One thing we all remember about being a kid is flipping through the Sears Wish Book in search of new toys, clothes, and cool things that were available that holiday season. Writing down the page numbers or circling items was how you let Santa or your parents know exactly what you wanted under that tree Christmas morning. You were amazed by how the toys were displayed and you wanted to jump into the book and spend the day playing. Ahh yes, that was the magic of the Sears Wish Book.
The very first Sears Wish Book, known as the Sears Christmas Book Catalog, came out in 1933. Featured items in this first catalog included the “Miss Pigtails” doll, an electric (battery powered) toy automobile, a Mickey Mouse watch, fruitcakes, Lionel electric trains, a five pound box of chocolates, and live singing canaries. The 1933 Christmas Book Catalog cover illustrated some of the featured items. The next year Sears started a tradition by putting colorful, warm Christmas scenes on the cover. From then on, the Wish Book Catalog covers regularly featured children, Santa Claus, and Christmas trees. In 1982, a Currier and Ives print graced the cover of the Wish Book.
Many people nostalgically think the Wish Book were filled with nothing but toys. In fact, over the years, more pages were devoted to gifts for adults. The 87-page 1933 Christmas Book Catalog featured 25 pages of toys and 62 pages of gifts for adults. In 1968, the Wish Book totaled 605 pages, with 225 pages devoted to toys and 380 pages to gifts for adults.That is what we loved about the Wish Book, it was packed with pages full of great stuff to look at! It really had something for everyone. Looking through the pages had you dreaming about that race car bed or Castle Grayskull playset. In some ways, the Wish Book was a catalyst for the Christmas spirit and excitement.
With the digital age, came the end of the Sears Wish Book in 2005. But that same digital age has given us the tools to catalog these wonderful Christmas catalogs.
Let's take a look at some more pages from the Wish Book that was...
Feel like looking at other wish books and holiday catalogs? Check out this great website