Christmas gifts that were cool when we were kids


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Kids nowadays all want a computer and smartphone, and Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii video game consoles with a full compliment of videogames. Damn, kids are expensive! I almost never see kids playing baseball or football in the street, or even riding a bicycle anymore.

Which got me to thinking about the gifts that we thought were cool when we were kids. The Internet is an amazing place, my friends. This one falls into the category of "things I never knew existed."

I did a Google search for the Sears Wishbook from the 1960s, and while there are many web sites that come up on a search, I ran across this one that just blew my mind. Talk about taking a trip back in time in Mr. Peabody's WABAC machine!

Someone has actually taken the time to archive the Sears Wishbook (and from other department stores) for posterity all the way back to 1933. Awesome!

I will select 1969 because it goes with the video  below. Here are some of the Christmas gifts that were cool when we were kids. I and my siblings rarely got the Sears version, however (that was the "wish" part). We were poor, so our gifts usually came from Montgomery Ward, or S.S. Kresge (the precursor to K-Mart), or Woolworths, or one of a dozen other dime discount stores that no longer exist today.

Check out the prices! (Not that cheap when adjusted for inflation in today's dollars).

Remember the AM/FM transistor radio with the 9v battery so you could listen to rock n' roll on KTKT 99AM when it was the top rated Top 40 station in Tucson? We had the $2 Japanese transistor radio version.


Screenshot from 2012-12-08 11:00:26

And you had to have a portable record player to play your vinyl 45rpm singles and 33rpm record albums on! Only rich kids had 8-track players and cassette tape players. Vinyl ruled.

Screenshot from 2012-12-08 12:31:03

How about the Schwinn stingray bicycle with the banana seat? (Sears version was the Spyder). You had to have the "sissy bar" on the back. We rode our bikes everywhere — to school, to the park, to the corner store, etc. Kids today have a chauffered car to take them everywhere.

Screenshot from 2012-12-08 11:18:23

We were too poor for shoe skates that we would just grow out of, so we had to use these adjustable slip-on skates (didn't work well).

Screenshot from 2012-12-08 11:09:55

An Erector Set was way too expensive, but we did have some knock-off Leggos. But us kids preferred to play with Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys all the time.

Screenshot from 2012-12-08 11:28:38

This is what passed for "Madden NFL" before there were computers and video games. Yeah, it kinda sucked in hindsight. But it was cool then.

Screenshot from 2012-12-08 11:38:16

I don't recall that we ever had Tonka or Nylint, but rather some cheaper version of toy trucks that we played with all the time. My Dad put a big sand pile in the backyard that got many, many hours of use.


One year us kids had been good enough (OK, I exaggerate) to get a slot-car racing set for Christmas. Oh God, I loved that racing set!

Screenshot from 2012-12-08 12:11:22

And Hot Wheels were first introduced in 1967 — everyone was collecting these cars! I think I could buy these cars 2 for $1 on sale at the time. Definitely far less than $1. If only I had them now — they are worth a fortune.

Screenshot from 2012-12-08 12:24:48

With three sisters there were, of course, the Barbie dolls. Always the Barbies. Back then people actually sewed wardrobes for Barbie. My older cousins gave my sisters Barbie clothes every Christmas that they had hand-sewn (now that says love).

Screenshot from 2012-12-08 12:44:37

There is even this YouTube video dedicated to the 1969 Sears Wishbook catalog — that is how important the Wishbook was to kids back in the day.

So if you have nostalgia for your childhood, pick out your favorite year at and scroll through the pages of the Wishbook catalog. Share the experience with your kids (and watch them roll their eyes). Enjoy!