A Very Lite Brite Christmas

At this time of year I’m not thinking too much about marketing and business so I just thought I would tell you a Christmas Story.

This is the tale of the only Christmas present that ever made me cry.

When I was a little boy, all I ever wanted for Christmas was a Lite Brite set.  Lite Brite was the Photo Shop of the 1960s.  You could create beautiful picture light shows by manipulating tiny colored pegs on a black paper screen.   This was right up there with 8-track tapes and Seas Monkeys as the technology marvel of my generation.

But I was the eldest of six kids and we didn’t have a lot of extra money for Christmas presents.  Actually asking for something as glorious and exotic as a Lite Brite seemed impossibly greedy.  So I kept my little secret between me and Santa Claus.  Every Christmas morning I would open my presents and find socks and shirts and maybe a baseball, but no Lite Brite.  Yuletide after Yuletide passed, never brightened by the phantasmagoria of Lite Brite masterpieces that lived so vividly in my mind.

Eventually I grew out of my Lite Brite phase but never really stopped wondering what it would be like to feel that little peg break through the crisp black paper to unleash its beauty.

Fast forward 30 years.  I received a mysterious Federal Express package.  No return address and it said “Don’t open until Christmas!”  Being just a little spooked in an era of terrorist bombings and anthrax letters, I opened it right away.  It was a Lite Brite set with this enclosed message:

Dear Mark,

You will never guess what happened. I was cleaning out my sleigh and found this Lite Brite set for you!  It must have dropped from my sack many years ago.  You were a good little boy and deserved this present.  Sorry I goofed.  Have fun!

Love,  Santa

A grown man had tears in his eyes as he finally opened up his Lite Brite set, a gift from a sister who had paid attention, kept a secret, and had a loving heart.

May your Christmas, and every day, be filled with the joy and wonder of a child painting with little colored pegs!  — Mark

reprised from December 2009

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  • Mose

    Merry Christmas Mark!!!

  • Hey Mark,
    Your story is beautiful! It reminds me of my special gift from my little brother. I wrote about it here:
    Merry Christmas!

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  • Goes to show that in a world filled with barely-fathomable gadgets and gizmos, the greatest gift of all is that of Love. Thanks for sharing Mark & and Merry belated Christmas.

  • I’m just catching up on reading your latest posts, Mark. This is such a beautiful story. Beautifully told, too. I can’t believe your sister didn’t just remember your Christmas wish, but actually sent you your Lite Brite set after all those years. I looked it up on Amazon; had never heard of Lite Brite before. I can see how it would’ve been the dream of a little boy to own one. Your sister’s message of you deserving the present because you were a good little boy just made me cry. I agree with James here: There’s no greater gift than love, is there?

  • This gave me goosebumps!

  • Anonymous

    Dear Mark,

    I LOVE this post for so many reasons…the sheer innocence and purity of it; the fact that Lite Brite was one of my FAVORITE toys when I was little; and the fact that you shared this story. Congratulations on finally getting your Lite Brite. It’s not about the expensive stuff, is it? Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!! @NancyMyrland

  • Awe Mark, thanks for sharing that!!! It gave me the same warm-fuzzy feeling I get when I watch Polar Express. We are never too old to “believe” and live in the magic of Christmas, no matter who our Santa is!

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