Under the wrappings and ribbons, beneath tags and seals, were the Christmas presents!

For almost everyone, there was a favorite, the one that will remain in memory when Christmas 1988 is the topic for discussion.Norma Matheson, Utah's former first lady, received a Toyota Landcruiser from the former governor, Scott Matheson. And she hopes some day to be able to drive it. So far, she said, just about everyone in the family has taken a turn behind the wheel, especially with a full-blown Christmas Day snowstorm making that type of vehicle extra nice.

Mrs. Matheson feels certain that eventually the novelty will wear off and she will get ownership rights to the gun-metal-gray four-wheel-drive vehicle.

"The best gift I got, really, is the promise of his (Scott's) time to go off the beaten track with it."

The Mathesons plan some back-trail exploration, the former governor said, as he browsed through after-Christmas sale items at a downtown store. "We're going to re-visit Utah."

Another shopper who was visiting Utah, and who was camera shy, said her best Christmas gifts were additions to her collection of Waterford crystal. A glass bowl for potpourri, a desk set and yet another Waterford Christmas ornament will be returning to Dallas with Helen Callahan, who spent the holiday in Salt Lake City.

Brenda Homer of West Valley City thought a moment about her best Christmas gift and decided on the abstract. "The best gift I received was seeing my children so happy," she said.

Rebekah, 13; Benjamin, 9; and Gregory, 6, contributed to their mom's Christmas content, even though they dragged their parents out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to begin opening presents, she said. On the day after Christmas, she was "amazed at all of the shoppers here today." Why not? SHE was downtown in the stores, wasn't she?

Steve Banks, a Brigham Young University student, said his favorite gift of the season was a sheepskin rug from Scotland. His father, Ben Banks, is president of a mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in that country, he said.

"I have it sitting in front of the fireplace in my apartment," Steve said.

His shopping partner, Christine Eddy of Orem, also a BYU student, said she was partial to the stereo set her parents gave her for Christmas.

Watches were big holiday items for several people. Jennifer Agle treasures the one she received from her husband of four months, Brian. The couple lives in Southern California and was home for the holidays to visit her parents, DeeAnn and Richard Mitchell.

Also prizing a new watch was Greg Barnett. His wife, Traci, gave it to him. Greg said he will also remember Christmas 1988 for the fun family gathering with his parents, the Keith Barnetts of Centerville. With 12 grandchildren present, there was plenty of yuletide excitement, he said.

Jack McDonald, Salt Lake City, was doing his Christmas shopping the day after Christmas in reality. "We always wait for the after-Christmas sales," he said. He was snatching up bargains in "much-needed duds."

Alex Drake, 7, was still beaming with the Santa afterglow. The Monroe Elementary School second-grader had one of his Christmas treasures along on a shopping foray - a little plastic container with a pencil and eraser (dinosaur shaped, of course), a pencil sharpener and pen.

At home was his new gray remoted-controlled Porsche - a harbinger of his Christmas tastes about 15 to 20 years from now.

"We got up about 2 or 3 in the morning and I stayed up all day," said the bright-eyed youngster, apparently none the worse for wear.

His sister, Quinn, 3, was hugging a soft new doll while they looked for bargains with their dad, David Drake, West Valley City. Shopping bargains is easier for the Drakes, who have an inside source. Their wife/mother works in a downtown department store.

For most everyone, there was something memorable in Christmas 1988 to keep the spirit alive until a new Christmas season arrives.