Touch and Go Holiday Special : The Best of Gifts, the Worst of Gifts

Some of us are full of holiday spirit and mirth but, mostly, we just like saying the word mirth aloud. For instance, shouting it heartily from a Chicago street corner with one arm extended, palm up, is the second best way to spread Christmas cheer. We also like making lists and feel that we regularly combine naughty and nice with tremendous results. So, there you have it. That's summarily what you'll find featured in this year's Touch and Go Holiday Special. Now, everybody with us! Mirth!

Joey Burns - Calexico
best gift around the holidays has to be the bmx bike, a schwinn i believe, with red pads for protection from falling. i must have been watching evil knevil do his snake river jump and likewise flopped over and over when i crashed in the empty lot next door.

no helmet and no feeling afterwards.
pure holiday bliss.

worst gift in recent times has been my mom's continual purchase of holiday cartoon underwear. You’d think she'd stop once she sees the torment it causes, but no. she continues this practical little joke with everything from the Simpsons to Snoopy. it is bad and no one laughs. well, except my mom. i think they are used as rags for cleaning up cat puke and to polish furniture.

Pall Jenkins – The Black Heart Procession
i remember one christmas i poured hot milk on santa’s crotch. He hit me and i got no gifts. He burnt them in the fire place. The next year he gave me Kiss Alive 2. It was the first cassette tape i got as a kid. The end.

John Schmersal - Enon
When i was 5 years old I remember vividly receiving a toy called "milky the marvelous milking cow" for Christmas that year. That's right, a toy cow with plastic utters and fake milk. For those of you who are either too young or too smart to remember this, someone posted the original commercial on youtube (just type in milky the marvelous milking cow).

Let it be known that I didn't ask for milky, santa brought him to me. I probably said out loud at one point that I wanted to be a farmer when I grew up. You know how you fantasize all kinds of jobs for yourself when you are little. I was a run on sentence of future fleeting employment positions to hold. "Truck driver, comedian, garbage man, weatherman, musician, farmer...." I grew up in the midwest so, its easy to see the mass appeal of being a farmer, I'm sure you can see. Anyway, I never dreamed I would be called out on my employment tourettes but, then came milky... complete with a drinking trough and like three fake milk tablets (don't drink, kids!) I don't recall if they sold replacement milk tablets once you ran out of the generous couple they gave you. I suppose kids could have just resorted to using real milk. Great idea! I wonder how many "milky's" there are sitting in landfills stinking with rancid milk mold from the inside. games

I lost interest at about 1 pm that afternoon but, on the other hand... I wish I could go back and justify this waste of fabricated material while simultaneously freaking out my family by being WAY INTO IT. Playing with it everyday for years to come, maybe asking for other plastic animal or human facsimiles. Maybe not. Anyway, I think about this gift when I am trying to buy for someone young, as a reminder...

Matt Schulz - Enon
Most christmas times have been good, but when I was little it was so much more exciting, like 1979...getting the rad Star Wars toys. Check the photo...
Ahh, to be 4 years old again!

Jamie Carter – Advertising/Mail Order
The best present I ever got, the worst present I ever gave, the same Christmas.

Best Received:

This story has a theme of sibling rivalry involving me (the youngest) and my brother (the oldest, 6 years my senior). At the end of a particularly grand Christmas celebration, as the excited murmur died down and the bursts of sound from presents being opened ceased, my Popa entered the room with the largest present I had ever seen. Just my luck he places it in front of me and in front of a envious crowd I tear off the paper to reveal a kick-ass model train set. I'm a serious lego-er, and all round toy-loving kid, so this blows my mind and I'm ecstatic. My brother is not. I can't remember if he actually cried, the last thing I do remember before becoming absorbed in the yellow Pacific Union engine car is tears welling up in his eyes.

Worst Given:

That same Christmas I had decided that I would give gifts too, I had reached the age where I had to reciprocate the joy. For my brother I wrapped up a b-grade toy; a scale model of a red convertible Porsche (with a wheel missing). I was sad that it was leaving my toy collection but consoled in the fact that it would bring happiness to my brother. The day after Christmas I asked my brother if he wanted to play with the car. He told me that he had been advised to throw out all the junk he had received. Without a wheel, that Porsche qualified as junk. Mixed message anyone? Confused kid? You bet.

Joe Darling – New Media Promotion
Over twelve years removed from my fascination with sports card collecting, I can't quite pinpoint what drew me to it in the first place. I do recall a pretty severe rush of adrenaline whenever hovering over a rack of boxes of basketball and baseball cards at Bases Loaded in Marshall, Michigan. I guess it was like a lottery ticket for an 11-year-old. Delusions of grandeur abounded. "I could be rich," I thought. "This $2 pack of cards will add to an already impressive collection that I'll more than likely reminisce about when I’m one day interviewed as a recognized expert in the field of sports collectibles."

However irrational the hobby and however much value that huge collection gathering dust in my closet has lost over the past decade or so, at the moment, there was nothing quite like the euphoria that the risk, danger and possible peril of a sports card collection delivered. Upper Deck was consistently the best brand. Beckett Monthly price guide was the source of all relevant knowledge. When my cousin Nathan, who had been collecting for five years or so longer than me, gave me a Topps 1973 Mike Schmidt rookie card, it didn't matter much that it bore a deep bilateral crease or that I didn’t really know who the former Philadelphia Phillies’ all-star third basemen was. It listed for $400 in my Beckett Baseball Monthly and I was sure that a major blemish such as this probably only skimmed about 10% off of its trade value. Plus my cousin was cool. I think he was informally decorating me a cool kid by giving it to me. Like, "(wink!) Let's go drink beer."

Marah Eakin - Publicity
top 3 best christmas presents that i hope to get at some point in my life (in no particular order):
1. a real live christmas tree of my very own

2. a tiny boxer puppy to kiss and hug (example pictured above)
3. world peace, or a really sweet grill pan. either/or.

top 3 worst christmas presents that i hope not to get, though inevitably will (again, in no order):
1. a killer great lakes brewing company christmas ale hangover (oops. already got this. merry christmas, me!)
2. the annoyance of cleaning up after said dog or real tree
3. a disfiguring facial palsy, or yet another business suit i'll have to return, based on false hopes of my family that someday i'll get a "real" job where i have to, like, dress profesh and stuff.

Justin Sinkovich – Digital Distribution
Best Christmas Present Ever: Dark Tower

Dark Tower was released by Milton Bradley in 1981. It was a board game that featured a giant computerized black castle tower that swiveled so that each player could view the electronic screen and keypad. The goal was to retrieve the magic scepter from a tyrant king. The game featured dragons, plagues, pegasuses, wizards, tombs, and of course battling evil armies.

The tower was pretty high tech for the day, was kind of glitchy, and the rules were way too complicated for most eight-year-olds including myself. I remember my mom telling me I was too young for it, but those commercials were amazing, so I talked her into it eventually. I never assembled a legit game, but it still entertained endlessly and goes down in history as the best gift ever. If only I still had mine…

This site has great pictures and info:
The Realm of the Dark Tower

and you can actually play different online versions of the game here:
Dark Tower vs. 1
Dark Tower vs. 2

Billy Smith – Sales/Marketing
Christmas 1988: the same month that Roy Orbison died and Chrysler discontinued its Plymouth Reliant, my first car that will haunt me forever. But that’s a story for another day. I was a sophomore in high school and all I wanted was a guitar for Christmas. I was shown the basics on my friends’ guitar: “Day Tripper” by the Beatles, “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, and numerous riffs from Metallica’s …And Justice For All album. My introduction to punk rock was just months away as I was already shown the intro to Goth punk 101 with The Cure and Ministry. ALL I wanted was a guitar for Christmas. Some of my friends already had their god-awful 2-chord bands and were covering Zeppelin and Rush - so ALL I wanted was a guitar for Christmas.

I got one, an acoustic no less. But I wasn’t going to complain; it was still a guitar.

I owned it for about six months.

My mom had to give it back to her friends’ son; it was “on loan” to me to see if I really wanted a guitar or if it was just a “thing teenagers go through.”

So essentially, I didn’t get anything for Christmas as I had to give it back to some other kid. I love bringing that up to my mom. It’s all in good fun though.

….but really, kids- remember this: Christmas is a time for giving and not receiving. It’s about family and getting together with friends. But did you also know that the number one 911 phone call to police on Christmas is domestic disturbance? Yeah, all those family members around each other emptying their glasses of vodka and getting too close to the carving knives…. “I’ll GIVE you a present, motherf&!@R and you’ll RECEIVE it really deep!!”

Sara Tolbert – Radio/Video
Actual gifts my family has given me over the years:

1. Jellybellys (in a jellybean shaped tin)
2. A three chipmunks paperweight
3. A $10 Gift Certificate to the Columbia Mall
4. Flip flops with bunny heads on them
5. Scented lotion
6. A road safety kit (note: I do not own a car)
7. The centerpiece I gave them the year before, with the card I wrote in the box!
8. A scale (a hint?)
9. 3 movie passes to Loews Cineplex
10. My dad gave my sister a set knives and myself the free "flavor injector" that came along for "ordering it now!"

Actual gifts I've given my family:

1. Dvds I want to watch
2. Touch and Go CDs (hello employee discount!)
3. Socks
4. A book of letters to Santa written by cats
5. Travel size rolls of TP and toilet seat covers for everyone's stocking
6. Three opened bottles of Head and Shoulders they left in my shower on previous visits
7. A note reading "IOU"
8. $10 gift certificate to local pizza restaurant
9. A copy of Star: written by Pamela Anderson
10. The mixer my sister forgot I gave her in a cabinet over the fridge was given to her for Christmas a second time.