Christmas past and presents

When we were growing up, Christmas was heralded by the arrival of the Sears Wish Book and the Easton’s Christmas catalogue. Every Christmas dream began there. Both catalogues are now long gone, and children are now tempted by television commercials and Facebook posts. Before the lockdown, social distancing and other restrictions, today’s youth spread the ideas of best Christmas presents by word of mouth.
Eaton’s no longer exist. Neither does Sears Canada. The catalogues were discontinued years ago. In our household, my brother, sister, and I were restricted to a fixed value of three potential gifts from Santa. It might be a single train set or racing car set. For my sister, it might have been a doll with lots of different outfits. Or it might have been several presents making up the fixed price.
We had to make our final decision by the first week of December. We combed through the pages of the catalogues. We wrote down our ideas. They changed from week to week. We avoided the clothing sections. By the time December arrived, the ink was almost worn off the pages and our greasy fingers had smudged most of the pages with toys.
I was thinking about our Christmases on Third Street when I read an article in the Washington Post over the weekend. I guess there are lots of parents and grandparents who are remembering their childhood Christmas memories. Tonka trucks, Barbie dolls, Hot Wheels, and Lego are among the hottest toys this season. Board games and puzzles are also popular. Adults are wanting their children to experience the same fun times that they did.
Other favourites include Lite-Brite, Play-Doh, Lincoln Logs and Meccano sets. Research has shown that parents want their children to experience individual creativeness. I guess all these old-fashioned toys are like a renaissance for older adults.
Just as the old Wish Books brought ideas of having a farm with a barn and animals, or Meccano sets to build bridges and towers, these old-fashioned toys are filled with nostalgia, rekindling memories of simpler times when children used their imaginations to create items. Lego has never really gone out of style and some of the first things that toddlers learn is how to put together Lego pieces and eventually how to build larger projects.
It is estimated that 1.5 million Care Bears will be sold in the U.S. this year. As the weather cools and more time is spent indoors, families are looking for family entertainment. Board games and puzzles are filling those family home entertainment needs. It is thought that such activities are helping to move children away from screens, where they have been spending most of their day learning. Old-fashioned toys and games are making a comeback.