Moor or Less: Here are the Christmas gifts that meant the most to my fellow writers

What was your all-time favorite Christmas present — a puppy, a Barbie doll, a loved one home for the holidays? I asked all the writers who have contributed to to tell me theirs.

Only one “Bah, humbug!” I won’t name him.

Among the ones submitted are a jar of coins, a lost bet and a special gift that led to a bounced check. Read about them below.

And if you would like to share you best present ever, e-mail me at [email protected]

I hope you you all have a great holiday season.

Milt Lee — I remember the whiny roar of the hand crank that would launch the motorcycle of Evel Knievel from its platform, while Evel himself bobbled around in a standing position atop that red, white and blue Harley.

A hand-cranked Evel Knievel was a memorable Christmas gift.

  And not only could I launch Evel over lineups of Hot Wheel cars, books and other household objects, but I could target my brothers.  It was the perfect combination of a toy and weapon.”

` — Thom Villing — “My best Christmas gift ever was my formal engagement to my wife (of almost 50 years). On Christmas morning in 1971, I tied an engagement ring to the collar of a Snoopy stuffed animal and placed it under the Christmas tree. Although the proposal was hardly a surprise to my lovely lady, she cried and then said “Yes.” Suffice it to say, it was truly the Best. Christmas. Ever.

Quick aside. In my entire life, I have only written one check that ever bounced. You guessed it. It was for the engagement ring. Fortunately, my future wife and my future mother-in-law were understanding. Whew!

Dick Sullivan — I remember being blown away at the age of 8 when I FINALLY received Grandma’s coin jar.  One of our brood of eight would get the jar each year, and I’ll never forget opening it.

 The treasure amounted to about $4.26 in cold hard cash and a lifelong memory. 

Charlie Spiher — Christmas, 1945, the window in Goldblatt’s Department store, Hammond, Indiana. 

A few short months after Dad returned from WWII, brother Bob and I lusted for Daisy Red Ryder bb guns.  We were little different than Ralphie and  Randy in the movie, “A Christmas Story.” We spent the entire day, freezing our asses off, shooting every unarmed squirrel in Gary, Indiana.

Still have mine.

Judy Bradford — A check for $100, written by my boyfriend to one of his friends.

Four guys had a bet about who would be the last to marry.  By Christmas 1982, one was married and a second was engaged. Ken and Mike were the holdouts.

Ken popped the question by writing  a check to Mike.

Ken Bradford — Anything but hot cross buns

On Easter morning 1982, my new girlfriend (Judy) left a basket of buns on my doorstep. Within a week, she found someone new and better. I was out. It took about eight months before she reconsidered.

Any holiday without hot cross buns is a good one.

Kirby Sprouls — I could say my engagement to (wife) Sherry but since that actually took place a few days after Christmas in 1973, I’ll go back eight years earlier when Dad, knowing my favorite NBA player was Jerry West, got me tickets for a Los Angeles Lakers-Detroit Pistons game at the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne. The Pistons’ franchise originated in Fort Wayne so they’d play three games there each season for several years following their move to Detroit.

Gary Niemier — The best Christmas gift I was given were the memories. I always had great Christmases growing up and always got way more in the way of gifts than I ever expected.

Probably the greatest memory was bringing in the tree, decorating it and then sitting in the dark, looking at the glowing lights and breathing in that wonderful scent of fresh cut pine. 

John Fineran — My best Christmas gift from Mom and Dad was a four-day trip to New Orleans for the 1973 Sugar Bowl game between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Notre Dame on New Year’s Eve. Ara Parseghian’s Fighting Irish beat Bear Bryant’s Crimson Tide 24-23, and I got into the locker room afterward.

I gave Ara my green derby hat and saw Bear congratulate Tom Clements, whose third-and-8 completion from the Irish 2 to Robin Weber clinched his MVP performance.

Then I went to the French Quarter and celebrated with Hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s. In a drunken stupor, I called home at 4 a.m., and got a lecture from Dad for waking Mom and him up. Best Christmas and hangover ever! 

Mark Bradford — Best gift ever was any sports related game, including some of questionable value, but Strat-O-Matic baseball gave us hours and hours of entertainment and taught us baseball strategy and an appreciation for guys like Dick Groat and Vada Pinson. 

Chris Sobieralski — Probably the best and most memorable gift was from the Christmas of 1976.  I had just turned nine about a month before Christmas.  I got a Lionel train set.   

That will always be the iconic Christmas and Christmas gift.  I was young enough to believe in the magic of Christmas.  It was a gift I really wanted.  I had no clue I was getting it and it was pulled out of the corner of the room after I thought the gifts were done, much like Ralphie’s bb gun in the movie, ”A Christmas Story.”

  Soon after Christmas, my dad got a piece of plywood and my train had a permanent home in our basement.  It was used for what seemed like forever.  It was the centerpiece of my matchbox car city.

Bill Moor — Like Chris, my favorite Christmas gift was a train set and my story is much like his. So I’ll share my second best gift. It was a 10-pound bowling ball, black with yellow speckles.

I had just gotten into bowling and begged my parents to take me to our local bowling alley that afternoon. Somehow, I dropped my new ball as I took it out of its bag. As it bounced along, I tried to catch it only to have the runaway ball smash three of my fingers.

I couldn’t bowl for two weeks. I still loved it.