Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Old Christmas Catalogs: A Walk Down Memory Lane

When you were a kid, did you get excited when the new Christmas catalogs arrived?  I know I sure did.  I would spend hours and hours looking at  the toys, hoping Santa would bring me all of my favorite things. 
Unfortunately, I haven’t had as much time as usual to visit all of my blog friends lately because of the amount of time  we have been working on the house in Hooterville but recently, during a few free minutes I did have, I was blog-hopping and ended up clicking on a link for an interesting website called  (Sorry, but I  don’t remember which blog it was where I saw the link.) 

Edited to add:  I now know where I originally saw the link!  It was on the blog, Unshelved Words.  Thank you “Summer Gypsy” for posting about this link.  is an archive of some vintage Christmas catalogs from as far back as 1933.  It was fun to look through the old catalogs to see what was offered and the prices.
In 1933 you could order a pair of personalized stockings from the Spiegel catalog for just 98 cents!


A new wringer washer was $69.50 in 1933!
In the 1942 Sears Wishbook, a 7 room colonial style dollhouse was only $1.19.
As a teenager, I would  go through the Christmas catalogs and mark all the clothes I liked.    Just for the fun of it, I searched the 1969 and 1971 Sears Christmas catalogs, and the 1970 J.C. Penney Christmas catalog because those were the years I was in high school.  I wanted to see if I recognized any of the clothes I liked back then, or perhaps even outfits I actually  found under the tree on Christmas morning.
I had a pair of these stylin’ white lace-up “Granny boots” from the 1971 Sears Wishbook.


I also had the blue and white plaid skirt (#6), the solid blue U-neck sweater (#8)  and white blouse (#7)  from the 1969 Sears Wishbook.  This page also made me wonder what happened to this model (and what she looks like today, 40 years later).   She must have been the highest paid teenage model of the era because she was everywhere.  She regularly modeled in all of the catalogs and Seventeen magazine.   I remember her name was Colleen.  Won’t you sleep better tonight knowing that?  ;)


When I saw this page, I almost jumped out of my chair!  I had that white sweater dress with the red and navy stripes.  I had forgotten all about that dress but  I. Loved. That. Dress.   It sold for $13.97!   Even though I had consciously long forgotten this dress until I saw the catalog page, I think it is very interesting that about 8 years ago I bought a white Tommy Hilfiger, long-sleeved pullover sweater that had those same red and navy stripes across the chest.  I really loved that sweater too so I guess I’m quite partial to red and navy stripes on a white background!


At Christmas in  1986,  my daughter was 4 1/2.  From the Sears Wishbook that year, I bought her the two dresses on the left; the black and white dress and the red dress with the white collar.  She loved the black dress because the circle skirt would poof out when she twirled around.


It was also fun to scan the toys to see what Santa brought her.  Oh my!  This must be where her horse obsession started. My Little Pony.  She had about a bazillion of these.  In fact, I still have all of them packed away because she doesn’t want me to get rid of them!


I know everyone is really insanely busy at this time of year but if you find yourself with a few free minutes and would like to take an enjoyable walk down memory lane, check out and see what you remember from your past.


Pink Roses and Teacups said...

Hello sweet friend! Wow, this is so cool. I had a Navy skirt and white jacket I wore one Easter when I was 14? I have to look up the photo. thanks for the great memories. 30 yrs ago when we moved into this house, we had torn up the floor on our sun porch. It was old linoleum. Under it were old newspapers with dresses for 2.98 and wringer washers and stuff. I would have kept them, but most of them just fell apart they were so old. :)


ceekay said...

I had those puts in brown....LOVED them, they were the best books I ever had.,..kinda wish I still had them!

Adrienne said...

Thank you for the walk down memory lane! I had a version of that first dollhouse but not in 1942. Sometime in the 50's. I used to love to lay on my tummy on the living room floor and 'dream' my way through the Christmas catalog. No time now for dreaming but it would be fun to sit with a cup of tea and a wish book! ~Adrienne~

Teresa said...

Hi Shari!
Bo and Jasmin are just gorgeous!
Oh...and Itty Bitty Kitty is pretty cute too!
Love the old catalogs!
The My Little Pony's bring back memories...and I am loving those laced up go-go boots!

Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

What a fun post! I remember boots like that!

My mom didn't shop at Pennys or Sears so I wouldn't be able to find anything I wore back then! Oh well...

Cindy said...

It is so fun to look back, isn't it. I live in Canada, so it was the Sears Catalogue and the Army and Navy Catalogues that I looked forward to every year, particularly at Christmas time. That is how my parents did most of our clothes and shoe shopping. I made all of my clothes, once I was a teenager, so I poured over the fabrics in the catalogues and patterns at the Department Store. Nothing like going back for a while. Hugs, Cindy S.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shari,
Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I had the very same lace up boots but in black. I guess you & I are about the same age because I graduated from high school in 1971. Even the pages with my Little Pony reminded me of the ones my daughter had. She is also an only child and is 33 yrs. old with two of the most beautiful little boys you ever did see (I really am sort of partial to these lil' cuties). This was fun & TFS! Sheila

Mary said...

Shari, what a fun post! Loved all the old photos of the "Wish book"! I had a couple of those dresses, but what I remember is the shoes with the straps...I had them in four colors! I think that's when the "fat" heels came out, and they were soooo comfortable! Thanks for the moments back in time...those really were great times...I'd like to relive some of them.

Hope you're getting some rest on those breaks...looking forward to more pics!


Lottie said...

Shari, thanks for sharing this website! I spent way too much time looking at it today!

Lottie (Charlotte B.)

Anonymous said...

OMG! I really needed a laugh tonight. You provided it with this post. I was crying I was laughing so hard. And yes, I will sleep better knowing her name. Hope you and your family have a wonderful, blessed Christmas.

Carol @ The Roseberry Cottage said...

Thanks for the fun post! I remember the white boots, I had a pair just like that and I loved those boots.
Hope things are going well at the Hooterville House. Can't wait to see more pics.
Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.

Manuela@Pleasures of Homemaking said...

That was fun! I used to so look forward to th JCP catalog and Spiegel. My mother used to always wait for the Fingerhut catalog because you could buy things in there and pay in installments!


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Anonymous said...

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