Usually, there was a dusting of snow on the front steps, if not full-on snowbanks and icicles. Every November in my childhood, it would magically appear – carefully wrapped in plastic to protect it from the elements…the Sears ‘Wish Book.’
It was a sign that the Christmas season was truly upon us; a license to start dreaming about what might be under the tree that year.
And how I did dream! The Wish Book promised hours of entertainment and toy-filled daydreams, as I ripped off the clear, plastic cover and pored over those glossy pages for ideas of what to include on my Christmas wish list. Only after scrutinizing all the items – with their photos and snappy descriptions – would I finally put pencil to paper to request my favourite items.
My wish lists were carefully composed and very detailed; often they would include the page number of the catalog, just in case the person reading the list needed more information to procure the right item. At times (and I’m cringing here), I think I even listed the price – you know, to make it easy for anyone to fit me into their gift-giving budget at a glance.
Looking back, I wonder if it was difficult for my parents to see me wish for so much; I was the fourth child growing up in a very modest household, and the budget at Christmas must have been strained at best.
But I always got at least one thing on that list, ‘Santa’ made sure of that. And at the end of the day, it really matter that I didn’t get all those toys. There was just so much joy in the wishing.
Tonight, our girls made their wish lists. I’ve been thinking about how times are different now…yet the same. Our kids are inundated by marketing in a way that I never was. There are more commercials than ever before on T.V. They see ads on the Internet and ads on their Kindles.
Yet, I’ve been kicking it old school, diligently putting aside the toy catalogs and letting our girls look through them. Unfortunately, Sears is no longer on my radar, but aside from that, it’s kindof like watching history repeat itself – watching them look through those shiny pages with a gleam in their eyes.
And today, they made their lists.
Our nine-year-old, Elissa, thoughtfully chose Christmas colours when listing her items. I thought it was pretty cool that she asked for sea monkeys – remember sea monkeys?? I always wanted them, too – they had the coolest ads in the back of the Archie comics.
Six-year-old Lily, on the other hand, has to get some sort of credit for the sheer number of items she listed on her wish list. She took great care to use a ruler and list her items one to 20 – no small task for a first grader!
At the end of her list, she wrote, “Hello!” and I asked her who that was intended for.
“I wanted to say hello to Santa – he’s the one who will be reading my list,” she answered matter-of-factly, her huge brown eyes looking straight at me.
My heart skipped a beat. “Ohh…that’s very thoughtful of you, sweetheart,” I managed to reply.
Then I sent up a silent prayer of thanks – for the incredible blessings of this season, the least of which is the innocent, childhood magic of wishing.