We are only a couple days away from the biggest Christmassiest day of the year, Christmas. And here are some words that you can use that rhyme with Hustle and Bustle; muscle, Russel (Crowe,) scussle, and hustle, and brusselsprout. That should come in handy for you this holiday season.

But what I really wanted to talk about in this blog was one of my most cherrished Christmas memories.  Let me set the stage for you; the year: 1985. Five years after I was born and 7 years before Crystal Pepsi exploded onto the soft drink scene. Linsay Sonner (whom for this blog entry I shall refer to as “sister”,) and I could never agree on anything. Key points being; I wanted to live and she felt otherwise. I liked candy, she liked hurting me. I would want to play games like fort and she would want to play games like “punching me.” Anyways our thoughts and general outlook were slightly different at that point in our lives.

But that magical Christmas season one thing united us. One beautiful gift bestowed upon us allowed all our guards to be dropped, a cease-fire to be enacted upon, a treaty to be implemented. That, my friends, that present which could calm that decade old bloodbath of a family feud and pacify even the most aggressive of rivalries was the Nintendo Entertainment System.

A tradition at the Sonner household for as long as anyone can remember is held on Christmas Eve. And that tradition is as follows; Phase one: eat an enormous dinner (for many years we had fondued.) Phase two: Sit around the Christmas tree as a family while the Patriarch regales to us the Christmas story, the one where our savior is born in a feeding trough. Phase three: We go around the room and say what we’ve been thankful for over the year. Phase four: The meat and potatoes, the piece de resistance, the opening of the gifts.

The gifts that year were somewhat lackluster until the last big box, which was for both my sister and myself. With resentment we both grabbed a corner of the wrapped box and tore till we exposed the inner treasure to the glowing light of the tree. It…Was…Beautiful. The box alone caused us to briefly no longer be enemies, but instead be the best pajama-wearing, high-fiving, awkward-dancing set of siblings ever. Do you guys remember opening your first Nintendo? It was amazing. There was that picture of that weird family on the back of the box. It had the mom in the blue sweater with her arms over both the boys’ shoulders as they played Super Mario Bros. It was magnificent.

Thank you Jesus for being born, so I could get this.

Thank you Jesus for being born, so I could get this.

By the time we opened it up it was around 10 pm and we begged Patriarch to hook it up so we could play. Reluctantly he did. And we pulled out Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt and unwrapped it from its polypropelene sleeve. The most perfect of Siamese twins. That game cartridge combo became the most recognizable video game image ever. Have you ever seen a Super Mario Bros. game cartridge without Duck hunt attached? It made you nervous, even frightened by its presence, “Where’s Duck Hunt?” We plugged in that game and we played till about 2 in the morning.

In that small span of time we were the best of friends, my sister and I. We weren’t discouraged when we heard that the Princess was in another castle, or every time that dog laughed at us when we missed those two birds. We were allies in the fight against Bowser. We were teammates attempting to rid the beautiful blue sky of those pesky clay pigeons. We ate mushrooms to grow big and flowers to throw fire. We were the Sonner Bro and Sis, and no otherworldly 8-bit force could stand in our way.

Now there is some fuzziness when my sister and I tell this story. We both remember our mother coming into the living room exhausted, telling us to go to bed, and that the Nintendo would be there in the morning to play. But we were too jacked up on Christmas cookies to pay her any attention. She was so tired that she finally slipped some kids cold medicine tablets into some cookies and drugged us to sleep. That is how we remember it at least. Her story might be different. We had hallucinatory fever dreams of falling into warp pipes all night long.

All that nostalgia to get to the point of this blog. I hope this holiday season you have a N.E.S. moment with your family and loved ones as well. Something that brings you all closer together, something that allows everything which is hectic and chaotic during this busy time of year to just fade into the background as you revel in their presence. Cause that is what Christmas is best for. The Nintendo; truly a Christmas Miracle.

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