Then vs. Now: Christmas Wishlist Growing Pains

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As a child, Christmas was the day I waited for all year round. Throughout the year whenever I threw a tantrum, my mom whipped me into shape by placing pretend phone-calls to Santa’s workshop as a ploy to make me behave. There was no way I was about to be stuck on Santa’s naughty list and end up with coal for Christmas. I had put way too much effort into my wish list for that to happen. Oh, the holidays were a much simpler time back then.

Things have definitely changed. Here’s the comparison between my Christmas wishlist circa 1999 versus 2015.

Then: A Fisher-Price Imagination Kitchen

Now: A working microwave in my dorm

As a child, playing in pretend kitchens was so much fun. You would get a group of friends together and play house, assigning each friend a different family role. (I was always the mom, of course). In college, there’s a real kitchen ready and available–but none of the appliances ever actually work. Good thing I spent so much of my childhood cooking in pretend microwaves. I guess I’ll just continue pretending. I love cold leftovers, I swear.

Then: Bubble Bath Soap and Bath Toys

Now: Hot Water in the Community Bathroom

Bath time used to be so much fun as a child, but community bathrooms suck all that fun out of shower time. There are so many variables: Are you going to freeze in the cold water of your shower? Or, will you leave with third degree burns from the scalding hot temperatures? No fancy bubbles needed here, just some regularity, please.

Then: Clothes for my Barbie Dolls

Now: Real Clothing

Now that I’m a semi-functioning adult with a budget, getting me to actually buy my own clothing is like pulling very fashionable teeth. I’d be more willing to show up to a basketball game two hours early to receive a free t-shirt than I would be to buy something of my own. With a wardrobe full of cheaply made, free college t-shirts, it would be nice to actually have some professional clothes as well. After all, this whole college thing is supposed to help me get a job, right?

Then: The Game of Life

Now: A Life Plan

The game made it seem so much more fun than the real thing. You can’t just spin a wheel and magically become a doctor with a six-figure salary. Who knew?

Then: A Princess Dress

Now: Prince Charming

If there’s an elf up in the North Pole capable of building a handsome, kind and intelligent college boy, then he deserves an award. What’s the point of that beautiful princess dress if there’s no one to put on your glass slippers for you? Santa is capable of anything, right?

Then: Money

Now: Still money

Some things never change. As the years have progressed, the money wish has become more of desperate plea as opposed to a simple desire. Back then, I’d save those crisp bills for a new toy; now, I just need to feed myself and not go into bankruptcy doing so.

Though my Christmas wish list may have changed a lot since coming to college and my piggy bank looks pretty starved, the childhood Christmas spirit won’t die. At the end of the day, it’s nice to be able to sit down on Christmas and know that you aren’t alone in this–every other college student is dead broke, too. Hurray for us.

Erin is a broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland. She enjoys acrylic painting, playing piano, and long-distance running. Erin also enjoys skiing and snowboarding in her hometown of Buffalo, New York.

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