the nintendo standard

almost every american has childhood memories of what Christmas was like growing up. for me those memories include trips to california, singing around the piano, lots of family, and the nintendo.

that's right. "the nintendo".

that was the most memorable gift my sisters and i ever got for Christmas. i don't know what your "nintendo" was, maybe a bike, a cabbage patch doll, a He-Man Master of the Universe action figure, an ipod, or maybe a puppy. whatever it was, it was what lit up your eyes. that thing that you made promises to your parents, Santa, or God in order to get. you saw it a catalog or online or maybe your friend had one. or then there's those incessant saturday morning commercials in between the cartoons.

for me and my sister's it was the original Nintendo Entertainment System (also known as NES).
nes controler.png



i had to look up that it came out in north america in 1985, but i don't think we got it until the next year when the price had come down. so for a 10 year old boy it was the perfect gift. at the time it was the sum of all my hopes and dreams for a Christmas gift.

i think my sisters even promised my mom that it could be the gift for all three of us, not only for Christmas but also for our birthdays. and then we woke up Christmas morning and tore into it and we were jumping up and down and just SOOOO excited.

i've been thinking a lot about Christmas and gifts and about that "nintendo" feeling. i may be wrong, but i don't think i'll ever have that same reaction to a Christmas gift ever again.

i think that's why it's so hard to go Christmas shopping for adults, whether they're your same age or those older than you. because deep down inside we want the reaction to the gift we give to others to be that of a 10yr old boy and his sister's getting their first game console.

deb asked me again what i would like for Christmas. i made a list of some items that would be nice to receive. but to be perfectly honest, none of those items are going to come close to the "nintendo" standard.

and the reason is that all of those items are things that if i really, really wanted them as much as i wanted that first NES, then i would just budget for it and go buy it for myself. in fact i think, that had i had the patience to wait, the iPhone 3G that we recently bought would have come really close to that nintendo standard. it was something that i had wanted for a long time, i had researched all the features/options, and imagined myself using one.

but i didn't wait because now days, if i want something and can afford it, i'll just buy it. i don't have to wait/hope for someone else to get it for me for Christmas or my birthday.

so what would give me that nintendo feeling now? i've concluded that it would be things that i couldn't afford - a new car or new house (completely paid for), a cruise for deb and i, our remaining debt to be forgiven or paid off.

so … if you got me something for Christmas, this is the heads up to let you know that most likely i'm not going to be jumping around and going crazy like Tom Cruise on Oprah.

yes, i'll be thankful and appreciative, but i think i've finally gotten to the point where it truly is "better to give than to receive". not because i'm looking for, or expecting, the recipient to be as excited as i was when we were given that nintendo. afterall, if that's the motivation for my giving then i'm not really giving, i'm really exchanging or buying an emotion or reaction for the gift. i'd be hoping to receive the emotion i'm looking for.

but instead, i'll be giving because it does something in me. it makes me less focused on the material things of this world. it makes me more like God "who gave his one and only Son".

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// today i'm thankful for:
1. Christmas
2. snow
3. iPhone
4. LifeJournal
5. nintendo memories

here's a bonus video to bring happy super mario bros. memories to mind: