The Christmas Catalog


I know, I know. I should dish about the election or Covid, or wax eloquent about Thanksgiving.

But I’m tired of being a grownup. I want to read a Christmas catalog and imagine finding a Sassy Walker under the Christmas tree.

The Sears, Penneys and Monkey Wards Christmas catalogs were the online shopping of the 20th century and provided hours of entertainment. They featured holiday clothing for the whole family. Red and green dresses, sweaters and suits for the guys, and matching pajamas for the whole family.

One of my classmates remembers when she found a dress she liked, her mother would cut a pattern out of newspaper and sew a similar outfit. What a great memory! Some readers remember cutting out the models to use as paper dolls. Thank you Karen, Carol, Bonnie, Brian, Larry, and Sandi for sharing your experiences.

Toy dishes, postmarked 1958

Personally, I flipped through the clothing and got to the toys. As a young girl most of my playmates were neighbor boys. Perhaps that’s why I liked the cowboy guns and toy farm sets. However, they weren’t as great as the dolls and the stuff needed to keep dolls dressed and fed.

My husband recalls wanting a bicycle in the Christmas catalog. Not just any bike, but a lightweight J.C. Higgins 3-speed. He cleaned the barn quite a few times for that “gift.” The bike was shipped from France and cost a total of $38.65. When it arrived by freight train, a neighbor picked it up and brought it to their farm. He still rides bicycle, though not the same one, which would probably be worth a mint today.

The words “Christmas catalog” seem to bring instant memories to several generations. For instance, one of our sons recalls that he spent hours memorizing the electric train section. Actually, both of our sons did. As adults, they still enjoy model railroading.

21st Century Catalogs

Catalogs of the 21st century are smaller and more plentiful. Recently we received one that featured a family wearing matching pajamas, and even the dog had a matching set. We get a lot of catalogs now, but I hope my family doesn’t order anything for me. I really don’t want a t-shirt that states, “I lived through the 60s. Twice”, or a collectible mouse or an overpriced puzzle.

So what do you think? Did this post take your mind off politics and Covid for a few minutes? It did mine.

Recently I began leading a Bible study called Growing in Wisdom & Faith by Elizabeth George. It’s based on the book of James, who said right up front in the second verse of the first chapter, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

The truth is we will always have problems and trials. The Life Application Study Bible says we can’t really know the strength of our character until we see how we react under pressure. And friends, it’s when we see God as bigger than our trials, we can find joy in spite of circumstances.

“Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.” Helen Keller  


Writing Update

I’m “counting it all joy” and learning to be patient this year. Our writers group is meeting again and I’m working on Chapter 31 of…something.

All of my books are for sale online, or contact me personally if you want a signed copy. People tell me they make great gifts. If you order “Secrets of the Dark Closet” please order the second edition and pay less.