Who doesn’t love wishing? Humankind has been inventing new ways to wish on things for as long as any of us can remember.
In my lifetime I have made a wish upon a star and I have blown out birthday candles and wished with all my mite.
I don’t know about your family, but in mine, after the Thanksgiving turkey had been fully dismantled, the wishbone was set aside to dry. Later, two people pull until it snaps. Whoever is holding the prong with the top still connected is going to get their wish.
Looking back though, most of my biggest wishes were made on a book. A book? Yes, a book. Like most children of the 70’s and 80’s, my largest hopes, dreams, wants and needs all existed within the mecca of childhood magic-the Annual Sears Wish Book.
There were a variety of gift catalogues that came in the mail. Montgomery Wards, Kmart, Radio Shack and Children’s Palace. But the biggest and best of them all was the Sears Wish Book.
I could flip through those glorious pages over and over and over again. I would make up little games, such as choosing one item off of each page. Some pages were harder than others. How could I possibly choose either Peaches and Cream Barbie or the Magic Curl Barbie? Must I really make the call between Connect Four or Operation games? It was a game that kept this only child (at the time) entertained and it also made me realize which items were at the absolute top of my list.
Sometimes I would play a game where I could pick one entire page of the catalogue and receive every item on the page. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Even that proved to be quite stressful the year Care Bears and Cabbage Patch Dolls were popular. How on earth could I pick just one page?
Trust me when I say, I know the toys and other gifts are not what the holidays are about. I was raised to learn the story of Bethlehem and taught that family time together was truly the most valuable part of season. But gee whiz, thumbing through the Hasbro and Mattel filled pages really excited a kid.
I really felt the years I received my electric train set, Lincoln Logs, Snoopy Snow-Cone Machine and Michael Jackson Thriller album, it was the extra hard wishes on the Sears advertisements that led to my good fortune.
I have really tried to instill the same meanings about the true reason for the season to my children, that my grandparents and parents ingrained in me. I have also relished in their excitement about some of the special items in which their holiday wishes have revolved.
Before the days of simple online shopping, I can remember many years of standing in line on Black Friday in the dark and cold to grab the toy of the year for one of my littles.
An encounter with my six-year-old son Maverick made me wonder if my combined celebration of the true meaning and the added parts of the holiday have sunk in correctly or not.
Recently I walked into our living room to find Mav laying on his stomach, perched above a Target toy catalogue, marker in hand. I was instantly transported back to my childhood.
At first, I didn’t let Mav know I was watching him. I silently peered from above while he circled Legos, superhero figures and hockey equipment galore.
I finally asked him what he was doing, and he responded he was circling everything that he is going to get for Christmas. I explained that wasn’t probably the case. He might receive some of the things that were circled, but things cost a lot of money and you can’t really expect to get everything.
He explained to me that he had been so very good this year, and in fact a few of the things he circled were actually for his sisters. I was buying the business about being good, as Mav is a witty and spunky, but well-behaved boy, but I wasn’t convinced some of the circled items were for his sisters. I do not know many teenage girls who have their fingers crossed for the Monster Truck Downhill Race and Go Track Set or Play Dough dinosaur molds this year.
I once again explained Christmas was about more than toys and that Mom and Dad couldn’t possibly afford every toy he had circled.
He agreed with me and said his father and I didn’t need to bare the load of the entire list. Mav looked at me and said, “Mom, I figure everything will get covered between you and Dad, Santa and Jesus.”
I feel like somewhere down the line, something went wrong with some of my teachings…
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