A little while ago the lovely Jessica wrote a post about holiday nostalgia for the Sears Wish Book. Catalogues used to be an important part of life in North America, particularly in Canada (being a large, sparsely populated country). Catalogues used to come out a couple of times of year and the large, glossy tomes sold everything that department stores had to offer, from toys to stockings, hats, complete living room and dining room sets and (in the late 19th-early 20th Centuries) alcoholic and opium-based "medical remedies". Sears also sold pre-fab houses in the interwar period. My grandfather grew up in one of those houses and my Auntie still lives in it.
But the Christmas catalogue is the one which children remember most, because it had all of the latest toys in it. I remember anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Sears Wish Book (the only department store catalogue still produced) in early October and pouring over the new selections of Barbies, games, toys and winter coats offered that year and pointing out which ones I wanted for my birthday. After I got bored looking at the toy section, then I would look at every page in the catalogue, including the pages of towels and power tools, and marvel at how pretty and shiny everything looked.
I haven't been able to find a vintage copy of the Wish Book, but I did manage to find a copy of the 1963 Eaton's Christmas Catalogue (I miss Eaton's and Woodward's too) and spend hours deciding which pages to scan and figuring out how to work the scanner. Feel free to come up with your own amusing comments as to what the models are actually thinking and to use the images on your own site (just give me the source credit). If you would like any more information on the products or more pages scanned, just send me a note.
In case you were wondering about the weird pink Troll hat above, the description reads "Pixie Turban Hat and Mitts. Pixie turban in one size is of Acrilan shag with knitted head band. Cosy mitts have Acrilan shag backs and Orlon pile palms. Beige; Red; Turquoise; White."