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OPINION: Christmas catalogues once made for wishful thinking

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Nadine Wark

Adults of a certain age might remember the Christmas catalogues that once arrived at the front door.

They were a celebration, a taste of things to come — but only if Santa would cooperate with the parents.

The Sears Wish Book was aptly named. Kids wished upon a star, or just out loud, that the wonders inside might make their dreams come true. My sister, brother and myself spent a lot of time turning its pages with “oohs” and “aahs.”

If offered plenty of dolls. With names like Tiny Tears, Betsy Wetsy and Chatty Cathy, it’s easy to imagine what each was capable of delivering. I remember one Christmas my friend Ellen and I each receiving a doll called Patty Kay.

The boys wanted guns and holsters and bow-and-arrow sets that could take them on adventures in a make-believe land of Cowboys and Indians. Some even landed air rifles that scared the daylights out of my friend and I. It wasn’t easy being a cowgirl in Corunna.

Those old catalogues also advertised things that have withstood the test of time, like TinkerToys and Lego.

Boys often wished for train sets, complete with track and a small village of people. But for those living in small homes it was tricky finding the room needed for set-up.

On those years when the budget with Santa was ‘stretched’ the lucky might also find ice skates, hockey sticks, sleds and toboggans under the tree. Outdoors fun on the snow and natural ponds back them seemed to last from November to March.

Of course, our parents also added practical gifts that definitely were not on our list — the P.Js, slippers, toques and scarves — as well as books, paint-by-number sets, puzzles and other useful gifts.

One fond memory that resurfaces every Christmas is the box of Black Magic chocolates Dad would give Mum. Of course, she insisted we help her out, and it’s hard to say just how many chocolates she actually enjoyed herself.

There was not a lot of gift giving between the two of them. They were too busy fulfilling our Wish Lists.

I seem to recall learning at a very young age the realities of Santa. And when I look back at the sacrifice our parents made to ensure Christmas morning was special, I wish they were here now so I could thank them once again.

Nadine Wark is a retired office administrator and freelance writer who lives in Sarnia

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