Kathleen Norton

The best/worst Christmas ever

Posted on: December 20, 2010


The Christmas of 1967 was the best Christmas ever – or it was the worst. It depends on who’s telling the story.

For a 10-year-old schoolgirl, it could not have been better. I hit the jackpot that year, in more ways than one.

By a miracle, my previously clueless parents had decided it was OK for me to have a Barbie, a doll that in their words, “looked like a sexpot.’’

Now I’m not sure how the word “sex’’ came to be paired with the word “pot.” But it sure packed a punch.

And I miss words like that. It gives me goose bumps when I think back fondly about how parents would shout: “Get in here missy and change that outfit! You look like some kinda sexpot!”

Anyway, Barbie appeared on Christmas morning, sitting in a miniature swing and hanging from a branch of our holiday tree.

I called her Swinger Barbie and nobody blinked. Today, that would mean I’d been peeking at porn Web sites.

Swinger Barbie was a departure from my other dolls, which looked like babies. Barbie wore things I’d been told I wouldn’t be allowed to wear for many years, possibly well into my 30’s.

These clothing restrictions had already caused me to endure what to this day remains one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.

Just weeks before Christmas, I had been pulled out of line in church so Sister Maria could show everyone what a “good girl’’ should dress like on Sundays.

So even if I couldn’t wear mini skirts, having a doll that did really helped. But Barbie was only the beginning of my best holiday season.

A day or so later, my younger brother raced wildly around the living room and knocked the tree over at a bad moment –just as food was served at a luncheon my mother was trying to pull off for an old friend.

“TREE DOWN! TREE DOWN!’’ we yelled and Mom ran from the kitchen and sprang into action. She mopped up gooey, piney water from the tree stand and picked up smashed glass ornaments before anybody got hurt.

A trip to the emergency room might have been better than what happened next. Just as things were calming down, my younger sister pointed to the holiday guest and asked loudly: “How come you’re so fat?”

The party was over.

The tree wrecker and the mouthy preschooler were sent to their rooms. I couldn’t have been more thrilled. There is nothing an oldest child enjoys more than proof that he/she is superior to the younger ones.

And with two fewer to watch over, I spent the day plotting to get Barbie-like clothes for myself.

Poor Mom had a 7-year-old capable of mass destruction, a smart aleck 4-year-old, an insulted friend, a huge mess on her living room carpet and a 10-year-old who aspired to look like her new sexpot doll.

Plus, there was another solid week left to the school vacation and a huge blizzard was on its way.

Nobody would be leaving the house anytime soon.

Yes, 1967 may have been my best Christmas ever. But I’m guessing that Mom remembers it differently.


3 Responses to "The best/worst Christmas ever"

Totally Hilarious! Reading this made my day!
Merry Christmas! – MoSop

Love this story and the word “sexpot!” Funny, I never had a Barbie doll… oh, well. Barb

For those of us who are old enough to remember….the Ideal toy company came out with their competition to Barbie…the “Tammy” doll…she must have been produced with nervous parents in mind because there was no way this one (and her equally unattractive sister, Pepper) could be accused of being a sexpot. While my friends all had Barbies, I had Tammy, who got relegated to playing the mean teacher or the wicked stepsister in our doll games. My parents were redeemed though, when they bought me a “Twiggy” (the 60’s model) doll. I was the envy of the playroom then!

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