Christmas Memories

Childhood memories of Christmas Past come to me with great pleasure this time every year.

One of my favorite Christmas memories, happened each year, when I was a little girl, when the much anticipated, the Christmas Edition of the Sears and Roebuck Catalog, arrived in the mail. This treasured catalog was a gift in itself. The first half was filled with clothing and other items of human need, but the second half was filled with nothing but the wonderful world of Toys. How wonderful it was to spend time in the magical toyland of the Sears and Roebuck Christmas Catalog.

My mother would hand me this catalog and tell me to pick out “one” toy for Christmas. It was very difficult to pick out just one item! Adding to the difficulty was the fact that this toy could not be over $20.

Years ago, there were no toy stores like there are today. Money wasn’t easily attainable for young parents raising their families (at least not for our family). Toys were a luxury that were given only at Christmas. Sometimes we would receive a toy for our birthday, but usually we were given clothes on our birthday. Growing children always needed new clothes. However, at Christmas, we were assured of receiving a toy. This one toy had to be the absolute perfect one because there would not be another toy until next Christmas.

Immediately upon the arrival of the Sears and Roebuck Christmas Edition catalog my search for that one perfect toy would begin. I was allowed to change my mind as many times as I wanted as long as I made up my mind two weeks before Christmas; enough time for me to write Santa with my “What I Want for Christmas” letter. (And, of course Santa got his toys from Sears and Roebucks).

I spent hours of my day combing through the toy section of this catalog developing my mental “wish list.” Many times I made up my mind on which toy I wanted only to change it again in a few days. Thinking back on this, I feel sure the main reason I kept changing my mind was because I didn’t want to end the joy of searching for that one perfect toy.

Both of my grandmothers would join us for our Christmas Eve gathering, where we shared a meal of turkey and dressing with all the trimmings. After the meal, the dishes were cleared and cleaned (no automatic dishwashers back then). With the dishes cleaned, it was time to open gifts that were exchanged among family members. The evening would be filled with ooouuus, aaahhhs, laughter, gratitude and love for our gifts, and for each other. I remember one gift I received from my paternal grandmother was a large teddy bear, which I loved and cherished for many years.

Santa would not come unless we were tucked in our beds and fast asleep. This was Santa’s magic hour; the hour in which he came and ate his cookies and milk while filling our stockings with oranges, apples, and candy, and leaving our much anticipated and longed for gifts underneath the twinkling tree.

At the crack of dawn on Christmas morning, four excited little children with bed-head hair and sleepy eyes would scream and laugh with excitement and joy as we all claimed our stockings and our cherished toys.


Would you like to share some of your cherished (or not cherished) Christmas or any other traditional celebration memories, or any special memory? If so, write your “favorite memory” post, link it to this post and put your url in a comment to me on my post (please). Also, tag your posts with Favorite Memories so we can all read and share each other’s stories.

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27 thoughts on “Christmas Memories

  1. What great memories! We looked at that catalog too but could go to the Sears store. One of the stores in San Diego had these wonderful murals painted along the walls. When they tore down that store years ago I wondered if those murals were ever saved or photographed. thanks for sharing!!

  2. I just couldn’t wait for that catalog to come in the mail! 😊 The pages were well worn within a few days, if not ripped out and placed in hiding places. We were to pick two or three toys in case Santa wasn’t able to get our favorite (and to keep us guessing as to what Santa would bring). Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    • You’re right!! I forgot about that! Yes, there always had to be a backup toy, just in case. Weren’t those catalogs just wonderful! Such excitement for a little child when there were no toy stores.

  3. Thanks for sharing, PJ: what lovely memories! I remember that catalog, too: my brother and I would pore over it for hours, making impossible lists of Christmas gifts. I don’t think “Santa” paid much attention to those lists; money was always tight, and my mother did a lot of bargain shopping and spend hours sewing doll clothes for me and my little sisters. But looking at those toys in the catalog was a magical experience in itself.

    • Thank you for sharing that Sandi. 🙂 That catalog was truly magical! I spent hours and hours caught up in my imagination and toy heaven. 😀 That is sweet of your mom sewing clothes for your dolls.

  4. Great story – and boy can I relate PJ! For me, it was the JCPenney catalog. I can remember my brother and I going through it just like you, page by page, dog-earing, dreaming. We would also play a game of “if you could only have one thing on this page, which would it be?” happy memories. Thanks for the smiles!

    • Thank you for sharing that precious memory! Weren’t catalogs wonderful at Christmas-time? I know that S&R’s entertained me for many many hours, and it is surprising how many people can relate their own childhood memories to this catalog, or other catalogs similar to it.

    • I just got through reading another comment that said they have similar childhood memories with the JC Penny’s catalog. I know that the S&R catalog entertained me for many many joyful hours! I am happy to discover that so many people have the similar memory. 😀

    • That was a wonderful story. Sad, but wonderful. Having a home, family, and parents that love you are the most important things. Thank you for sharing your story. I don’t know if you celebrate Christmas or not now, but if you do, I hope you and your family have a magnificent one.

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