All I Want for Christmas is my Two Bottom Teeth


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HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM CHARLIE COCHET!

All I want for Christmas is my Two Bottom Teeth

All I want for Christmas is my two bottom teeth.

All I want for Christmas is my two bottom teeth.

Yep, I was missing my two bottom teeth that Christmas. Also, why does my sweater say ‘jogging’? Do kids jog? And why is the rest of the picture in black and white? Welcome to Christmas in the 1980s! I was born two years shy of 1980, so that means I grew up in the age of cheesy– yet awesome music, and not so awesome fashion. I didn’t get to have that whole teenager in the 80s experience like my cousin who studied art, and had her bedroom wall plastered with magazine images of big-haired rock musicians. She was the one who taught me to draw, introduced me to Madonna and Bon Jovi, and was like the coolest teenager I had ever known.

My world was filled with cartoons, and toys. It was all about the toys, especially at Christmas. We had some pretty cool–and bizarre, toys in the 80s. Chances were, if there was a cartoon about it, there were toys. It was a time when I was up at 6:30 A.M. on a Saturday morning. These days, you couldn’t drag me out of bed that early on a Saturday for love nor money. Not unless you’re ready to have some serious bodily harm inflicted upon you. Personally, I thought the toys back then were much more fun. Most of us 80s kids remember the big names: Care Bears, She-Ra, He-Man, Rainbow Bright, Jem, G.I. Joe, and so on. But what about Sweet Secrets? Anyone have one of them?

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-w7rOwpgd1as/ULj1Nd1rVPI/AAAAAAAAHU4/z6Av9AnMJwQ/s213/Sweet%2520Secrets%2520Cat.jpgAt first glance they may give the appearance of being a regular jewel you clip onto your belt, but oh, ye of little faith. When you open the jewel, *gasp* there’s a doll inside! I had loads of these. It’s incredible how long a child remained enthralled by just opening and closing that little jewel case, and turning out all the pieces of the doll. I actually did own this cat. And there was a pink pony who was cleverly concealed inside a star. Thinking back on it, there were a whole lot of toys containing secret compartments. I had a pink snail whose shell unlocked with a special key, and you could hide things in there. Were toy companies trying to turn us into secret spies?

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-GWfz6_W69tE/ULj6O427i-I/AAAAAAAAHVQ/-vMEbWA1ra0/s487/poochie.jpgDon’t know how to tell that cute boy next door what you think of him? Well let Poochie tell him for you! I did have my own Poochie everything, but I admit, I never used it to express myself to boys, because at that age, well, boys were icky. They’d steal your Barbie, make her the captive of some nefarious villain where her choices were usually wait to be saved by He-Man, or plunge to her death. Third option was get pissed off, knock over the tower, and rescue Barbie yourself. Or was that just me?

Okay, so back to some more embarrassing Christmas photos. During the 80s, I spent three long years in a Catholic school. I don’t know whose bright idea that was, but it soon became clear to my dad, it wasn’t going to work out. Mostly because I spent a good deal of my time terrified. I don’t know, there was just something about having religious imagery looming over you at every turn that creeped me out, and at six years old, I didn’t understand what was going on half the time. I just knew I didn’t like it. As for my dad, I think it was the having to chop off my long hair because some kid gave loads of other kids lice that did it.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-HpQhrUWXFac/ULjtNyPI2-I/AAAAAAAAHT8/QN0VSwHFwew/s493/Nativity.jpg

Obviously during Christmas time, the school put on carol singing, and plays. One year I got to be an angel, and another year, I’m not sure what I was. A maiden I think, judging by the flowers in my hair. I guess my angel privileges had been revoked. Knowing me, I probably said something I shouldn’t have. That would be me there kneeling behind Mary eyeing Shepard number three, who I think is eyeing me back. Either we’re all waiting for something, or no one knows what to do next!

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-TdYP8BPieKA/ULjtOhSjP3I/AAAAAAAAHUI/2NP3-Xuvoyc/s442/XmasSweater.jpg

I also had a ridiculous amount of Christmas sweaters. I couldn’t find any truly hideous ones, but I found this one. It was one of my favorites out of all of them. Frolicking cats in the snow. Oh, and it’s black. Very Christmassy.

Remember all those sweatshirts with the puffy-plastic-foamy images? This is one of them. I can’t imagine it was very flame retardant. Why yes, the neon-colored bow on my head is made of shoelaces. Oh, and the sweaters always came with matching sweatpants, because it was all about the set you know. I had a yellow set, pink, blue, baby blue, orange, red, and who knows what else. I was lucky my mom only made me wear dresses on special occasions. When I was little, I was always dressed in pants, or shorts. Mostly I think because I was a very active kid. I liked to run around, climb stuff, ride my bike, be outdoors, and a dress or skirt just wouldn’t do. Also I hated wearing them, and would fight my mom tooth and nail not to wear one. My mom would then have to spend the rest of the evening telling me to sit straight.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-2km1YDfR_00/ULjtNWpxUGI/AAAAAAAAHTw/GTjg3Ew7ZEk/s440/Me%2520presents.jpgChristmas in our family usually consisted of big get togethers on Christmas eve, because I come from a tradition that tended to celebrate the 24th more than the 25th, but when my parents migrated to the U.S. in 1980, they quickly fused their Cuban culture with the American one. So instead of our presents being delivered by the three wise men, as my folks grew up with, they were delivered by Santa. We would leave chocolate chip cookies and milk out for him, and on Christmas Day they would be gone! It became our new tradition to celebrate the 24th Cuban style, and the 25th American style. The 24th was party night. Huge table with roast pig, rice & beans, salads, desserts, all kinds of drinks and side dishes. The adults would have wine, and beer, and chat while the kids shook their wrapped toys trying to figure out what they got. At midnight, we would open presents from the extended family, so they could see our big smiles when we unleashed those knitted mittens with glee, and the next day was always the best. No socks, no sweaters, because you know mom & dad told Santa exactly what you wanted.

I realize now how much effort my parents put into Christmas for me and my brother. I mean we didn’t necessarily write letters to Santa. It was more of pointing to the TV during a commercial and bouncing up and down while screaming, ‘Can I have that for Christmas!’ in Spanish, and my poor parents who spoke very little English at the time either having to memorise the images so they could then explain it to the fellow at Toys R’ Us, or quickly jotting down as many of the letters in the name as quickly as possible. When you’re a kid, it’s all about the toys. When you’re grown up, it’s all about family, friends, and celebrating who you are. At least for me it is. Thinking back, I can appreciate what I had, especially since Christmas would have been a whole other ballgame had my parents not fled their homeland when they had. So to me, Christmas is about appreciating what I have, why I have it, and enjoying it. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other festive holiday this season, I wish you all the best!

What’s your fondest holiday memory?

♥♥♥

Charlie Cochet is a passionate author of M/M Historical Romance who loves to get lost in eras long gone, especially the Roaring Twenties and Dirty Thirties. From Prohibition agents to hardboiled detectives, speakeasies to swanky nightclubs, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers. Find out more about Charlie and her writing on her website: www.charliecochet.com, or visit her blog: www.charliecochet.blogspot.com

You can also connect with Charlie on Facebook and Goodreads.

Charlie’s Amazon Page |  Deamspinner Press | Torquere Press

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31 Responses

  1. I remember too many of those toys. Still running around yelling, “I have the power”, Luckily, no one pays attention.

    • LoL. I remember when we went to visit my aunt’s house and my cousin had this huge He-Man castle with all these neat little compartments and doors you could drop He-Man through. It was so much fun. I used to love the tiger and nab it first thing to play with. I mean it was a green tiger with a saddle and a mask. Who wouldn’t want to play with that?

  2. Aren’t you cute? You look like my pal Janice Britz. (I’ll ignore how young you are…)

    I have so many favourite Christmas memories from childhood, some of which are trivial but vivid.. I remember waking up one Christmas morning when it was still dark and feeling what was in my stocking. There was a round, tin type of thing which I couldn’t fathom. Turned out it was full of Cadbury’s fingers. Yummy.

    • Aw, thank you, Charlie! Ooh, yum. Can’t have Christmas without chocolate. I remember these little chocolates covered in decorated foil made to look like Santa or Frosty the Snowman in our stockings. Oh, and those white paper strips that had little colored candy dots you peeled off and ate? I remember a lot of the candy. We had a small candy store just around the corner of where we lived and we’d beg our dad (because he would always cave in before mom) for some change and run to buy some. You know when a cent could get you a sweet! :D

  3. Bet you wanted more sweatshirts and sweaters for Christmas? Hey, I don’t blame you, they’re warm and cuddly, that’s for sure! Nice memories… Have a wonderful Christmas!

    • Oh yes, every time I was given a slim long box I would internally groan and smile because I knew there was going to be a sweater in there! My aunt was usually the culprit. I think she did it on purpose. I don’t know where she found some of those things. I liked the ones my mom got me because they were cute and soft. My aunt’s were always itchy. LoL. Have a wonderful Christmas, too!

  4. Oh- Charlie – i do envy you being able to remember all that about your childhood Christmas’s. The only thing I really recall is that we had presents in a pillowcase at the bottom of the bed and I used to keep looking to see if I could see it.We weren’t allowed to open anything until our parents woke and then we got in bed with them. Not allowed to rip the paper either. My mum saved it year on year. And it was always that thin cheap stuff that tore if you looked at it. My mother tutting if we tore it remains one of my stronger memories.

    • Luckily I have quite a lot of photos to remind me or I certainly would have forgotten already. My mom had a Polaroid camera and loved taking pictures. I remember being fascinating by the strip of bulbs that clicked into it.

      I think if my parents had put presents at the bottom of our beds, my brother and I would have been in big trouble come morning! That’s a lot of restraint necessary for a kiddie. I don’t know that I would have been able to do it. LoL.

  5. Lovely post, Charlie. So many nice memories of Christmases past.
    I remember pestering my parents for a ‘Tressy’ doll in the 60s. Anyone remember her? 😀

    • Thank you so much! Was Tressy the doll whose hair grew? I remember my cousin had one of those. I can’t remember how it worked but I found it amazing! My cousin was in her late teens or early twenties in the 80s and still had all her dolls from the 60s and 70s. There was this Barbie dream boat from the 70s she had which I loved to play with!

  6. I was one of those teenagers in the 1980s, and with my family, it was Hanukkah. I’m old enough to have treasured an X-Wing I got in 1977 — which still holds pride of place on the top of the entertainment center! (I made a deal with my brother a few years ago — he could have all the Legos for his children if I could have all the Star Wars toys.) In the 1980s, it was a copy of the latest Douglas Adams every year, and, one year, the coveted Bruce Springsteen five-record live album. (Still have those, too.)

    We also celebrated Christmas Eve with my mother’s best friend and her family, trimming their tree. My mother would bring a silver bell every year — the jingle bell kind with the year and an embossed scene on it — and the star on top was always a tinfoil-covered cardboard affair that my dad (an engineer, naturally) made (with ruler and protractor!) around 1974, when I begged for the light-up treetop angel for a doll, and their only other star was a hideous gift from her in-laws. Sometime around 1987, the cardboard got too floppy, and we’re on star 2.0 now, but it has to be that star.

    Thanks for sharing your memories!

    • Hi Julian! I used to love playing records. I get my love of music from my dad who had a big collection. There was always something playing in the apartment. The Beatles, Abba, Eagles, The Monkees, Elvis. I wish he had kept them! I remember our star had lights on it, the outside of the bulbs had those pointy plastic flower things, the ones you’d randomly step onto with your bare feet and hurt like nobody’s business! LoL. Thank you for sharing yours!

  7. What a lot of cute photographs! Shockingly enough, I don’t believe we ever did the whole “photo with Santa” thing in my family.

    • Hi Fred! I don’t think we did it often. I can only find a couple. There is a great one of my younger brother just crying his eyes out. I don’t think he was very fond of Santa. :D

  8. Super post Charlie, bringing back so many memories. I loved Christmas when I was a kid and the thing I’m remembering particularly right now is walking home from church at midnight under a sky filled with stars and waking to the peal of bells early on Christmas morning. The steeple of the church is so high that the sound carried for miles. I lived just to the right of that photo so it wasn’t a long walk. Oh and there was a year when we decided that we should make a really BIG thing of christmas dinner, so dressed to the nines in evening gowns and cheap plastic tiaras. We made our own entertainment in those days :)

    • What a wonderful memory! I remember waking up on Christmas Day to fresh snow that went up to my knees! I’m loving the idea of a glamorous dinner with tiaras! Sounds like so much fun!

  9. I’m a lot older than you. I remember the year I got both etch-a-sketch AND Spirograph! I also remember my first African American doll, who really looked like a beautiful little girl from India. And her hair was dark and glossy, like yours, lol. I wish I still had the Spirograph! Thanks for sharing the great photos.

    brendurbanist at gmail dot com

    • I remember etch-a-sketch and Spirograh! I had those, though I don’t think I ever worked out how to use the Spirograh properly. Lol. I also had those Fashion Plates, where you matched up outfits, put a piece of paper over them and rubbed a crayon over them? I remember having one doll that was my favorite because she had black hair like me! :D Thanks so much for dropping by!

  10. Wow! What a lot of Christmas memories! To be honest, most of my memories revolve around the toys we received as gifts, though they were very rarely the ‘in thing’ – or if we were lucky enough to be given whatever was ‘in’ that year it was at the lower end of the price bracket so we had the little plastic care bears, not the big soft cuddly ones, etc. We loved them though, and I’ve still got most of my ones around my house now, several decades on!

    One Christmas memory which still gets told every year is of the time we were at my Grandparents and, having got bored of waiting for us to finish our dinner, my little sister (aged about 2) had slipped away from the table without any of us noticing, wandered into the next room where the tree was and started opening presents! Fortunately, although she couldn’t read, she managed to only open ones which were actually addressed to her :-)

    • Hi Sandra! Little kids are stealthily sneaky aren’t they? It’s so great that you still have your care bears. The plastic ones were so much fun. I distinctly remember having the grandma bear with her little white painted shawl! I now wish I had kept some of my toys from the 80s, they were pretty awesome!

  11. Great post there. I used to get Lego most Christmases and Dad used to look forward to it almost as much as I did.

    • Hi Stevie! I used to love Lego! They were my brother’s favorite so he used to get them from all the family. He used to make all kinds of ships and helicopters, and I’d make houses with Lego furniture. I’m pretty sure he ended up swallowing one at some point, as kids do. LoL.

  12. I guess when I was a young kid and opening presents, maybe around six years old. Having the joy and enthusiasm of being a kid.
    It was fun to read about your Christmas memories.

    • Hi Jess! So glad you enjoyed the post. I have to agree. When you’re a kid, Christmas is the best time of year, and everything is so exciting. Thanks so much for dropping by!

  13. Don’t know what happen to my comment. Will try again. What lovely Christmas memories in your posting. I guess the fondest memory would be just being a kid and being excited about opening presents.

  14. I remember those toys, too! I was born in the late seventies as well. My biggest toy wants were Pound Puppies and a Cabbage Patch doll, neither of which I ever got. Oh well! I still had a lot of fun Christmases with Play-Doh, Rainbow Brite, Legos, and He-Man and She-Ra. Ah, the 80’s…

    One of my favorite traditions was when my parents bundled my brother and me into the minivan every Christmas Eve so we could ride around looking at the lights in the neighborhood. When we got back, Santa had usually come, and the presents were under the tree. They’d let us open one, and we always agonized over which to choose. (Many years later my parents confessed that several times Grandma had come over after we left to leave the presents.)

    • I used to love Pound puppies! I remember watching the cartoons on Saturday morning, and one of my favorite toys was a purple horse with pink yarn hair from Rainbow Brite. Seeing houses lit up and decorated was always a treat. Where I am people don’t do it so much which is a shame, but then there’s just something weird about putting Christmas lights on a palm tree. :D

  15. Good grief, I REMEMBER the Poochie print ads…usually in Barbie magazine, no less. What was amazing in the ’80s was how brazen the TV/toy tie-ins were…most usually had a special or series to advertise the toys. The Monchichis, Charmkins…there was even “Rubik the Amazing Cube” with Menudo singing the theme song. Wow.

    • Hi Trix! Thanks so much for dropping by! Oh my god, the Charmkins! I used to love those! I had the sunflower windmill. Lol. There were a lot of charm based toys weren’t there? Definitely a lot of collections. I agree the tie-ins were crazy, sort of like movie franchises today but without the movie. I remember how excited I used to get when school came around because it meant a new pencil case, the ones where you pressed buttons and little compartments popped out. I wonder if they still make those? :D

  16. I was living in North Caldwell, NJ and was about 7 or 8 years old. And wanted ice skates so I could skate on Walker’s Pond with all the big kids. All had been green that year but on Christmas morning I woke up and it had snowed close to a foot overnite. Everything was blanketed and quiet, I ran down to the family room where our tree was and my parents were already there, ready with their coffee. And under the tree, from Santa was the most perfect white leather high top ice skates, laces tied together with spotless runners protecting the blades. I also got a fabulous flyer that year as did my sister but all I saw and still remember were those ice skates and of course, skating later at Walker’s Pond with the rest of the neighborhood. My best memory.

    • Hi Melanie! Wow, I can see why you would still remember that so clearly to this day. What a wonderful memory! I grew up in North Bergen, NJ! It was amazing when it snowed there wasn’t it? When it snowed heavy like that, we would make igloos! I never got to ice skate, but I did get to go sledding. Thank you so much for sharing! :D

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