This was the year Christmas at our house was bitten by a radioactive spider.
Although the day had highlights besides the presents, and even though there were presents that generated more enthusiasm than these, there was no doubt that this year, Spider-man did very well at our household. Virtually everyone received at least one present with everybody's favorite wall-crawler on it.
The big winner was Evangeline, who has been carrying the Spider-man torch high enough for three children her age ever since last Christmas, when I received a handful of Spider-man trade paperbacks. Evangeline's favorite present this year was the "Matilda" movie-and-book combo from her New York aunt and uncle, but she spent the entire day wearing a new Spider-man winter hat and a pair of Spider-man slippers. Other web-spinner gifts included a Spider-man place mat for meals, a pair of Spider-man pajamas, and a Spider-man comic book intended to introduce him to young readers.
Rachel fared less handsomely with the Spider-man gifts -- her fan identity is less known that Evangeline's -- but even she got the place mat and a pair of slippers. Thankfully, the slippers are noticeably different. Evangeline's pair, which Rachel bought for her, incidentally, have little Spider-man heads that poke up and look forward from a vantage point above the toes. Rachel got a more basic pair. They're red, have a web design on them, and say Spider-man, but don't make her look like she has little bobbleheads on her feet.
Even Natasha got into the act. When I took Rachel out Christmas shopping a few weeks ago and she picked out the Spider-man slippers for Evangeline, she also glommed onto the idea of buying a pair for her mother. As I said at the time, it's not exactly the sort of present that Natasha would expect, but it was Rachel's gift, so we bought it. Natasha was a good sport about it, and wore them all day yesterday, even though she got another pair from my parents.
Interestingly, I was the only one not to get anything remotely connected to Spider-man. It appears the good folks down at the Marvel Comics merchandising department are a few years behind the times. They seem to have missed out on the fact that it is now socially acceptable for boys to read comic books, and even grown men occasionally get something out of a superhero now and then.
That gender imbalance is something they can work on getting straightened out before next Christmas.