A Lite Brite Christmas

lite brite

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

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  • CK

    Ooooooh, what a story. Now THIS is the stuff of Christmas Miracles, pal.

    I can only imagine the tears welling up in your eyes and the huge smile on your face. And as low-tech as Lite Brite is (I had a lite brite as a kid!), I bet it just as magical as it always was.

    And while I know it would have been nice to have it as a kid; the time was now for you to have it after all. What a GREAT story, thanks for getting me in the x-mas spirit.

  • Jenn Whinnem

    I love this story! Thanks Mark!

  • Carla Bobka

    HI Mark-Lite Bright is the bomb! You know it’s 3D now, right? Treat yourself to the latest version.

    My Christmases were similar to yours, only the dream gift was different. Mine was the Easy Bake Oven. One year it showed up with my sister’s name on it. Santa had hand delivered to our home on Christmas Eve. While it was daylight, he came to the door and my sister and I were in the living room watching, mouths gaping open. We both got gifts-hers was the coveted Easy Bake Oven.
    After years of recounting the story, I finally received my own Easy Bake Oven. My husband and daughters presented it to me with glee 4 years ago. Priceless.
    Merry Christmas

  • Dan Levine

    Your sister’s a rockstar. Great story. Wishing you, your sis, and all here on {grow} happy holidays and a happy and healthy 2010.

  • Gwen McIntyre

    Your sister is a keeper! Thanks for sharing this story and Merry Christmas!

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  • Carrie Bond

    What a wonderful story. A couple of years ago my mom and husband both bought me the Barbies I never had…real Barbies, not the inexpensive knock off I had as a child. I shed a few tears!

    I never had a Lite Brite either, but Hannah got one for her birthday this year. I think I play with it more than she does.

    Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas.

  • Jerri

    Thank you for sharing this. Once again, you show us what a lovely person you are. Never had one either–admired my cousins from a far, and guess what R&L got one year not so long ago?

  • Wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing.


  • Nathan

    Here a blast from the past. I had a light brite,and loved it for many years, but that is not my point. I remember that I would lose the pegs in the forest green shag carpet we had. Ah… the good old days.

    Thanks for sharing this story. It brought back memories I haven’t thought of for years.

  • What a great story! Every year we get our kids (and now their spouses) some little retro toy from their childhood eras. They always get donated but it brings back a lot of terrific memories and laughs. As people get older, finding that “perfect” gift becomes more and more difficult but something like the “Lite Brite” that takes you momentarily back to so many fond memories is priceless.
    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story!

  • Merry Christmas Mark!



  • Mark, I noticed your new avatar on Twitter and now I get it. Great story! I thought stuff like that only happened in the movies.

    My takeaway: Listen! Listen! Listen! To your family, your kids, your co-workers, and your customers.

  • Mark

    Thanks for the nice stories and comments! Glad this story resonated with you.

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