The holidays have officially arrived, and this year holds extra excitement as Sear’s has brought back their annual holiday Wish Book – a tradition that the holiday had discontinued in 2011.
Sears Wish List images credited to Mike Mozart
Richard Sears created his first printed mailer advertisement in 1888, advertising watches and jewelry. In the decade that followed, the mailer quickly expanded to include so much more, including clothing, eyeglasses, bicycles, sewing machines, musical instruments, and saddles. By 1899 catalog even featured color images of carpets, furniture, and china.
In 1933, Sears added a holiday catalog to their lineup, originally called the Sears Christmas Book, right in the midst of the Great Depression. This first Christmas catalog contained battery-powered cars, Mickey Mouse toys, fruitcakes and, sticking with their once slogan of “Sears has everything”, even live canaries.
In 2017, a slimmed-down digital version of Sears’ catalog will allow shoppers to click into pages and add items to a wish list by selecting a “heart” icon. To get your hands on a physical copy, you need to be considered one of Sears’ “best members,” or a participant of the company’s Shop Your Way loyalty program. Tangible copies of the look book will be limited, according to Sears.
While Sears opted to stop issuing the Big Book Catalog in 1993, they created the Christmas Wish Book through 2011. The Wish Book has now brought back, but with a modern twist – it’s a slimmed-down digital version of which primarily will be viewed in digital format, allowing shoppers to click into pages and add items to a wish list by selecting a “heart” icon. Only those considered one of Sears’ “best members,” or a participant of the company’s Shop Your Way loyalty program will be able to get their hands on the physical copies of the Wish Book, which will be limited.
“It’s about these memories,” Sears marketing chief Kelly Cook told CBS News. “Our belief, especially since we brought something back to life that our members asked for, is that it’s something we can stand on this holiday season.”
Like the Sears Big Book, the historic issues of the Sears Wish Book can be an excellent resource for genealogists. Check out our previous blog where we shared tips for using Ancestry.com’s Sears Catalog Database to gather clues for your research. With the return of the Wish Book, it’s exciting to know that someday our decedents will have access to the same sort of cultural history.