Without a doubt, the best holiday present I ever received would be the Tyco slot car set I got when I was about 7. If I recall, I spent about 3 seconds ripping open the rest of my loot in a mad rush to start playing with the thing.
What I recall most, oddly enough, is the rough texture of the black track itself – remember that? I’m pretty sure I never got the flimsy yellow corner guards on properly. Besides racing with those on was like cheating. Anyone could drive with the corner guards. It took real skill to navigate the track’s treacherous corners with no safety guards. Just you, your smoking hot yellow controller (can you smell the metallic tang of it burning?), and your car
I think the track lasted in circuit form about a week. After that, it was all straightaways and jumps. The straightaways were the most fun. We’d make one long dragstrip down the upstairs hallway, ending smack into the bathroom door. We’d take turns smashing our cars at full speed into the door. Ah, good times.