Thursday, December 17, 2020

That Other Christmas Catalog

I loved it when the Sears Wish Book came in the mail. I'd spend lots of time going through the toy section over and over again. Eventually I'd mark everything I hoped Santa Claus would bring me and then point  out to my mother which ones I liked the most; which ones I really, really hoped to find under the Christmas tree.

Besides the Sears Wish Book, there was another catalog that came in the mail before Christmas that I really, really liked It wasn't as glitzy or jam packed with pages chuck full of toys and dolls and doll beds and doll clothes and stuffed animals and games and bikes and on and on and on yet I'd get so excited to look through the pages of that catalog-the Miles Kimball Christmas Catalog. I never had to share that catalog with my older brother like I did the Sears Wish Book because he had no interest in it so I was able to sit at my desk in my bedroom and go through it over and over again. I always found things that I considered little treasures, along with so much more that can't be wrapped. Feelings can't be stuffed in a box and put under a tree. 

Unlike the Wish Book, I saved copies of the Miles Kimball Christmas Catalog over the years. Now that I'm older I understand why I did that and why they caught my attention as a little girl. It was a 'feeling' I would get when I saw the catalog in the mailbox. It felt like being home. It felt comfortable. It wasn't just the pages of merchandise that pulled me in. It was that catalog's presentation. It wasn't just selling Christmas. The Miles Kimball Christmas Catalog was embracing Christmas.

From original Christmas artwork on the cover to Alberta Kimball's welcoming letter to all the small boxes of copy all following a theme-spread throughout the pages, that catalog told a story. It was like sitting on your grandmother's knee while rocking in her rocking chair. I could almost smell the sugar cookies baking and hear the wind push the snow against the window panes. It was anticipation and wonder all in one. And that is a gift I will never forget.



  1. Oh yes!! How I loved those Christmas catalogs! And when I had little girls of my own, I still looked through those pages, searching for just the right toys. I thought, just yesterday, how I miss those catalogs. I think the last ones we got in the mail were from JCPenney. When we remodeled a few rooms in our house I put a sort of "time" capsule in the wall, with pictures of the kind of clothing,etc., worn at that time, but I don't think there were any pages from a Christmas catalog; wish there was.

    1. When my younger brother was little I'd always order a toy razor for him from the Miles Kimball Christmas catalog. I don't know why but it became a tradition until he grew out of it!