What matters the most at this time of year?

What matters
the most at this time of year?


Michael Lafferty

friends share their holiday wishes

The tree
stands silently in the corner, the balls and ornaments tucked into its branches,
tinsel glittering, lights blinking on and off. The tree is perhaps one of the
more noticeable signs of the anticipation that hangs in the air.

Depending on
where you are, there are other signs that Christmas is upon us. No, not the
store decorations that have been up for more than a month, and not the long
lines at checkout stands as everyone rushed to make sure those on their
gift-giving list are satisfied. For some, snow lines the yards and roads, the
fields and vales, a chill hangs in the air but it is a chill tinted with the
glow of the season.

For others
it is that pervasive feeling, memories of past year’s and the laughter that
echoes down through the passage of time. How well I can see vignettes of
Christmases long past, and remember the excitement that swelled with each
passing day, as well as the dread that all I would find under the tree would be
box upon box of clothes.

Come on! How
many kids really want clothes for Christmas? And what was even more perplexing
was how, considering they were once children themselves, could my parents
believe it was what I wanted? Now, being the pretty typical kid, and living in
smaller communities where jeans were the normal course of dress, what was even
more embarrassing was that my mother (bless her heart) wanted me to be trendy?
That usually meant sticking out like a sore and highly embarrassed thumb. To
make matters worse, when I neglected to wear the clothes past the mandatory
several-day period, my younger sister took them and wore them with delight. That
only added to the humiliation (well, except for the shoes and they just
collected dust until it was safe to throw them away).

I remember
one particular Christmas, rushing out to look at the tree and seeing that box
after box had my sister’s name on it. There were not that many for me. It was
easily a 4-1 margin in her favor. But I tried to be brave, or cool, and pretend
it didn’t matter. Presents all unwrapped, my dad asked me to go get the big box
in the hallway walk-in closet to put all the wrappings in to take out to the
trash. Somewhat crestfallen, I trudged down to get the box, opened the closet
door and beheld a beautiful three-speed bike (these were the days before the
10-speed hit its stride) with my name on it. It was a dream, it was beautiful
and it outshone all the other gifts of the day – well, from my perspective. The
only problem was that it was winter, in Canada, and not exactly bike-riding
weather. But the moment the snow was gone, that bike was worked. Sure, it
couldn’t do the wheelies that the Mustangs (a popular bike of the time) could
do, but it was fast, and I was a streak wherever I went.

Now that was
a Christmas present! Clothes? Bah, humbug! Who wants clothes?

And then
something happened – I grew up. No, that doesn’t mean I run around handing out
clothes (well, I do if they are asked for), but it means that the perspective
changed. I understand more and see more, and now some of my “wishes” for
Christmas are more eclectic – what I really want for Christmas is to see smiles
on the faces of those I know and care about.

Ok, what has
happened to him, you are probably wondering? What happened to the idea of toys
for Christmas? I am privileged to work in the video game industry; I get toys
all the time. And I will likely play games Christmas day.

But some
things fade in time and as we grow older, hopefully we grow wiser. Christmas, at
its base level, is about product placement now – both in the store and under
that tree. But when you think back, what do you remember the most – all the
gifts you received, or the people and the laughter and the moments shared at
this time of year? 

Ok, enough
of the solemn reflections – now let’s have some fun!

As has been
done in the past, I contacted a few of those I have been privileged to work with
during the past year (those who were not afraid to answer – and yes, that is a
dig at all of you who didn’t) and asked them a couple of questions about their
holiday wishes. These answers in no way reflect company policies or stances but
are personal reflections. And also note that they were told they could be as
funny or corny as they liked.

Bureson, Media Relations at NCsoft:

What one
present (video game related or not, but you can mention a game or platform)
would you like to receive this year and why?

“The gift of less business travel! I haven’t been home much lately. Since I
probably won’t get that, more stuff to fill the flask I take on the plane will

What one
wish do you have for this holiday season?

“This might sound like I’m trying to win a beauty pageant but I really wish we
could all get through a holiday season tragedy-free. If that ever happens, then
we can work on the rest of the year.”

Kauppinen, Director at Kohnke Communications:

What one
present (video game related or not, but you can mention a game or platform)
would you like to receive this year and why? 

“Cash! Renovating the house is expensive. Since I already have my 360 and every
game + a screaming new PC, I don’t need much.” 

What one
wish do you have for this holiday season? 

“I have two – that everyone finds peace with their family and pauses to realize
how important time with family is. And that I beat my brother-in-law in

Fischer, PR Manager at Eidos Interactive:

What one
present (video game related or not, but you can mention a game or platform)
would you like to receive this year and why?

“A full PSP game and movie library (including Smart Bomb, I love that  game!) OR
for any company to announce a Wonder Woman game. We need more of her!"

What one
wish do you have for this holiday season?

“Ok, I wish to be Wonder Woman (closes eyes and waits for total transformation).
 Ooh, ooh … I thought of another … a Homestarrunner video game (www.homestarrunner.com)
– I want to play as Strong Bad!

‘Ummm, did I
say all that? I meant –  world peace (I admit it, I’ve seen Miss Congeniality).”

Christmas to all!