The holiday season is inextricably tied to toys, and even here in my 50’s I still look forward to buying myself some small totally-useless-but-ultimately-fun item each year.

Now, I’m not talking about things that are actually useful or needed, those are always good presents, but they’re more than likely not a toy. What I refer to here is something purchased simply to have fun with and enjoy for no particular reason.

In recent years, for me at least, this has usually been some oddball thing I really, really, really wanted as a kid but never got for whatever reason, or some random trophy from bygone days. This year it was the Powerbook G4, for example; totally useless, but I love having it as a memento and it’s fun to fiddle with.

I tend to think this is what separates child-like Christmas Joy from more adult Holiday Obligation… So I endeavor to keep my inner-child active and healthy with some pointlessly fun thing each year.

This theory came about back when I was in the Navy and living through that transition from child to adult that most of us go through… The transition from getting up super early on Christmas morning to see what new thing(s) you got to play with, to trying desperately to sleep in on Christmas morning because it might actually be a day off if you played your cards right.

I realized a few years after I’d gotten out of the Navy that I’d become my father; bah humbug xmess is just an expensive waste of time if you need me I’ll be at work… And I needed to not do that, even if I was generally alone every holiday season.

So, I try to get myself something pointlessly fun each year to keep the holiday alive.

Over the years this has gone from something small like a literal $5 toy when I wasn’t making very much, to more recent commissioned bits of art for a character or picking up some antique doodad that I always wanted as a kid but never got.

I have a few things on the list that I may or may not get to over the years; like an Edmund Scientific “Astroscan”…

To a nerdy kid in the early 80’s, this thing was sexier than a Lamborghini Countach.

Another thing on the list is a Parker Brothers “Merlin”…

This was the Nintendo Switch of its day, and I think was actually the first ‘handheld game console’.

I had a friend who had a Merlin, and in the early 80’s it was truly a “magical device” as Apple would say.