I would go to sleep at 7:00 AM (“sleep” I was just pretending to) and then they would wake me up and all the presents would be there. I ALWAYS wanted a Death Star or Millennium falcon. I never got one. I got a Sandcrawler set, which I guess they felt it was similar. It was just a cardboard backing with a plastic elevator and a plastic base. Which to be honest, it was very similar to the film production set Sandcrawler which was a one-sided facade. They also got me action figures which were the peg warmers. Maybe the major figures were sold out? I wanted a C3PO so bad and they got me a Fisher Price Adventure People Black Clawtron Robot. Which I pretended it was C3PO’s cousin. Looking back at it now, all the peg warmers and the Clawtron were cooler than what I wanted. Maybe my dad took his objective opinion when he was getting them for me? He was majorly into science fiction. In any case, that Sandcrawler was my favorite toy, followed by a BB gun when I lived in Texas. I was 8 years old with a gun, what could go wrong? Yes I almost shot my eye out while target practice. The third best Christmas present was a Sears Atari 2600. That was so cool when I got it, even though I was the last kid to get one. My mom was into collecting antiques and I remember she was telling me I should keep all my Star Wars toys in pristine condition because I would be able to sell them for a lot of money one day. I should have listened! Although, they should have gotten me duplicates on MOC and one to play.

    So thank you again for the trip down memory lane. Highly enjoyable. I think we all can agree we would all have gone to Rob’s house because he had the best Star Wars toys. 🙂

  5. I never had the Millennium Falcon or Death Star play set. The biggest Star Wars toy I had was an X-wing fighter. Fortunately, my best friend had both of them. I particularly liked the Death Star’s trash compactor room, with the foam pieces and dianoga figure. I thought it was so cool to see the creature attached to the eye stalk from the movie.

    One favorite childhood Christmas memory is when I received a vaguely Vader-looking black plastic helmet and red plastic lightsaber. The saber had some kind of baffle in it, which made a humming noise when you swung it through the air.

    When I was older (i.e., middle school/high school), my parents occasionally got me a big box of assorted Marvel comics, published in the preceding year, for Christmas. I loved this, because I was pretty focused in my comic book collecting, and those comics gave a chance to see what else was going on in the Marvel universe.

    Thank you for sharing all of your Christmas memories.

  6. Loved hearing your Christmas stories. I am with Shagg in having never owned the Millennium Falcon. I so wanted that toy but my Mum explained that parents had to pay Santa for the presents he bought so he couldn’t get it for me as she couldn’t afford to pay him. I remember being particularly bitter that a friend (Andrew) who didn’t even like Star Wars got one from his Grandparents and it was damaged because he didn’t take care of it.

    I did eventually get one of the speed bikes from Return of the Jedi which exploded when you pressed the button at the back so you could recreate the chase scene. That was really cool.

    My favourite geek-related Christmas present is a story I have told before. I got money amongst my presents in 1987 and on 30th December I cycled to the newsagent I bought my marvel comics from and for the first time they had DC comics all from the Millennium crossover. I got 16 DC comics and was in love with the DC Universe. I cannot remember who gave me that money but I cherished those comics.

  7. This was a great episode and I loved the nostalgic trip down memory (candy cane) lane. I totally identified with all the Star Wars Christmas stories. I know one Christmas, I got a Tie Fighter and a Snow Speeder and I would run around the house with them. I believe the Tie Fighter had pop off battle damage wings so I was always having that Snow Speeder shoot at the Tie Fighter (no problems with continuity for me!).

    I also, painfully, identified with everyone’s stories on RPG game boxes. The sheer hope in getting one of those starter boxes is almost heart breaking when I look back on it. I had the Marvel RPG that just sat there. I now have kids that I can subject…ummm, I mean play these games with.

    As much as I enjoyed all the stories, surely that silly putty story of Max’s was the best! I’m glad that it has become a great memory of Christmas and didn’t just stop at you thinking you were going to die!

    From the House of Franklinstein and now the multiple Christmas shows on the network, what’s the next holiday tradition that will get it’s own show? I vote for Comic-Con week! I mean, I treat that week like it’s a holiday……

    Well done everyone and keep up the great work!

  8. As everyone else has said, GREAT episode…I felt like I was in a room with all of you.
    I had received a Lionel locomotive set when I was 5 years old, 1970. My Dad had already set up the tracks on a huge piece of plywood. No buildings, but I was creative with boxes and odds and ends and made my own. I had this set for many years, and one Christmas, I got Mego Batman and Robin. Didn’t matter to me that they were too big in scale for the train set…that table became Gotham City!! I made a small Wayne Manor on top of the papier-mache tunnel in the corner, and underneath the table was the batcave…a few boxes with various pieces to double as the crime computer, etc. Again, all was out of proportion, but it doesn’t matter when you’re that young. Thanks for letting me share.

  9. Such a fun conversation! I never had Dungeons and Dragons, myself, but I could definitely relate to the conversation about having role playing games, but no one to play them with. Before I got out of high school, I must have had two different versions of the FASA Star Trek role-playing game (including several of the sourcebooks) and “Time Lord,” a book-based Doctor Who role-playing game, none of which I really got to use for their intended purposes! I still have them all, and have only since played one of the Star Trek ones with another human being… and that maybe once.

    I did, however, get to play the Ghostbusters: International role-playing game once, and as the game master, even! That game was my brother’s, and I think I was only playing with him and my sister, but I did manage to put together a Samhain-based story to use with it (shout-out to your recent episode of Saturday Morning Fever).

  10. The Mangler reference got me. I’d forgotten all about that thing, but I’m pretty sure that my brother had one when we first started hanging out on the odd weekend. The description of the flattened cardboard foe and the foam mouth really sent me back on the drive home.

  11. A lovely episode all around. What’s most amazing to me is how all your memories are so vivid! I honestly can’t recall any specific gift I received on any Christmas morning. It was the usual assortment of toys, action figures, & video games plus lots of Star Wars from the 1970s & 1980s but I honestly couldn’t say what I got for Xmas when I was 10 (or 40 for that matter). I do recall the anticipation that Christmas was coming & watching the TV specials but it all kind of blurs together now. This year we’re forgoing the tree & decorations.

    I’m sure if you have kids it’s fun to see the holidays from their innocent perspective.

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