My 2016 Christmas List vs. My 1974 List

When I was a kid I can remember looking out for the annual Sears and Roebuck Wishbook - if you are older than 40 you probably have very fond memories of that catalog. As a kid it seemed like there were over a thousand pages (in actuality there were more than 600 pages in the 1970 version) but there was only one section that interested the 12 and under crowd - the strategically placed last section. Well “last” is a bit of a stretch. Almost 250 pages of that “Wishbook” were dedicated to anything that a child could want or even dream of. Armed with my ballpoint pen (color coded so my selections would be identifiable from my brother and sister’s wishes) I would set off to work. There was strategy - at least at the beginning of the process. First was commandeering the Wishbook for myself. As the oldest and the biggest that was not usually a problem. If, for some reason, I was not home when the catalog arrived, taking possession was the first and primary order of business.

young-heroesStarting from the back of the book I would furiously page through the Barbie dolls and paraphernalia, dolls, doll furniture and stuffed animals just to get to the first item that could possibly be something a young boy was interested in - super hero costumes. “There has to be more stuff I’m interested in but do I take a chance? Maybe I need to circle this Superman costume just in case the whole book has only dolls in it?” I can hear my younger self think. No, I’ll hold out. Flip, flip, flip. Crap - more doll stuff. That Superman costume is looking really good now - it gets my first circle!

Twenty more pages and I breath a huge sigh of relief. Ultra-High Definition, 3-D stereoscopic, T-Rex in the palm of your hand, that’s right - the Viewmaster. Hundreds of wheels, each ready to immerse me into a new world. I can walk among Charlie Brown as he has the football yanked away by Lucy - not just see it in 2-D but experience his humiliation in wonderful, glorious 3-D. What discs to I want? Comics, yes! But the Seven Wonders of the World, motorcycle racing, car racing, dinosaurs, Disney and “Man in Space” all get broad circles.

  • - A couple more flips and it’s Walkie Talkies (circle). Cassette recorders (circle), Phonograph (circle), Drum Set (circle and dog leaf the page). A stone tumbler - hey, I could make incredible gifts for everyone with that one showing off my benevolent side (lightly circle).
  • - GI Joe. Yes. Paydirt. I sure hope this pen has enough ink - let the games begin. The GI Joe astronaut, lunar lander, Apollo capsule, talking GI Joe, spy mission GI Joe, shark fighter GI Joe (circle, circle, circle).
  • - Eight pages of Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars, tracks, towns, and an ‘as seen on TV’ parking elevator garage! (circle, circle, circle).
  • - Remote control car - Corvette of course (circle). Slot car racing set (circle). Microscope and chemistry set that I will make some world-changing discovery with (circle). Telescope (circle). More walkie-talkies - do I circle these too? Is that just greedy? (circle).
  • - Games - Sorry (circle), Monopoly (circle), Battling Tops (double-circle). Rockem-Sockem Robots (circle). All-Star Electric Football (circle), Professional Hockey (circle), Pinball (circle), Pool (circle). Unicycle (circle and dog ear the page).
  • - Skip about 100 pages (or so it seemed) just to get to Ping Pong tables (circle) and the creme-de-la-creme, the item that TBS dedicates the entire Christmas Eve programming to - the BB Gun complete with a Ted Williams course on safer shooting (check).

There you have it - my trip down memory lane. Even today when I get a catalog in the mail I start at the back - it’s ingrained. And I am usually rewarded.

My Christmas list has changed over the years - but I am still a kid at heart and I’ll freely admit - I love a great toy even today!  In case you are wondering - here’s my 2016 Christmas list:

Merry Christmas.