I realize it’s only mid-August, but I can’t wait until Christmas.

When I was a kid I used to feel sorry for all the “old people” who only seemed to get clothes and other “useless” things.

How could they enjoy Christmas without gifts under the tree filled with toys?

This year’s Christmas is going to be different in that there is going to be a certain gift that almost everyone is going to receive.

Hold on … I tell you what it is in a bit!

History is filled with iconic “must have” Christmas gifts. Some were popular for just a year, while others are still popular to this day.

For instance, if one is old enough, he or she will remember the Christmas when at least one family member received a Pet Rock.

I always thought the person who came up with that stupid product, which sold millions, was a genius. I probably spent at least several years trying to come up with a crazy idea for a product that everyone would have to have … for absolutely no reason at all.

I never came up with one, so I’ve had to work all my life.

Luckily, I don’t remember being under pressure to find that one special gift that was always out of stock … except for once.

I think about that one Christmas every time I’m in an Academy store and see 10 to 20 trampolines, complete with net enclosures, sitting on the shelf.

That Christmas our daughters just had to have a trampoline. They no longer believed in Santa Claus, so they knew, and I knew, the pressure was on.

I remember waiting until the last couple of days before Christmas thinking I’d just run up to Walmart and buy a trampoline.

After finding no trampolines in the local Walmart, I checked in surrounding towns.

No trampolines in stock.

It was Christmas Eve and I had called no less than 20 stores, including ones in the Rio Grande Valley.

No luck.

Desperate, I made one final call, to the Walmart in Victoria. I had already called them once before, early in my search, and they were sold out.

On this particular call I happened to be transferred to the only person who probably could have helped.

She told me some parents had just returned a trampoline that their child’s grandparents had bought for her. The grandparents didn’t know, but apparently, their granddaughter had a back issue they didn’t know about.

I asked the lady on the line if she could hold it. I’d be right over.

She told me it was not Walmart’s policy to save “must have” items, especially on Christmas Eve.

I begged and pleaded and she finally gave in … a little bit.

My new angel told me she would “hide” it in the back, but if someone came in before me, specifically asking for a trampoline, she would have to sell it to that person.

“Fair enough,” I said, as I jumped in the car shouting to my wife, “I’m headed to Victoria.”

I’ve done a lot of praying in my life, but I probably prayed more per mile that trip than ever before.

I flew into the parking lot, ran into the store, and asked about “my” trampoline.

It was there … nobody had asked for a trampoline in 45 minutes. Yes, I might have driven a bit over the speed limit.

Anyway, it was a great Christmas, and our daughters, and next-door neighbor Brandi Mills, enjoyed the heck out of that thing.

We even got my mother-in-law on it. She went down quickly, and our girls thought it was quite funny watching Memaw bounce up and down as they jumped as high as they could.

I Googled “must have” gifts from Christmases past. See if any of these ring a bell. I bet some of you have stories to tell about trying to track one down to put under the tree.

Remember Tickle Me Elmo? What about Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Doll, Wii U, iPad, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Razor Scooters, Furby, Tamagothci, Beanie Babies, Barney Talking Doll, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or GameBoy?

Did you have a hard time finding Care Bears, Transformers, Cabbage Patch Kids, BMX bikes, a Rubik’s Cube, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Slime, Mr. Potato Head, Slinky … or way way, way back when – a Duncan Yo-Yo (1929)?

There was one that wasn’t on the list, but I remember it being extremely popular in the early 70s - Monday Night Football!!

Okay, I promised you I’d reveal what I think will be the “must have” gift under the tree come December. Drum roll please … it will be designer facemasks.

Start shopping!

(Note to all my family members … I don’t need another mask.)

Until next week, have a good week, and try to think of something happy during these trying times.

Mike Probst can be reached at publisher@rockportpilot.com.

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