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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Sears Wish Book Memories

It's time to talk about Christmas wishes in this edition of the POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR - Day #14 in a series of 25!

And when I was a kid, there really was just one place in the world where I believed all wishes were born.  And I am not talking about the stars in the sky, the four leaf clovers in the fields, or even Santa's Workshop.  I'm talking about a magical book.  A book that would come out in the fall that had lots of potential wishes inside of it for boys and girls to dream about.

A book that has really become quite pathetic in recent years.

I mean, look at the 2016 Sears Wish Book!  This isn't a Wish Book!  It's a Dream Crusher Book!  This is NOT the book that I grew up with.  This is NOT the book that I anxiously waited for all year to see what the hottest toys were.  This IS however a brilliant book to use for the fireplace to keep all of us warm.  

I suppose that it is a sign of the times though.  Sears has had a tough few years lately as far as sales are concerned.  I suppose the idea of a Wish Book even existing is a good thing.  And, considering the focus on online shopping, it's a miracle that a book is even being published!

But many of you have fond memories of the Wish Book?  I know I certainly do.

Back in the days in which I was a kid - and back in the days in which the Wish Book was over a thousand pages - my siblings and I would study that book as if it was some sort of ancient scroll that would grant us magical powers.  Each one of us would have a different coloured marker (mine was almost always red), and we'd put our names next to everything that we wanted for Christmas that year. 

Of course, mind you, my family never had big bucks to spend for Christmas, and if we tallied up all the things we asked for in the catalogue, it'd be an easy thirty thousand dollars!  Rather, it was a guide for my parents to look through it, see what all of us wanted, and select one or two things from the book.  Or, they'd take the list of things and see if they could get them at another store cheaper.  Either way, the Sears Wish Book sort of worked the same as a letter from Santa in a way - and somehow my parents found a way to grant as many of the wishes that we hoped would happen that Christmas.

After all - they have Santa's phone number.  They made it happen.

In all seriousness though, looking through that Wish Book was a really fun activity.  And, I definitely remember putting a lot of red signatures in the toy section of the book!  From what I remember, my initials always went in the board game section, the video game section, and the Gifts Under $25 section.

(What can I say?  Some of those gifts were actually quite kitschy and neat!)

I don't know why I loved board games so much - especially since most of the time I only had myself to play them.  I guess it helped that I had a really good imagination and I could find ways to enjoy them solo.  I could think of about a hundred thousand ways to make "Don't Break The Ice" much more enjoyable - which may or may not have involved a drinking game or two.

And putting my initials next to video games in the book was always a crapshoot of sorts.  Although I had a Nintendo by the time I was nine years old, I really didn't expect my parents to buy me expensive video games (and believe me, in 1991, video games were REALLY costly).  But when the video game StarTropics came out, and I saw the commercial for it, I practically begged to get that game for Christmas.  I thought it looked like an awesome game that I really wanted to play.  It was like Legend of Zelda, but in a tropical island setting.  So, when I saw it in the Wish Book that year, I put my initials beside it not really expecting it, but hoping that my wish would come true and that I would be playing that game during the holidays that year.

So when I unwrapped StarTropics underneath the tree that year, it made a ten-year-old me believe that sometimes the Wish Book really did grant wishes.

Man...StarTropics was such a great game.  I would love to have the chance to play it again - and as it so happens, there's a way that I can...but this leads to tomorrow's entry - and why I feel Scrooged because of it.  Stay tuned for more...

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