As I get older, Christmas present ideas change

I should start this column off by saying I am only 27.

I definitely have many Christmases ahead, but I have already noticed a change of how I view Christmas from even 10 to 15 years ago. In fact, I've noticed my approach to Christmas has been about the same for the last three or four years.

The last few years I have had trouble coming up with Christmas present ideas for my family. Granted, my mom starts asking me what I want for Christmas at the beginning of November, but even when I was younger, I knew what I wanted for Christmas back in September or October already. Now I can barely muster decent ideas by the beginning of December.

So far, my list includes repair to one of my two watches that I haven't worn in two years, well, because they are broken and the batteries are dead, or a new, slightly used couch, since I currently don't own one but my roommates do. That's my list. With three weeks of thinking, well I haven't exactly been straining myself to come up with ideas; those are the two things I have come up with.

Thankfully this is 2010 and we live in a world where I think even the city council of Vermillion offers gift cards, so those are always ideas from the various businesses around the town. Sure helps with the gas or grocery money.

But as I struggle for ideas now, I remember back of how easy it was to come up with ideas when I was a kid. Going back into the way back machine, well for me, the first gifts I remember getting where a combination of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers. I remember being completely excited and I think I didn't put down those toys all day I bet. I mean, come on, TMNT was at the top of its game back then.In a Christmas shortly after that, the Super Nintendo came out. I didn't exactly ask for it, but I don't think I went through Target as a kid without playing the display council. I even got my younger sister and my mom into the console. Thank you Mario Kart, and yes,  I am still the best at that game when I go home each Christmas. That was the family Christmas present that year, along with a few games. That alone provided ideas for many more Christmases to come in the form of asking for video games.

As time went on, technology started to rule my lists as well. CDs, CD players, DVDs, DVD players, a TV for my room, all the things a teenager would ask for at my age. Plus football jerseys started to become a craze when I got to middle school, so my favorite players such as Chris Carter, Brad Johnson (I will go to my grave saying he would've won a Super Bowl if the Vikings kept him after 1998) and Randy Moss, to name a few, filled my stockings.

When I was in college, I asked for stuff to help fill my dorm room and make it look better, and of course more technology.

But as college wore on, the present ideas started to leave me. I had ideas, but I wasn't exactly excited about them.

The thing I was excited for with Christmas was spending time with my family. Going home and having a great Christmas Eve meal cooked my my grandma was always a tradition and it was very well attended by my big extended family. I even looked forward to going to midnight mass with my parents, sister and any aunts, uncles and cousins that would join.

Christmas morning has just been my mom, dad and my sister and that has been one of the best parts of Christmas for me in the last couple of years. Quite a contrast from when I was playing Super Nintendo throughout the day.

Yeah, this has turned into that sappy kind of column. I have learned with each passing year how much family and cherishing the family you have is what makes Christmas special. Yes, the presents are nice, but I would rather be playing a game of Monopoly with my family than playing the newest Xbox game by myself.So this year I want my present to be clear roads so not only can my girlfriend and I travel to northwest Iowa to visit my family, but for anyone who is on the roads for the holidays. If that's all I get, then I will definitely have a great Christmas.

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