As we look back on 2021, there’s plenty to be thankful for—life getting back to normal, quality time with family and friends, and of course—the holidays. For many, last year’s celebrations were scaled back and may not have felt as festive as usual, which is why so many of us are looking forward to making this year extra merry!
If you’re like us, you’re probably excited to experience the joy of giving. While it’s fun to receive presents, nothing beats the feeling of seeing your loved ones smile as they open gifts that you carefully selected, wrapped and saved up for.
And why does giving feel so amazing? Because when we were kids it felt magical to receive the gift we were hoping for. We asked our team to share a favorite holiday gift they received growing up—maybe your favorite is on the list too!
“My favorite gift as a child was a telescope. It helped spur my interest in science and was a great way to observe the wonders of the stars and planets.” -Tom Hileman
“My easy bake oven! I thought it was so cool that I could make my own real food (had plenty of the fake plastic stuff up until that point). I still love baking to this day.” -Stephanie Fontana
“My favorite toys were my Barbie dolls because I loved creating imaginary worlds and getting lost in the stories I would write for the ‘characters.’ ” -Colleen Eschweiler
“I remember as a kid getting a set of Lincoln Logs. I was so excited to be able to build forts for my GI Joes to later destroy in a battle with Cobra Command.” – Kyle Chandler
“When my brother and I were 8 we got a Nintendo 64 for Christmas with Mario Kart. It was probably my favorite gift because since we moved around a lot, it gave my brother and I something to bond over while we were still making friends in our new schools. Countless games and years later, he and I will always come back together for a game of Super Smash Brothers or Mario Kart when we are home for Christmas. We both live in different states and don’t get to see each other a ton because of it, but video game time is our time, and I love that. Now the verbiage might be a little different in the insults we throw back and forth from when we were kids, but we still sit down and play those games together.” -Kate Penrod
Some employees also shared stories not about packages under the tree, but special memories with loved ones, which are another kind of gift of their own:
“My fiancé set up a surprise facetime with all my friends. It was during Covid so I couldn’t see people in person but it was great connecting with everyone virtually.” -Andrew Josephs
“When I was a kid, starting on December 23rd, I would sleep in my sister's room because we were so excited for Christmas Day. We would make a big blanket fort in her room and sleep on the floor. We would sleep there for two nights. Then on Christmas Day, we would wake up early, like 7am and quietly walk to the stairs. My sister Emma would ALWAYS have to walk in front of me, she said she HAD to be the first one to see if there were presents under the tree. So we would slowly creep down the stairs to see if Santa came last night, and lo and behold, there they were: gifts under the tree and half eaten carrots from the reindeer. That memory of those sleepovers has always stuck with me. They were fun.” -Tessa Miceli
As we cherish old holiday memories and look forward to making new ones, we’ll always find plenty to celebrate! Have a safe and jolly holiday season and a Happy New Year!