It does not seem that long ago (of course it is), that Mattel Toy Company ruled Christmas. The Sears & Roebucks' catalogue arrived sometime after Labor Day, and you spent weeks going through the toy section trying to find that perfect Santa request. Mattel this, and Mattel that, even Ken and Barbie got into the action. Having just read my first book about John Paul Jones, "...I have not yet begun to fight...", I had decided that joining the Navy was the next adventure, and the Mattel Toy Company had just the thing...a three foot long Navy destroyer! It had a large single, gun at the bow (that's the front for those who don't have their Navy lingo), and could be rotated electronically 180 degrees from the bridge controls. (The bridge is the place where the captain of the ship gave all his commands.) It then had anti-aircraft guns on the sides, plus depth charge launchers ready for any of those submarines unlucky enough to get too close. In the stern (back) there was a landing craft which hung over the water ready to rescue any sailor who had fallen overboard. To sail the seven seas, yes sir...all seven were located on the living room carpet that Christmas, and for many months to come.
This past Christmas, I watched my six year old grandson open his presents. Lego's seemed to be the toy of choice. Out of a box less than 8 x 10 inches came a sack of very small pieces which seemed to multiply before your very eyes. What in the world, I thought. It would take a rocket scientist to put this together! A twelve page booklet accompanied the pile of pieces. Block one, to block two, to block three, to block one thousand six hundred and fifty four! [You get the picture.] An "alien" space ship it was to become. Star Wars seemed to be the theme. The deep blue sea had been exchange for the darkness of space. At least I could take my Mattel toy out of its large box and begin to become John Paul Jones, "the second"! [That is, after you figured out how to get those D-sized batteries in place.]
At any rate, my second daughter, who has a degree in mathematics, helped assemble the space ship, while my grandson ran around her playing with the pieces. A true Lego Christmas it was!