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Our Favourite Christmas Gifts of all Time

Do you remember a Christmas, many years ago, when you received a gift that you either really wanted or couldn't believe someone got for you? We can!


Every year people make lists of gifts they are going to wrap up and put under the tree for the people they care about, and every year we are presented with a series of gifts other people think we'll like... but what makes one gift stand out from another.

Whether you've told someone what you want or there was a mystery box under the tree with your name on it, the anticipation as a child can be tremendous. It's not just the big gifts we were given that struck a chord with the team here, sometimes the most insignificant item produced an emotional attachment that even as adults we had a hard time explaining.

There are the consumable gifts, the "I'll only use these once gifts" and the "I hope this comes with a receipt" gifts, but sometimes you give someone a gift and their reaction reminds you why you spend hours agonizing over what to get the special person on your list.

Christmas gifts we received as kids

Here's a few of our favourite gifts from over the years.

Random surprises

Child shows surprise at a giftMost years when you are little you kind of know what you are going to get. If you have whined enough about a new toy, then a little bit of you expects to receive it. But every now and then you are in for a big surprise! One year I had a massive box waiting for me under the tree and I had no idea what it could be - for weeks I would poke it, try to lift it etc and was none the wiser. When I was eventually allowed to open it, it was a full on puppet theatre. Imagine the goat song in sound of music - I LOVED it. Venetia

Rock on!

Now Dance 92 and a CD player! I was about 8 and I don't think my parents realised the CD was full of acid house! But . . .the lyrics "Has anybody got any vegas?" were often heard through the halls! Rhiannon

The unattainable

I remember the year I got a Cabbage Patch Kid for Christmas. It was almost impossible to get one and even as children we knew it was unlikely there would be one under the tree. I'll never forget my sheer delight when I ripped off the paper and somehow "Santa" had worked his magic. Not only did I have the unattainable gift, she was even wearing the same pajamas as me! Meaghan

Simple pleasures

When I was about 5, I remember going shopping with my Grandparents before Christmas. All I wanted was some Lego Soldiers and their trusty steeds. Even though they tried to convince me to get the whole Castle, I was adamant that the 99p soldiers were all I wanted. Come Christmas morning I reveled in the excitement of my acquisition. It wasn't till many years later that I realized my short sightedness - I should have said yes to the castle as the two soldiers were include as well as a draw bride, fort and an array of peasants! Andy

Old faithful

My Brother and I always got Christmas pajamas on Christmas eve, so our sleeps were always cosy. Ashley

Free wheeling

The gift that stands out to me was the brand new bike I got when I was 7 yrs old. There is something amazing about going to sleep with nothing at the end of your bed, then waking up to find that Father Xmas has delivered a bike and has managed to bring it down the chimney, up the stairs and into your bedroom, all whilst you were sleeping! Amanda

Make believe 

Britain's Model Farm, with all the outbuildings and really detailed models of cows, pigs, horses, hens etc, all of which actually stood up properly - I played for absolutely hours with my sister for many years after receiving it. Many of the games I remember seemed to involve planning around impending disasters, earthquakes, etc and getting the animals to safety. As the younger sister I deny all responsibility for what this says about our psychological state. But then anyone who knows me would probably guffaw at any claim that I just went with the flow... Jennifer

A girl's best friend

Definitely my sub-woofer CD player! At about half a meter long, with big speakers, this was a dream gift when I was in my early teens. I was so pleased that my parents had allowed me to graduate from the old tape player, which took ages to find the song you wanted to a device that allowed you to request particular tracks and put them on repeat, the joy of technology. The quality of the music and sound that it bashed out was just terrific. I still had it well into my early 30s and it traveled around the world with me! Miranda

Action Man

I remember being pretty excited by the Adventure Playkit bag one year that included a Swiss army penknife, a compass and a camera for secret missions into the Yorkshire fields and woods. I thought: Action Man, eat your heart out! Ollie

Mad scientist

My favourite gift has to be the chemistry set I was given, today's kits pale in comparison - they sure don't make them like they used to! The set was coupled with the sheer excitement of doing the experiments with my dad! Tamara

If you're interested in chemistry too, why not read Our Favourite Science Experiments for Kids.

Big boots

Happy Christmas!

"Action Man" (the Brit version of GI Joe) was the must-have toy figure for any boy under 10 of my generation. My parents made all my Christmases come at once the year they got me, not just Action Man (with his swiveling "Eagle Eyes") but the Action Man Tower too. It was as tall as me at age seven (and I was always a tall boy); it had a pulley the figure could hang-glide down; My parents surely earned their ticket through the Pearly Gates that Christmas Day. I still get all emotional just thinking about how it felt on Xmas morning to hurry downstairs and be greeted by this mysterious oblong box longer than me. I didn't have a clue, which was the best part! We were never well off as children but my parents always pushed the boat out at Christmas: we felt like the richest kids in the world. God knows how they afforded it. In parenting terms, I've got some big shoes to fill? Oliver

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The crèche allowed me to fully participate in the business of conference: debates, votes, speeches, lunchtime fringes and, at one point, a campaign meeting. Without it, I could not have attended at all. With the crèche, I had the best of both worlds: regular cuddles with my son grounding me in between policy debates and ministerial Q&As.
Rachel, Liberal Democrats, Conference Crèche