Things To Do On Vacation: Wishbooks of Yesteryear

Interlude: Christmas Stuff

Anyone else remember Sears? Anyone else remember Sears back when they weren't just bigger K-Marts? And also drowning? With all their department heads trying to set each other on fire?

If you don't, once upon a time Sears was a whiz-bang super shiny department store that sold everything. And I do mean everything. Before this new-fangled internet thing got to be where we did all our hunter-gathering for Christmas, people used to order their stuff out of printed catalogs. Sears sold everything from soap and baby shoes to farm equipment and the parts to pre-fabricated houses. My parents used to buy a lot of home appliances and electronics from Sears, and from a similar store called Montgomery Ward. Pretty sure that's where we got all the game consoles, as even then they were not brave enough to walk into a Toys R Us between Thanksgiving and New Year's.

Once a year, Sears would go all out and print a catalog of fucking everything, in an attempt to get you to buy out their entire stock for Christmas. They called it their "Wishbook".

The internets being what they are, some enterprising soul has taken it upon themselves to digitize all the Wishbooks they could find. They started out a paltry 107 pages pre-WWII, and by the time I was a kid they had ballooned to 600+ glossy full-color pages of anything you could possibly conceive of buying for anyone. If nothing else, they're an interesting look at the hot toys and fashions of days gone by.

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