Christmas is a time for families to spend time together an value one another and... okay, let's be honest: more often than not, Christmas is a stressful time for parents doing everything they can to satisfy and pacify children who are told they must have every last toy, the latest and greatest and coolest thing they saw during the commercials of Sam and Cat.

C'mon, the Foot Soldiers could be bad guys in ANYTHING. (Photo by TimelessToyBox/Etsy)

I wasn’t the kid that needed to have EVERY toy. I pretty much had a few favorites that I stuck with. I mean, I made my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures into Spider-Man characters when I was playing through this rapidly vanishing concept called “imagination.”

But this did make me think about the things that I always wanted as a kid but never managed to get.

I thought this was the greatest possession one could ever own. I was a weird, weird kid. (Photo by

For some reason, what I wanted as a kid was a gum ball machine. I wanted a gigantic, stupid, obnoxious red gum ball machine in my room. It didn’t matter that I didn’t particularly chew all that much gum, nor that there were logistical problems (what happened when I ran out of gum? Did I just call some weird creep that would walk into a 7 year old boy’s room with a hand-truck full of gum balls to fill up a gum ball machine? How much would this absurd proposition cost?).

Needless to say, I didn’t get my gum ball machine. The other thing I wanted was a Power Rangers belt that a kid in my first grade class told me all about. He said that he had it, but that his parents took it away for misbehaving. That seemed like a realistic idea. Lord knows I’ve had an FAO Schwarz’s worth of toys taken from me for being a pain in the ass as a child. I made Kevin McAllister from the Home Alone movies seem like a genuine, world-class angel.

What he said was that all you had to do was push a button on the belt and suddenly a Power Rangers costume popped out and suited you up so you were ready to fight Puddies and all sorts of other bad guys. That’s right: you could be any Power Ranger you wanted, which, if you were a boy meant Green or Red and if you were a girl you were Pink. And if you were some kind of defective mutant, you were the Blue ranger.

I believed it. I believed in the myth of the magical Power Rangers costume belt. Of course I did. Because I was 6. And incredibly stupid.

Of course, he was a filthy liar. He made all of it up, as first graders do, and I was left bitterly disappointed on Christmas morning because my loving, hardworking parents had failed to get me a gift that didn’t actually exist.

But the gift I really wanted was one that I got. I remember it vividly. I walked into Toys R Us on Route 9 in Poughkeepsie and saw it right at the front of the store: The X-Men Hall of Fame action figure collection. It had them ALL: Wolverine, Cyclops, Professor X, Juggernaut, Magneto. It even had Sauron for some reason that’s still unknown to me 20 years later.

The Holy Grail of X-Men Action Figures. (Photo by eBay)

I had to have it.

I waited and waited and waited and on Christmas morning, excitedly ripped apart the gigantic box that had both my brother’s and my name on it. There it was, in all its glory:

We pull the box open, ready to attack one another with Marvel Comics action figures as weapons.

They were glued down.


Turns out this is a “collector’s set” mainly targeted at “adults."


Sucks. (Photo by Fanpop)
Awesome. (Photo by Marvel Comics)

I’m 7. I want to make Sabretooth tear Cyclops apart and have Wolverine try to make out with Jean Grey. But no. They are mounted so they could be put on display.

Mom and Dad knocked it out of the park only to have it called off because of outside interference.

Moms, Dads: good luck this holiday season, and take comfort in knowing that one day your kids will look back on their crushing disappointments and understand that you did the best you could.

And kids? Whatever super cool thing your friend told you about finding at a toy store "near his grandma’s house in North Carolina" is MADE UP.