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News & Articles

December 22, 2011 |

Distributor Execs and Their Favorite Childhood Holiday Gifts

We polled executives from major IT distributors, including Avnet, D&H Distributing, Ingram Micro, SYNNEX, and Tech Data, and learned about their favorite childhood holiday gifts. Peruse our slideshow and take a trip down memory lane with your favorite execs.

Favorite Childhood Holiday Gifts

Every kid has that holiday dream gift like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story,” whose wish for a “Red Ryder BB Gun with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time” was consistently shot down (no pun intended) by the adults in his life. Ralphie eventually got his Red Ryder BB Gun, and his childhood dream was complete. ChannelPro-SMB asked executives from major distributors to tell us about their favorite childhood holiday gifts. Find out what the executives from Avnet, D&H Distributing, Ingram Micro, SYNNEX, and Tech Data had to say about their holiday memories.

Radio Flyer Sled

“My favorite gift was a Radio Flyer sled. Awesome! We used to sled as kids all the time. Yes, even in South Jersey you could find some hills (more like small slopes).” –Phil Gallagher, global president, Avnet

Radio Flyer, founded in 1917, was built on the success of its toy wagon and other speedy ride-ons that led to countless hours of fun (plus countless scrapes and bruises, and maybe a few broken bones) for kids. Even during the Great Depression, the company was producing 1,500 wagons a day. It just goes to show that even in tough times, kids are big business.

Hockey Skates

“My favorite gift as a kid was my first pair of hockey skates given to me by my parents. One time on the ice and I was hooked! I fell in love with hockey! It is the world’s greatest game!”Scott Look, vice president and general manager of technology infrastructure solutions, Avnet

Known as “the fastest game on earth,” professional ice hockey has even played a role in politics. Touted as the “Miracle on Ice,” the underdog 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team defeated the heavily favored Soviet team, delivering a solid blow to the confidence of the Communist nation and boosting American patriotism. It also spawned the best helmet-like coiffure and the best inspirational speech from a hockey movie, courtesy of Kurt Russell in “Miracle.”

Schwinn Continental 10-speed

“I remember the year I received a Schwinn Continental 10-speed bike from my parents. I was about 12 and my friends and I rode our bikes a lot. I was so excited that I went out and rode it on Christmas day. We lived in Colorado so the roads were icy and snow packed, plus it was snowing. That Christmas, I learned what it felt like to run into a parked car on a 10-speed bike. The car and the bike were fine, and luckily, I survived to tell the tale. I still love riding bikes.” – Chris Swahn, vice president and general manager, Oracle solutions, Avnet

The Schwinn Bicycle Company dominated the market in the 1950s and 1960s. Schwinn advertised heavily, sponsoring the television show “Captain Kangaroo.” The Captain himself pushed Schwinn-brand bicycles to the show’s audience during the show, until the U.S. government objected to this type of advertising. Schwinn changed the show’s format, instead making a new character, Mr. Schwinn Dealer. The Continental 10-speed, introduced in 1960, was designed to imitate European racing bikes, and fell out of popularity by the 1980s.

Atari 2600

“My favorite gift was my Atari Game Console. I was 8 years old and I got it for Hanukkah. My favorite game was Missile Command.” – Dan Schwab, co-president, D&H Distributing

The Atari 2600, or the Atari VCS, popularized the use of microprocessor-based hardware and cartridges, making the plug-in concept common. The Atari 2600 was named the second greatest video game console of all time by IGN, a leading video game and entertainment website. For those wistful for the vintage Missile Command, the game is available through Apple’s App Store and for the Android, and was released in 2010 for Xbox 360 (though the graphics have been thoroughly updated).

Nintendo (NES)

“I would have to say it was my Nintendo (NES) as a kid in 8th grade. My best friend and I would literally stay up all weekend playing games like Legend of Zelda, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, and Ice Hockey.” –John Fago, senior director of channel marketing, North America, Ingram Micro

Released in 1985 and becoming the best-selling console of its time, the NES revitalized the then-collapsed video game industry with such titles as Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros. The NES was named the single greatest video game console in history by IGN.

B9 Robot from “Lost in Space”

“The B9 Robot from ‘Lost in Space.’ Favorite Christmas present ever!” – Kirk Robinson, VP and GM of commercial markets, Ingram Micro

A fitting pick, given that Kirk Robinson shares the same last name as the family from the cult-classic television series “Lost in Space.” The B9 Class M-3 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot was known for its catchphrase, “Danger, Will Robinson!” We wonder if Kirk Robinson tried to reprogram the robot to say “Danger, Kirk Robinson!”


“As a young boy, I was a Lego fanatic. Back then, it was all about blocks, gears, and motors, but not the elaborate ‘Star Wars’ kits you can buy today. Anything you made was from your imagination. I made cars, houses, and machines that didn’t do much except move a lot of gears around. I’ve always liked to build things, as far back as I can remember. The neat thing is that my kids also were Lego fanatics, and they all participated in the FIRST Lego Robotics competitions.” – Kevin Murai, president and CEO, SYNNEX Corporation

Since their invention in the 1940s, the Danish construction toys have grown so much in popularity that there are five international Lego theme parks, known as Legolands. The toy has even spawned many video games, including Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Rock Band, and Lego Harry Potter. There’s something uniquely mesmerizing about Harrison Ford being depicted by Legos.


“My favorite holiday gift was a Lite-Brite, which I received when I was six years old. I was enamored with the high-tech look and feel of an image when the light turned on. Obviously, this was long before graphical interfaces – but maybe I was on to something as to where I would end up!” – Joe Quaglia, senior vice president of U.S. marketing, Tech Data

Created by Hasbro in 1967, the Lite-Brite underwent many changes, including a flat-screen version, a 3D cube version, and an FX edition that spins and plays music. The Lite-Brite is now available as an iPad app, iBrite – no more losing those plastic pegs!

Happy Holidays!

From the staff at ChannelPro-SMB, we wish you safe and happy holidays! For more holiday-themed fun, check out our Top Five Holiday Gifts for IT Employees slideshow.

Take another stroll down memory lane with our Funniest Old-School Computer Commercials slideshow, or view our slideshow gallery.

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