Favourite childhood holiday memory?
When I was nine years old, I wanted a telescope for Christmas. This was an expensive gift to ask for — not on par with a bike (we got those every 4 – 5 years as we outgrew them) but a lot more than was usually spent at Christmas. Little did I know that my parents saw this as me asking for an educational present and felt they had to get it. I didn't believe in Santa at this point and really didn't expect to get one, it was more a wish than a request as far as I was concerned.
But when we got back from midnight mass, when Santa traditionally came in our house (though I didn't believe, my six year old sister was another matter), there it was, all shiny black and white, already set up next to the tree with a red bow around it. I remember standing in my robe and pajamas looking at the suddenly nearby moon, my dad next to me trying to see if we could see Venus (I'm not sure we ever did).
That wonderful present should have an amazing story about how I grew up with an understanding of astronomy or physics, but it doesn't. I was a bookish child and my love would always be literature. But I still remember the beauty of the moon on that bright cold Christmas night. It was a perfect moment.