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It’s time to celebrate the Christmas/ Chanukah/ Kwanza/ Festivus Holiday season, so all around Cinema Blend we’re enjoying Twelve Days of Christmas. Yes, we know traditionally the “12 days” start with Christmas, but we plan on being celebrated out by that time, so we’re pushing the twelve days leading up to the holiday.

Here in Blend Games we’re celebrating by counting down by reliving some of our favorite holiday gaming memories, in an effort to boost your Christmas spirit. There’s nothing quite like finding a new game console under the tree. So without further ado:

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

A Lesson In Gift Giving From The Master

Wandering downstairs Christmas morning, stumbling on half-awake legs, as a child is one of those rare memories that still make me long for the days when I had no responsibility. The only mission in mind is figuring out which gifts belonged to me, and the throwaways that belonged to my sister. But it was my father’s absolute delight in giving that made each holiday season so memorable.

For as long as I can remember my father insisted on never letting the gift opening process become a banal passage of time prior to playing with fabulous toys. You were never sure if the huge box in the corner held a brand new gaming system, or a small bottle of cologne. And it was the joy of opening gifts, as much as the prize itself that made Christmas morning so special.

One particular year, 1993 to be exact, the man of our house had a devious gift giving idea. I had been a long time owner of Nintendo systems, and for some odd reason decided that I must have the latest in Sega merchandise. As a typical kid, I honestly thought my parents were clueless about the video game market. My father decided to use that against me to teach a very valuable lesson. You never mess with the master of gifting.

That morning I approached my gifts with the same trepidation as in year’s past: “Would I get a Sega CD? Would the games I had asked for be under the tree, or would I instead end up with more Nintendo titles?” I got an answer halfway through the opening process when I opened up a brand new Sega Genesis, followed immediately by Aladdin. Then the bombshell came, and my dad made his first ever gift mistake. I opened Ecco the Dolphin for Sega CD, but had yet to open that system.

Oh the joyful triumph as I realized what a fool my dad had been to give away his coup de grace. I simply turned to him and explained, as only a victorious child can, how the game wouldn’t play on the system he bought and I’d need something else. Glancing at my last box, my dad pushed it over with a slight smile. I savored each rip of that paper as I got to the present I knew was there. To this day I can not remember what was in that box – perhaps a sweater or t-shirt – but I’ll never forget what was not there: a Sega CD system.

Confused I turned to my father who looked abashed at his mistake as he explained he had the receipt for the errant game upstairs and we’d go the next day to get something for my new Genesis. My prized system had been snatched away in a moment, but I knew that he had made an honest mistake. Sure, it was always my mom who left on the price tags or bought the wrong CD. But my dad had to slip up at least once.

Instead of sulking around the house, I hooked up my Genesis and played with the whole family through the first levels of Aladdin until they grew tired. Not only was the game great, but I have fond memories of actually playing a video game with my entire family. That joy was interrupted by a terrifying shriek from upstairs. This was not the scream of a young sister in bliss, but of some poor child being hurt in some horrible way.

Running upstairs I ran into my sister who had tears in her eyes, and she simply said to me, “Go in your room.” I walked past her, noticing that she didn’t look sad, and into my room. There on the bed sat a wrapped gift, and beneath that green paper hid a Sega CD system. My father had done it again, and for the next 15+ years he would never outdo this example of gift giving perfection.

That Sega CD was home to my first true music collection, but not many gaming memories. To the five other people who played through and beat Sewer Shark I say, “Why the hell did we ever ask for this crap?”

Never again would I claim victory on Christmas day over my father. You simply never mess with the master of gift giving.

Read all of Cinema Blend's 12 Days of Christmas features in other sections by clicking here.