Five Hundred Words on TOY STORY

This’ll make me sound like a total sap, but my favorite Christmas presents are the memories. Physical objects are usually involved, but it’s specific moments with specific gifts that end up meaning the most to me.

Over the past week, a great many moments have made me smile. From Kaylee singing herself silly with Disney Sing It to me pulling a Transformer out of my stocking and realizing that Mom really does read my Twitter feed, from watching my wife play with Facebook on her new iPad last night (something she never does on our computer) to singing myself silly in Rock Band 3 with the baby in my arms, it’s been a great year. But nothing has made me smile quite so much as watching Toy Story and Toy Story 2 with my kids.

Kaylee saw Toy Story 3 this summer with us, but she had never seen the first two flicks. We owned the second, but only on VHS, and we didn’t have a player anymore. And she never did manage to pick either movie out of the line-up at my parents’ house when there were dozens of princess stories to watch instead.

So, when we opened up all three Toy Stories on Christmas morning, I was pretty excited to see what Kaylee would think of them. And, in these days immediately following Christmas, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see her digging them quite a bit.

Toy Story is where that perfect Pixar blend of adult and kid humor begins, and Toy Story 2 is where it’s perfected. The moment where Mr. Potato Head plucks his lips off and taps them on his rear end in Toy Story is the beginning, and the moment where Slinky Dog cribs from Forrest Gump in Toy Story 2 is the continuation. In the original flick, the writers are aiming to hit both audiences with one joke. The kids see the lips-to-posterior and hear “butt,” the grown-ups hear “ass,” and we all laugh. But, in Toy Story 2, surrounded by jokes aimed at the kiddos, the adults get a chuckle of their own when Jim Varney imitates his co-star Tom Hanks and blurts out “I may not be a smart dog, but I know what roadkill is.”

This happens again, later, with one of the biggest laugh lines in Toy Story 3: Barbie’s “Nice ascot.” The subtle pause between the syllables in ascot is there just for us, isn’t it?

What made me so happy about seeing Kaylee enjoy these movies is that sense that we now have another two flicks we both love to watch, and that we now have a trio of flicks that we’ll learn to appreciate on different levels together as the years pass. Because here’s the other thing about my favorite Christmas presents and memories: they always involve someone else. My perfect Christmas gift is about an exchange between two people, and not just me sitting in my house surrounded by loot.