(Spoiler alert – Santa is discussed openly in this blog. Young children should be excused from the room.)
Well, the Holidays are upon us once again. Time to trim the tree, plan the recipes and write the Christmas cards. By show of hands – who still writes Christmas cards? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Yet another joy Facebook has robbed from us. Burn, Mark Zuckerberg! Personally I love receiving Christmas cards. I think it’s a long-time tradition that is rapidly taking a backseat to social media. I enjoy seeing pictures of people throughout the year on my smart phone, but come December I want a card in the mailbox. I feel the only letters I get these days are from bill collectors and my mother. I have many bills and only one mom, so the odds that I want to actually walk to the mailbox are very slim.
In 2015 the Greeting Card Association reported that over one billion Christmas Cards were purchased. I got 37. I feel that’s fair, as there are well over 100 million households in America and I’m not terribly greedy. Plus, this stat doesn’t take into account the millions of letter kids write Santa Claus each year. I stopped writing Santa two years ago, but the idea of Santa still makes me happy.
When I wrote Santa as a child, it was with the mindset that if I put it down on the paper with my crayon, it would appear under the tree. Simple enough. Hey, isn’t it interesting that we write letters to Santa for what we want, but we don’t write thank you notes back to him? Do you think this feeds into the “expectant attitude” Americans have now? Just thinking out loud here.
We didn’t have the internet when I was 7, so we would get ideas on what we wanted from Santa by looking through the biggest, best book in the whole wide world – The Sears, Roebuck & Company Christmas Wishbook. Oh, I remember what a special day it was when this 500-page literary masterpiece would arrive in the mail. This was back when I enjoyed getting the mail. Back before car payments and overdraft fees.
I couldn’t wait to look through it. I would need complete privacy as I submerged myself into another world. There was a full two-page spread of Star Wars figurines. I’ll need five, please. There were Batman vehicles with movable wheels and opening doors. I’ll need that. Don’t forget Flash Gordon and his inflatable rocket ship, which parents could air up and suspend on a string from the ceiling. Amazing!
Transformers and Go-Bots made the catalog in 1985, waging their own war for the attention of the youngest generation. I don’t have to tell you who won that major conflict, as today no one owns the Go-Bot Trilogy on Blu Ray.
Over the years I’ve lost track of the Sears Catalog. By the time I was in high school I was looking at the ads for stereos and these new computers everyone kept talking about. My “Wishbook” eventually turned into real cars and real life, but I look fondly back on the winter afternoons I spent on the shag carpet circling wishes with a crayon.
So, what’s in your Grown-up Wishbook this holiday season? If you had a magic crayon, what would you circle? You know, if you write it down with expectation, you just may get it under the tree.