"It was Christmas 1948 or 1949, I think. As everyone knows, you must be good and not naughty or Santa will not include you on his long list of presents. My brother, Chuck, seemed to gravitate to mischievous deeds, like forgetting to walk the dog, or make his bed, arguing, feeding the dog his homework, etc. Back then, the normal parental response to misbehaving was, 'You will have nothing under the tree except a lump of coal.' Well, if you were in the East during the winter of '48 (or '49), you remember the big blizzard. So, we had no shortage of coal.
"At O'Dark Thirty, my brother and I raced to the living room. There were so many presents for me and only one for my brother. He was excited because it was a big box. The happiness only lasted so long. Inside was the biggest lump of coal anyone had ever seen. He wasn't the bravest boy after all, so once the tears dried, Mom had him go to the hall closet for the remainder of his gifts. I believe that was the Christmas we both received Lionel trains. His set was bigger, but mine wasn't bad for a little sister."
via TOH Community