the christmas tree

What’s Under Your Tree: Holiday Reflections from a Car Enthusiast

When I was a kid, I asked my father how Santa was going to get into our small apartment. After all, we didn’t have a chimney. I grew up in Northwest Iowa, a rural community where everybody knew your name. It was a nice area to live and a safe place to call home. My father, a United States Marine and College Professor, answered my question.

“Well son, he is going to come in through the patio door.”

“But it’s locked, Dad?”

“He’s Santa and he can just come right through.”

Although I was satisfied with his answers and went to bed immediately that Christmas Eve, here he was, a highly educated man, stumbling to explain how Santa would come through a locked door. He played it cool, but when I look back, I see him grasping for words.

That Christmas morning, I opened up a box containing a bright yellow, remote control monster truck. The box was marked “from Dad,” not Santa and was, without question, the best gift I received that year. I hugged him, then proceeded to run over all of my Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars in homage to Bigfoot.

The automotive world is a calling I cannot always explain. It started when I was a child, riding around in my father’s Chevy truck, watching Speed Zone (I liked the Lamborghini Countach), lining up my toy cars on my bed, and then proceeding to crush said toy cars with my new, remote control monster truck. I would grow up (sort of) to become a Sales Consultant at Sioux Falls Ford and work my way through the industry to my current role as a Product Specialist, Vehicle Coach, and Automotive Editor.

It hasn’t been easy.  I work all the time but like any true calling, it’s worth it.  I talk to people often in the automotive world with a similar calling, be it for career or pleasure. I know people in this industry wearing suits and making major decisions and others with technician’s gloves and the radio cranked. Some manage entire teams of automotive professionals while others, in their home garage, turn wrenches to bond with their children. They have a rusty, old Ford parts sign hanging up that has been in the family for generations.

All of these people are equally drawn to cars, pursuing their passion for them in a way unique to their life.


My work in the automotive arena helped lead me to Danielle, a true Michigan girl who grew up in the shop of her father’s trucking company. She didn’t play dolls in school; football was more her style. She went from attending events at Michigan International Speedway as a kid to law school as a young adult. She graduated law school and pulled down a second degree in political science in the process.

I want a minivan if we have kids but she quickly shoots that idea down.

Had my father never helped me line my toy cars up on my bed, got me that monster truck for Christmas, or taught me how to drive his own truck, I may never have pursued an automotive career. I may never have ended up in my now beloved Detroit and probably would have never met Danielle. It’s hard to imagine four tires and a steering wheel could be so significant but here we are.

Have automobiles impacted your life in a meaningful way?

While you are thinking about that, here are some responses to a reader survey. We asked what cars you would like most for Christmas. Provided Santa could slide down the chimney (or come through a locked patio door) with your dream car, what would it be?

“I would want a Chevy Silverado newer then 2010, but doesn’t have to be fancy. Reason? Always wanted a truck and it’s always been a Silverado. Never fails we need to haul stuff for my parents or even ourselves so a truck is just the right choice.” ~ Submitted by Cassandra H.

“Not sure if I can get one but a 69 Mustang fast back any model. My mom had one that I used a lot – only a 302 but still sweet. That or a multi window VW bus.” ~ Submitted by Danny W.

“72 Chevy C10. Red and white with a blond stained wood bed. Custom exhaust that comes out short of the rear tires through the lower part of the bedside.” ~ Submitted by Ryan W.

“I would love a full size pickup extended cab that costs less than a small house.” ~ Submitted David T. 

“Any car in the Fast and Furious movies. A Nissan Skyline and the Lyken. But I am thinking my next vehicle will either be a Honda Accord or Civic.” ~ Submitted by Diane B.

“I would like the International Scout from the movie “Hope Floats.” It is a totally rad vehicle that I would like to take on some adventures.” ~ Submitted by Brenda V.

“Bullet proof, bomb proof Ford Raptor with KC lights and a cow plow.” ~ Submitted Robert S.

“I would take a new Kia Optima.” ~ Submitted by Amy V.

“Oldsmobile 442. My brother had one and I always thought he was so cool.” ~ Submitted by Judy W.

“The Transition by Terrafugia. It’s a car/plane.” ~ Submitted by Justin T.

“VW Golf R with 4Motion-red with black leather. Please, Santa??!” ~ Submitted by Daniel L.

“I would love to take a Escort RS Cosworth down a nice country road for some rallying or maybe a 70’s era Skyline GTR to do some drifting with.” ~ Submitted by Josh D.

What vehicle would you want Santa to bring you?

Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of and resides in Detroit, Michigan.

  1. Great stories Carl! I always like to hear about how people grew up and ended up where they are today! This country turned city girl needs a new car very soon! So it would be great if Santa brought me anything economical…perhaps a Chevy Cruze!

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