110 Days to Xmas: Cause it’s never too early for nostalgia

Image from Sears Xmas catalog

Image credit: Wishbook‘s “1976.xx.xx Sears Christmas Catalog (Canada) P220
As those of you beautiful people who frequent the bava may know, my favorite kind of blogging is rooted squarely in nostalgia. I love exaggerating and re-inventing the past, and I am of the mindset that if we are not all constantly trying to return to a vision of what was, we’ll never be able to re-imagine what is, or what can be. And in many ways I have been preparing this post for six or so posts, and had imagined it as a a pure anomaly, an 100 page blog post about the Sears Christmas catalogs of my youth, and more specifically trying to chronicle every toy I ever had as a child. Impossible? Perhaps, worthy of the time and effort, undoubtedly!

Now, while talking with Brad Efford over dinner tonight he talked me out of the 100 page blog post approach, so in order to get in as much as possible I am going to have to start soon. So tomorrow is the kick off of my “110 days to Xmas” series that will feature a toy from my childhood from the glossy, wonder-filled pages of the legendary Sears Xmas Catalogs, a kind of world wide web for toys before the world wide web was even imagined in its current incarnation. The list won’t be comprehensive, but it will certainly be representative. And some of you may be wondering how I could possibly get access to such treasures, well about six months ago I discovered Wishbook’s Flickr stream, and this genius of the highest order who represents everything that is great and beautiful about the internet scanned every page of just about every Sears Xmas catalog that ever existed. Here’s the Sears Xmas Catalog from 1971, my birth year, not sure what toys I got that year, but I’m sure they are in that catalog. What an unbelievable resource, and the scans and pagination are perfect, I can’t imagine a better source for doing intense cultural studies about consumption in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. But don’t worry, I’ll have much to say along these lines as the series moves forwards. So, Merry Christmas over three months early from the bava.

PS: The effort will be tagged #1102xmas, feel free to join in.

PSS: Just realized he/she uploaded the full complement of the Garbage Pail Kids stickers, how sick is that!

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5 Responses to 110 Days to Xmas: Cause it’s never too early for nostalgia

  1. Andrea_R says:

    *SQUEEE*

    My aunt had C and I had D. Man, those were awesome.

    Also! I bought a 1969 Sears wish book at a yard sale. For a DOLLAR. I’ve been meaning to get scan-happy…

  2. Cole says:

    I had a bunch of that stuff and the amazing thing is that I still have it. I got a bunch of it out for my three year old a couple of weeks ago at my parents house and he went nuts. The Wishbook was the greatest thing of all time … I spent hours with that thing. Let’s see, C, H, & J are all still in my possession … loved all of it! Thanks for the flashback.

  3. AJ Williams says:

    D and G are still in heavy rotation at my folks for the grandkids. Plus, the hospital, houseboat and shopping “mall”. Good stuff.

    Of course, every year in the Sears Wishbook, I would circle every drum set hoping for the best. Finally, the year I graduated from college, my siblings gave me the drum set of my dreams (called Gold Thunder)! I use it to store all of my concert tickets now.

  4. Andrea_R says:

    Cole, can I come over and play in your treehouse? My aunt Tammy had it and she’d never let me use it. The poopyhead.

  5. Reverend says:

    @Cole and Andrea_r,
    I actually bought the Weebles Treehouse and Haunted House on E-Bay a number of years ago just so that my kids could ruin it. And they were sure to oblige! I could never take care of my toys, I basically ruined everything equally, the only thing I held onto and still guard jealously is my Smurf collection—which is sacred.

    @AJ,

    What is D and G? Why am I feeling so obtuse? Also, glad to hear you finally got that Drum set. I remember when my brother got his drum set, it was the sickest Xmas for him ever, and he was impossible to please, but that sure did it.

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