Major retail giants such as Sears, J.C. Pennys, Montgomery Ward, Aldens, Spiegel and others published a special catalog in the fall called the Christmas Wish Book, which featured special values on the same stuff that was in the regular Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter catalogs.
The main difference was this catalog featured TOYS!
When I was a kid, I would make out my list for Santa Claus by going through the Sears Christmas Wish Book and writing down everything I wanted. Usually, I had a minimum of six pages of thing I hoped Santa Claus would bring me. Sadly, I never got 95% of the stuff I asked for, but it was always a fun activity. This may explain why (As some of my critics and fans have both mentioned) my writing contain long list.
My mother always received the Sears catalog because she frequently ordered from Sears. My grandmother and my aunts got Montgomery Wards catalogs, which I felt was superior. They had great large color layouts for the action figures and toys I wanted. Sears usual had small black and white photos of the action figures and most of the toys. Sears then bombarded us with big color layouts of Winnie the Pooh crap. Examine the photos below of Star Trek action figures. One is from the Montgomery Ward's Wish Book and the one below is from Sears Wish book. See what I mean.
|MONTGOMERY WARDS STAR TREK|
|SEARS STAR TREK|
I searched the Internet for scans of pages of Christmas catalogs. I found quite a few here and there. I borrowed a few from Mego Museum. You can find scans of whole Christmas Wish Books at Sherry Lou Toys website. Also this month Plaid Stallions is featuring some retro catalog pages.
|SEARS did okay on the GI Joe layout. Click to enlarge|
|Sears also did okay on this Captain Action page. Click to enlarge.|
|THE NEXT TWO PAGES DEMONSTRATE WHY I BELIEVE MONTGOMERY WARD'S WISH BOOK WAS THE COOLEST CHRISTMAS WISH BOOK OF ALL TIME!|
|Click To Enlarge|
|Click to enlarge|
|WARDS CHARLIE'S ANGELS & DONNY & MARIE|
|JC PENNY'S 1980|