My Best and Worst Christmas Present Ever

When we were kids, Santa left our presents at the foot of our bed, so that we could wake and feel the weight of them by our feet, and feel the crinkle of the wrapping paper.

The worst present was the mandarin orange I got every year in my sock (‘stocking’, if you want to be fancy, but we used socks). I like mandarins, but there was definitely something suspiciously healthy about getting one for Christmas.

The best present had to be the Alpha Probe, a versatile spaceship made by Fisher-Price. Imaginative, tough and practical, it came with two astronauts and its cargo bay opened to release a scout ship – the Recon Probe. It had buttons for three different sound effects: afterburner, communications and warning siren. It flew with my Star Wars squadron and took a battering in countless space battles.

It’s still in my mother’s attic today.