December 19, 2013

Ghost of Christmas Past

I find myself in a nostalgic mood this morning. The decline of slick magazines and newspapers in this digital age has been much documented. But the demise of the catalog really hits home this time of year. When I was a kid. the excitement was almost palpable the day the first Christmas catalog arrived in late fall. It was the harbinger of the Season. Montgomery Ward's, JC Penney, sometimes Sears were the embodiment of Santa's workshop at our house. My brother and I would comb the pages looking for that magical gift; That Thing We Must Have. We dogeared the pages, looking through the selections again and again to make sure we did not miss a single toy option.

We lived in a small town. There was no big department store full of toys. The catalog was our lifeline to possibilities. Yet, as great as the toys were, they were never the same when lifted from their intricately photographed settings. There was no jungle hiding the GI Joe in my bedroom. That nifty truck caught splashing across a a rock-filled raging creek was not so exciting when it was pushed across the carpet of home. Major Matt Mason was slightly less awesome when there was not a barren moonscape to traverse in his space buggy.

Do you think forty years from now a pathetic old guy will reminisce about the days he scrolled through the Target ads on his iPad, looking at toys?

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