Monday, December 21, 2009

Memories of Christmas Past: Christmas Wish Books

My sons are still a bit young to really ask for particular toys for Christmas, but that doesn’t stop them from giving us clues as to what they’d like.

We just watch them in their day to day lives. My oldest son was in his playroom playing with his beloved train table when my husband caught this scene on camera. He found the yearbook that came with his Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway set and was “reading” it carefully, softly touching one train after another. He’d stop and smile then turn the page. It actually brought tears to my eyes. He doesn’t really speak very much and has a hard time communicating. His Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) specialist has us working on communicating through pictures. He sat there for about an hour just admiring all of the beautiful trains. Guess what he’s getting for Christmas?

Growing up in a very small town, we didn’t have big box stores or huge toy stores. We also didn’t have the internet or cell phones or any high tech way of finding out about the big toys of the year (I was born in the 70s). What we did have, and I miss, are the big Christmas wish books and catalogs.

These catalogs were HUGE and many times doubled as impromptu booster chairs for toddlers at Christmas dinner. Do you remember them? My sisters and I would fight over these humongous catalogs filled with everything we could ever want or need as they arrived in the mail. We’d painstakingly pour over them, folding over pages, circling our favorite toys with markers and crayons and ripping pages out to post on the refrigerator door. We’d make a list and check it twice and keep adding to it right up until Santa landed on the roof.

Of course, we didn’t realize that our mother was Santa’s helper and we needed to get our orders in early. In those days, especially way out in the country where we lived, there was no expedited shipping. My mother would order our toys and then go to the local catalog pickup location and get our goodies. The employees would call when our presents were in and I remember that, a lot of the time, toys would be back-ordered. That would send my mom scrambling to the local Bill’s Dollar Store to find a suitable replacement.

One of my most memorable toys from childhood was a Michael Jackson Record Player that I received in the early 80s. It was the big toy in one of the Christmas catalogs that year and I really wanted one. I remember it clearly… I loved that it was portable. I played both sides of my Michael Jackson record over and over (yes I only had one). My sister also received this record player that year, because the company sent two.

What is your most memorable toy from childhood? Do you remember those huge wish books?

Most importantly though, I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a wonderful new year from my family to yours!

Are you done with your shopping yet? :)


RobynsOnlineWorld said...

You know I was planning on writing a post about the big catalogs myself! GMTA! I loved pouring over the big catalogs when I was little and circling everything I wanted. It was so much fun to dream about all the different things and making sure to pick out exactly the right stuff!

Anonymous said...

Hmm the Wish book is not ringing a bell to me for some reason....My most memorable childhood gift would have to be my bike. I received my bike in 5th or 6th grade I believe....I could NOT wait for my independence (lol yes at that young)! I was able to go see my friends when I wanted and run up to the store to get a slurpee-it was great!
Jenprincess88 at aol dot com

Shannon said...

Robyn, good memories huh? I wish I still had a few of those and that record player too :) Thanks for commenting.

Anonymous, I know what you mean... I rode my bike EVERYWHERE! We would go on bike rides to the next town (don't tell my mom... shhhh) and it was great to have our own wheels and transportation.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, y'all.