The Best Christmas Gifts Ever

10 members of the Dallas media share their favorite holiday hauls.

“I was 13 years old when I got a brown Appaloosa pony named Abby. (Yes, I was a child who got a pony for Christmas.) Actually, Santa brought three ponies that year. One for me, one for my brother, and a spare, just because when my dad went to buy the horses, he couldn’t stand to separate them. He could be very tenderhearted. So much so, that the pony trio did not spend Christmas night in our yard but in my dad’s workshop, because he thought they would get cold. He put notes in our stockings telling us where to look for our gifts. We went racing down to the workshop in our pajamas, and there they were—ponies amid steaming piles of poop!” -Allison Hatfield, senior copy editor, Daily Candy

“When I was in first grade, I got a red Corvette convertible Power Wheels. Technically, my brother and I shared it, but being the older sibling, I felt it best—safest—for me to take the majority of turns behind the wheel. The battery barely lasted a couple of laps around the yard, but it didn’t stop me from joyfully singing along with the imaginary stereo and letting my hair blow in what little wind can be generated at 3 mph. For at least the next year, I used it as a bargaining chip whenever I wanted something. “Can I play with your Barbie? I’ll give you my Power Wheels!” -Jessica Jones, associate editor, American Way

“The greatest Christmas gift I ever received was when I was in the second grade and Santa Claus brought me the Millennium Falcon. Wait, that’s not what happened. I remembered wrong. When I was writing my letter to Santa, I didn’t know how to spell the word “millennium,” and I couldn’t find it on any of my Star Wars cards. Mom said just to write the word “Falcon” and that Santa would know what I meant. Reluctantly I agreed. And guess what? He didn’t. I got an army tank instead, and I haven’t trusted Santa since.” -Brian D. Sweany, deputy editor, Texas Monthly

“My grandfather gave me a 110 camera. It was a small, square Kodak, and I loved it. It started for me a passion, as he had, for cameras and taking photos—which I still have but, sadly, have neglected too often over the years. Before he ever gave me that camera he taught me how to open film canisters, and I still love that chemical smell, but the camera was the next step from popping those tops to making something with what was inside. A kickstart, or motivation. Three years ago, my now-fiance Jake gave me a Holga for Christmas, and I felt like that little kid again. I suppose it was the same gift given twice, now that I think about it.” -Merritt Martin, Night & Day editor, Dallas Observer

“My favorite Christmas gift of all time: a pair of stone-washed, zipper-ankle Guess jeans that my dad bought me. When I opened the box and saw that little red and white triangle on the back pocket, my jaw hit the floor. Year: 1986. Why I loved it so: these were $60 jeans. My entire wardrobe wasn’t worth $60. I know it killed my police officer dad to fork over that much dough for faded jeans, but the fact that he did meant he understood how badly I wanted to fit in. That recognition was worth more to me than any piece of clothing.” -Kristie Ramirez, editor at large, FD Luxe

“My favorite gift of all time has to be the big play set I got for my Matchbox cars. It was a huge vinyl map of a town, complete with these kind of cartoon-like diagrams for a gas station, a grocery store, various neighborhoods, hills, rivers, et cetera. I would run my little Matchbox cars over those roads for hours. Of course, I thought the drawn-on houses were too small and unsatisfactory, so I built my own houses out of Lincoln Logs, and I would place those on the play set over the existing houses. I liked my neighborhoods better. And I only allowed European cars in my neighborhoods. To drive into BrinkleyVille, you had to have a Matchbox Jaguar or Mercedes or Rolls-Royce. I was a bit of a jerk about it.” -Rob Brinkley, editor, PaperCity

“One Christmas (I was somewhere between 4 and 6), I received a cornflower yellow and white fringed cowgirl ensemble and a pair of cowboy boots. I loved it! Every day when I heard the intro to The Mickey Mouse Club, I’d race into the living room, strip, and hurry into my cowgirl costume just in time to do the prelude dance with the Mouseketeers.” -Stacy Girard, editor in chief, Modern Luxury

“Somewhere around the Return of the Jedi era, I entered our very brown, early-’80s living room to find Star Wars action figures lining the red velvet tree skirt. Oh, yeah, and hidden under the tree, begging for action, was the full-blown plastic wonderment that was the Ewok Village. Practical gifts and family time matter more down the line, but that was a magic moment.” -Hunter Hauk, entertainment editor, Quick

“My favorite Christmas gift would have to be an ornate brass bed that I just had to have when I was 15 because I’d seen a photo of Brooke Shields’ bedroom in a teen magazine and she had a similar bed. What made that bed even more special was that I went to a party where a “famous psychic from New Orleans” was the guest of honor (such intrigue was quite common for parties in my hometown of Natchez, Mississippi) and, after holding one of my rings in his hand and thinking long and hard, he told me I’d just gotten a brass bed for Christmas. He also said that it had white sheets with blue flowers on them. (Gulp.) I’d just made up my new bed—with said floral sheets—right before leaving for the party. Decidedly, I was in awe. But I also kept my window shade down for quite some time after that.”  -Denise Gee, author, Porch Parties and Southern Cocktails

“I got a painting of my dog at Christmas 2002 or 2003. I treasure it because of the thought and planning that went into it. My best friend in the world took a picture of my dog Princess, whom I had rescued only a little while earlier, and sent it off to a company she found online. They take portraits and turn them into paintings. Princess is really the first pet I’ve had as an adult—really, ever—and she’s special to me. Nancy helped me find the dog, helps me take care of the dog, and put so much time into making this gift special. Every time I walk by it in my house, I’m reminded of how special I am to have this pet and to have a friend like Nancy.” -Evan Grant, sports editor, Dallas Morning News