The best presents ever

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Celebs reflect on special gifts that mean the most

It might be a favourite toy, a childhood memory, something sentimental, or simply feeling the holiday spirit — everyone’s received a Christmas gift that stands out above all others. The Telegram asked some members of the local arts community what their best Christmas gift was.

Mark Critch

Comedian/actor, “22 Minutes”

“The Christmas gift I was the most excited about … was a Mork doll, Mork from Ork. Most people would ask for a G.I. Joe doll or something, but I’m a nerd who grew up to be a comedian, and they didn’t make Wonderful Grand Band dolls.

“He had a great big backpack that he wore for no reason, except there was a string in it and you could pull it and he would say a couple of phrases, he used to say, ‘Na-Nu Na-Nu,’ and ‘Shazbot’ and ‘Never go to Pluto. It’s a real Mickey Mouse planet.’ I enjoyed it at the time, until I realized, around an hour later, that there was no bad guy on ‘Mork and Mindy,’ and I don’t even think they released a Mindy doll, so this was a doll that could not be played with.

“What do you do? I was really happy Christmas morning until about 3 in the afternoon, when I kind of wished I had gotten a G.I. Joe.”

Todd Perrin

Chef

“The best gift has been every Christmas since our daughter was born. Getting to live Christmas through her is awesome. It’s her 10th Christmas this year, and they keep getting better. She could be one of Santa’s elves. She is so full of the Christmas spirit. It’s a beautiful thing to see.”

Geraldine Hollett

Singer/performer, The Once

“A giant stuffed puppy dog. I was 11.”

Chris Kirby

Musician

“It might be obvious that my favourite Christmas present would be a musical instrument. I was a real lucky kid growing up and every Christmas I was brought everything I asked Santa for — everything within Santa’s means, that is.

“My fondest Christmas memories, though, are from later in life when I no longer composed wish lists. Somehow, my parents and siblings always manage to surprise me with great gifts that I cherish and associate with the love of a great family.

“I think I was 19, living in

St. John’s and just getting going with my music career. I did not own an acoustic guitar and I guess my folks knew that I could use one. On Christmas morning Dad had me run into the dining room to fetch something for him. That’s his classic move, so I knew I was in for a surprise. I stepped into the dining room and there it was standing up against the wall: a new Seagull acoustic guitar. I was speechless.

“That guitar has since seen many miles. In fact, it looks five times its age. It has pick scrapes, dents and other scars. There is a volume control in the sound hole held on with duct tape. It’s not as pretty as it once was, and it’s not exactly a top-of-the-line instrument, but I still enjoy using it for writing and studio work. Every mark on it has its own little story and memory which makes it even more fun to play.

“The most powerful memory is of the day I got it, and I never pick it up without thinking of my parents and the serious support they have always shown me.”

Brian Byrne

Musician, I Mother Earth

“Star Wars bed set, Star Wars PJs and a Boba Fett coffee mug — Christmas of 2009 ruled! I used to be embarrassed, but I’m OK with being a big kid.”

Tara Oram

Singer

“I was eight, and I received a karaoke machine from my parents. I used it until the speaker stopped when I was 19! I wore it out a little.”

Teresa, Karen & Maureen Ennis

Singer/songwriters

The Ennis Sisters

Maureen: “The best Christmas gift we ever got were the Cabbage Patch Kids we got that Christmas.”

Karen: “There was such a hype around them, and I remember there was a shortage. Teresa was the youngest. She was about four years old, maybe. Mine was Jessica — you had the little birth certificate and adoption page. (Maureen’s) and mine had long hair, but then poor Teresa...”

Teresa: “Yeah, mine had short curls and they were attached on either side, so you couldn’t really comb it, and I was so angry.”

Maureen: “What was funny was that (Karen and I) were the tomboys, we liked helicopters and stuff, and Teresa always had little fancy shoes and fancy dresses. When Karen and I ended up with these dolls with nice hair that we could brush and play with and Teresa ended up with this doll that she could do nothing with, it was awesome. It was my favourite Christmas, and I don’t know why — when I think back on Christmas, the Cabbage Patch Kid Christmas is the best.”

Teresa: “Yep. The worst for me.” (smiles)

Des Walsh

Writer/performer

“The best Christmas gift I ever received was somewhat unusual. A friend of mine, who sadly passed away some years ago, took notice of how much I enjoyed bananas. Like most families, fruit at Christmas usually meant an orange or an apple in the foot of your sock on Christmas morning; bananas were not part of my upbringing, so when first tasting one as a young teenager I was hooked, overwhelmed, addicted.

“My friend purchased about 10 pounds of bananas, and put them in a cardboard box that was beautifully wrapped. I opened them Christmas morning and almost ruined my Christmas dinner. I ate six before the traditional feast was placed on the table.”

Ruth Lawrence

Filmmaker/actor/writer

“One of my most memorable gifts is a picture of the Pope Turkey that my son did in Grade 8. They were asked to do a drawing assignment that involved a turkey and had a Christmas theme. It has a lot of layers that are pretty incredible for a kid at that age: he is skating, doing circles on thin ice.

“The art teacher felt that she couldn’t put it up on the wall. It could be construed as sacrilegious. Luke was a bit put out, and rightly so. When he got his drawing back, he brought it home and luckily it wasn’t marked, because it was also considered incomplete, so I proudly framed it and it’s been on the wall ever since, year round.”

Allan Hawco

Producer/writer/actor

“Republic of Doyle”

“My best Christmas gift ever was actually last year. My family and I decided to, instead of exchanging gifts with each other of sweaters and gloves or whatever, get a list for a family that might not be as well off as some others in the world, of everything they need. We found a family with a bunch of kids and grandparents and they had really hard times. Instead of exchanging gifts with each other, we took that money and spent it on gifts for kids for that family. For me, that is the only thing I’ll do from now until the end of time.”

tbradbury@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

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