Memory Lane: Bounty from Sears

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During my boyhood, at just about this time every year, we received our Sears-Roebuck Christmas catalogue. Oh, boy! My brother, my sister, and I spent hours and hours marveling at the treasures depicted therein.

My favorites were the various play sets, featuring a whole bunch of little plastic figurines with a nice big setting for them. My brother would have loved the one pictured above! You not only get lots of little cars, but also this wonderful service station plus parking deck.

We had play sets for the Age of Dinosaurs, a farm, Cape Canaveral–you could put your eye out with those spring-launched rockets–an army base, and a three-ring circus.

And look at the price–$4.98 for the whole shootin’ match, or you can get the super-colossal version for $7.98. These items now sell on eBay for hundreds of bucks apiece. I remember when I wanted the dinosaur set and my father said we couldn’t afford it, five dollars was just too much. I wound up getting it for Christmas, and I still have some of the dinosaurs today. (Wish I’d kept those rockets, though!)

Oh, so many play sets! King Arthur and his knights, Ben-Hur and his chariot race, Wagon Train, Fort Apache, the jungle trading post–I used to get off on just reveling in the pictures in the catalogue.

Now, I do realize that such things have nothing whatever to do with Christmas, the real Christmas, but are really just add-ons to express the joy we experience at the birth of Jesus Christ Our Lord. Without Him it’s only a festival of Mammon. We do have to take care, especially with our children, that this is clearly understood. We mustn’t celebrate the gifts; the gifts are a celebration of Christ.

But I will stack up the 1959 Sears Christmas catalogue against any cultural artifact of this present time, and come out way ahead.

7 comments on “Memory Lane: Bounty from Sears

  1. Oh, how I did love the day the Sears catalog came. They had everything a kid could wish for. In addition to the toys, I loved the fancy clothes too.
    There were other catalogs I liked, but this was the best.

  2. What a fun memory! I can remember going through this catalog with my brother at Grandma’s house, our little heads together, trying to wait until the other was finished so we could turn the page and go on to see more marvels. “Are you ready yet?” “No.” “Almost?” “Just a sec….”

    And the librarian who became first prester was Otvar.

  3. Sears Christmas Catalog was the flame, and I was the moth. 🙂 I used to pore through it, memorizong every page that interested me. These playsets were great. You could do a lot with them and they seemed substantial enough to hold together. There was a huge Sear store with a catalog distribution center an hour’s drive from my hometown. I’d just about go into overload seeing all the toys in display there.

  4. I don’t remember ever getting a Sears catalogue but I remember one of the best gifts my parents gave me for Christmas when I was in fifth grade. — LEGOS!!!!!! It was one of the Basic sets with red, white, blue, and yellow bricks; some windows and doors; and one base! I was tickled to get that and wore myself out on that Christmas Day just playing an playing with my beloved LEGOS.

  5. How sad the day the Sears catalog died in 1993. Today there are video games that replace the Sears playsets. One of them is called, “Forge of Empires.” I started playing it to see what it was like. You start with constructing a village, and then a city, and then an empire. The software is quite impressive and you can play for free. But I have no time for it.

  6. I don’t ever remember getting a Sears catalogue at our house but I do remember what my parents gave me for Christmas. I was in fifth grade at the time and I had seen Legos advertised somewhere and, boy, did I want them. I was tickled to see a Basic set when I unwrapped the present. I played all Christmas Day with those little bricks until I was exhausted.

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