Friday, December 22, 2006

The Christmas List

Every year on a Sunday in early October, my mom would hand me the Sears catalogue. She’d tell me to write a list of the things I wanted for Christmas. The rules were clear. Everything on the list had to be priced under $10.00. All of the ordering information must be included to the detail. It was an exercise in gathering information as much as a wishlist of possibilities.

The promise was crystal. I could believe that I would receive one thing from the list.

Oh what an event in serious work making that list would be!

It was always a Sunday. Now I understand why. Children have too much free time on Sundays. Making Christmas lists kept a girl busy for hours. Draw the page as a form. Make columns for the catalogue page number, the item number, the item name, the description, the price, and other information. It was a job before the searching started.

Then, the dreaming. It was a ritual to open the first page of the toy section. I apend all day to looking at each item, considering it’s usefulness, lasting fun value, and chance of being bought. I stopped for meals and returned to my bookmark. Those toys that passed the test were entered using my “very best handwriting.” The whole time I was thoughts of the days I would spend playing.

As I got older I would ask in advance, when it was time to write the Christmas List. I had become part of that day of organizing, shopping, and daydreaming a different life. It was a vacation and a seminar. Pencils, crayons, ballerina dolls, easy-bake ovens, and rollers skates went on the page in order and precisely at the same time they made stories and adventures in my mind.

While I was making this list sometime in each early October, I didn’t know that my mom had all of my presents bought and gathered.

All of my presents were wrapped and ready − all of them, but one on that list, made on day that I lived each year.

I miss the Sears catalogue.

−me strauss Letting me be


Janus Torrell said...

I miss the Sears Catalog too, I used to list everything I wanted and tried to be good enough for Santa for it.

Never managed to be good enough for the brand new Camcorder.

Dawn said...

It really was a wonderful thing to make a Christmas list as a child. Just like you, I took it so seriously, imagining each thing, what I would do with it, how would Santa get it to me,should I ask for something smaller just in case it was too much for Santa or too much to ask for. Oh the soul searching that went on inside of me. The whole previous year would pass before my eyes.

Good memories, Liz. Thank you.

ME Strauss said...

HI Janus,
I could never find a camcorder for $10. But I still miss the Sear catalogue anyway. :)

ME Strauss said...

Hi Dawn,
Christmas lists really are magic, arent' they? They are memories -- the making of them . . . It's almost more memorable what went into making them than the toys that came from what what chosen. :)

Autumn Storm said...

You brought back similar memories for me. In fact, I still make little crosses in this particular catalog each year when I get it. :-)

Merry Christmas, Liz, and a happy New Year.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Autumn Storm,
I smile to think of your making little croses on your catalogue. I know exactly what they mean. :)