Have yourself a very retro Christmas

Christmas? Rubbish nowadays. It's too commercial, too expensive, there's no snow and it starts in August.

I remember the days when we enjoyed the true meaning of the season. Inputting a freakishly complex series of commands into Big Trak so it wouldn't belt the skirting board again. Watching dad lose his temper with the pneumatics in my new Lego Technic set. And so on.

If it's a more authentic flavour of nostalgic present de-flowering you're after, join me as I'm shrouded in half-baked Tom Baker-era special effects and travel back to a time to when Christmas was truly special. No, not when baby Jesus was born. He never had a Mettoy Orange Space Hooper, now did he?

For board games, Vintage Toy Box is bursting with classics in their original packaging, from Dragster to Ghost Castle.

There are also a few I never found under the tree such as Bermuda Triangle by MB Games, although when you read the dour description - "try to run a successful ship-transport operation in the mysterious Bermuda Triangle" - it's not entirely surprising I didn't nag for one. Although I did nag for a superman costume, and that never found its way under the tree, did it mother? Heartless cow.

If you fancy your yesteryear yuletide with a more hi-tech gloss to it, 20 and 30-year-old computer consoles are available but rarer than thatched hens. Try the likes of Console Passion where you can pick up a boxed Atari 2600 - wood panelling and all - for £80.

Take a look at Retro Scene to relive the prolonged anticipation of loading Jet Set Willy and Paperboy from cassette tape, only to have them corrupt at the final moment. Flashbacks of adolscent frustration and change from a tenner. Bargain.

One of the biggest toy lines of the 70's and 80's was Action Man. I loved Action Man, with hair shorn from horses and stalker eyes. It's not a doll, be quiet.

I don't recall owning any that dressed like a Village People tribute act, but cowboy and indian figures were there in the mix, alongside the astronauts and airmen. If you want a doll figure in pristine condition, expect to pay between £150 and £400 at uniquecollections.co.uk.

As for the big daddy Big Trak, you'll have to turn to the likes of eBay in your efforts to scare the cat and transport single items of fruit in a pointless and haphazard manner.

Know of any other sites selling high quality gems from back in the day? Leave your Christmas day delights and disappoinments in the comments below.

Photo by Scalleja on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

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