December 25, 2010
My earliest Christmas memory is 1985. I was six years old, still believed in Santa Claus, and like my older sister, I was on the receiving end of plenty of gifts that I never would’ve thought to ask for.
This particular Christmas, I had asked for a cassette of Soul Kiss, of all things. I had seen a video on HBO of a song from the album, and somehow my parents were able to figure out how to get that specific tape, which I hadn’t asked for by title. So it was in my stocking. No big deal.
Then my Dad did something strange. He insisted my sister and I go back to our rooms and get dressed for the day. We were annoyed, as Christmas means pajamas until church, but after getting gifts, you don’t want to seem ungrateful.
I heard my sister scream first, all the way from her room on the top of the stairs. Somewhere along the way, Dad had sneaked into her room and set up a television. I ran up and screamed along with her, probably thinking that now we could watch TV in there together. I doubt that’s what she was thinking.
So I go and get dressed, and come back out into the living room. Everybody’s staring at me with anticipation. I’m flummoxed. “Did you see what was in your room?” I went back in. Somehow I’d missed a brand new stereo system that was right on the nightstand. Two tape decks and a record player. What could be better?
Looking back at that Christmas, I realize how those two gifts shaped the interests of my sister and me. She remains a steadfast television buff, and still watches it in her bedroom all of the time. For me, two trademarks of my personality were firmly established: my love for listening to music, and my complete obliviousness to my surroundings.
What are your Christmas morning music memories?