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  • Writer's pictureLisa Safran

Sears Wish Book Returns

Sears Department Stores recently announced that they're bringing back its "Wish Book." They claim that customers missed it, so they've created a smaller yet still hefty printed version that will go to "best members" of the store.

I grew up on the "Sears Wish Book" holiday catalog. Literally. It was so thick, we'd use it as a step stool to reach sinks and top shelves. This 400-plus-page catalog appeared every year just in time to start going through hundreds of pages of stuff that would bring my family closer, increase my style, and offer hours of fun. (In fact, the book sometimes expanded to well over 600 pages!) The Wish Book was all about dreaming of things that would never be. Sears was not located close to our home, online shopping didn't exist, and we weren't much of a mail order family. Plus, my parents would have laughed if I said, "can we all get matching pajamas like on page 225?" But I do recall the experience of sifting through this colossal shopper's guide, over and over again, until the holidays arrived. Oh, the joy of shopping in my bed, in my PJs! The product shots, the copy blurbs, the gadgets, the happy models—it was all there fueling my future career as an advertising copywriter.

The Sears catalog had the weight and softcover flexibility of a phone book to make it feel heavy in my lap without the cutting jabs of hardcover edges. The pages were smooth and thin, with a disintegrative quality especially when I had too much spit on my fingers for advancing pages. It smelled of printing. It wreaked of Christmas. The Sears Wish Book was the mother of all holiday catalogs. We even saved them each year in a quasi-encyclopedic retail reference collection.

Today, there are hashtags and communities eagerly awaiting the return of the physical book. Facebook has communities sharing excitement for a trip down nostalgia lane. "Best members"—get ready. Wish Book is coming for you.

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