February 18, 2020

Christmas Mornings of the Past

No other time of the year holds more nostalgic memories for me than Christmas.  All my life – from a kid, up through today – I spend all year long looking forward to this time of year and making plans to make it as special as possible for my kids.  The climax of the whole season is Christmas morning itself.  That magical time of the year when you get up really early and rush to the Christmas tree to see what Santa Claus has left for you.

It seems that Christmas morning is kind of a tally sheet for the year, doesn’t it?  Like, as a kid, you had all these things you wanted all year, and all those wishes would culminate in that one single morning.  If you got a lot of loot or very cool loot, your year was a success.  If not, well…better luck next year kid.  At least that’s the way it went in my mind all those years ago.  I had a few of what I thought were less-than-stellar Christmas mornings, but then 1986 came along and changed all of that.

Nowadays, I like to look back on different people’s Christmas mornings of years past and marvel at how cool it must have been to be in their shoes on those mornings so long ago.

Christmas Morning

So first up, this kid looks pretty pleased to have gotten the GoBots Command Center playset under his tree on Christmas morning.  I was a big fan of the GoBots cartoon, but only ever had two of the action figures…Loco and Dive-Dive.  Now while I wish I had more of the figures and would have loved the Command Center, I never put it on any of my Christmas lists because it wouldn’t have been very much fun without a lot of the action figures to go along with it.

In the background on his right, someone has gotten some kind of G.I. Joe playset, because we can clearly see the opened box.  I’ve gotta take a few points away from this kid now knowing that he chose to pose with the GoBots toy when he could have been posing with the G.I. Joe one instead.

I can’t really tell what his brother is holding in the background, but just in front of it is a nice looking piece of gold ribbon, which indicates their Christmas presents were probably well wrapped and made for a very nice presentation.  And I am almost certain, that on the far right of this photo, you can see what is the box of a G.I. Joe Cobra Rattler!

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that these kids had a pretty damn good Christmas.  A GoBots playset, and a couple of G.I. Joe toys meant a big Christmas morning, regardless of what other loot they may have found.

Man, these kids really hit the jackpot!  You can clearly see a buffet of G.I. Joe playsets including the Cobra Rattler, Cobra Vamp, G.I. Joe Wolverine, and the G.I. Joe Dragonfly helicopter!  I don’t see any carded figures in the picture, but one can only assume these kids already have several of those.  I’m sure there was quite a battle fought between the Joes and Cobra later on this Christmas day.


While this kid looks happy to have received the legendary Castle Grayskull, he doesn’t seem excited enough.  When I got my Castle Grayskull I ran around the living room shouting and jumping for joy.  I just don’t see that kind of enthusiasm pouring out of this kid.  It looks like there is a stack of boxes in the background that clothes are usually given in, so his senses may be dulled at the moment by opening all of those crappy presents before getting to the main event.


I bet these kids had one long, and awesome Christmas day filled with video game fun since they got the Atari Video Computer System that morning.  I just hope they got some cool games to go along with it.  I believe my brother had gotten his Atari for Christmas, but not I’m not sure as I can’t quite remember back that far.  But I do remember spending whole days playing it with him.

The one kid in this photo is handing off what looks to be a camera maybe?  I’m thinking that due to what appears to be one of those old flashes that used to be on every camera.  Speaking of flashes, am I the only one who always loved the look of the long stack of flashcubes attached to the top of cameras from back in this time period?

So these three kids all look like they got exactly what they wanted for Christmas judging by the looks on their faces.  That poor dog in the arms of the little girl looks like he’s having a rough morning though.  I’d be willing to bet he was forced to play tea party or something with the girl and her new stuffed dog toy.

The kid in the cool red pajamas looks pretty badass on his new big wheel.  The particular one he is astride is the quite popular and sought after “Green Machine”.  That thing was pretty awesome due to its alternative steering versus tradition big wheel toys.

And the kid in the middle…the one after my own heart…holding up with pride his new set of Legos!  That would be the iconic Galaxy Explorer set.  My brother had that thing and I was never allowed to touch it.  What a douche.  Anyway, these kids look like they had a great day, and many days after that too thanks to the cool stuff they got for Christmas that year.

You can get a scaled-down version of that cool space cruiser along with the book, Great Lego Sets:  A Visual History.  It is a fantastic look back at a lot of the most popular and well-remembered Lego sets of the ’80s and ’90s.  I highly recommend it.

I may do more of these Christmas morning photos next week, so check back then.  But you don’t have to wait that long for more retro Christmas content.  I’ve got more fun stuff coming up between now and the big day, so visit often!


  • Brian Cave

    One of the only Christmas memories I have from being a kid was getting the board game Fireball Island and the Transformer Doubledealer in the same day. I wish I had pictures from that day. What a fantastic Christmas that was!

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