Making an Old School Wishlist

Featured Geek Culture Parenting
Transformers, Thundercats, Masters of the Universe, and G.I.Joe.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been making wishlists and shopping lists for birthdays and holidays on Amazon. Pretty much every modern shopping site has a wishlist feature, and, if it doesn’t, you can use the Amazon plugin to add things from external sites to your Amazon wishlist.

Owen brought his catalog to Sebastian’s house to show him the cool toys. Photo by Will James.

Until my mom handed my son this year’s Target winter catalog, I had all but forgotten about paper catalogs. Seeing my two-year-old flip wildly through the pages, mouth agape, childhood memories flooded my brain–hours spent scouring Sears catalogs for what I wanted, circling items in pen, making notes, and then handing the catalog to my parents only after triple checking I had selected the right things. Was I sure I wanted to ask for Jetfire knowing it meant not getting any other Transformers? Or should I ask for some smaller Transformers in hopes of also getting a couple of G.I. Joe figures and Thundercats?

Not surprisingly, this was Owen’s favorite page.

Surprisingly, paper catalogs are not dead but they are, apparently, very difficult to intentionally get your hands on. I reached out to Target, Toys “R” Us, and several other retailers to ask how I could get my hands on their holiday catalogs, and I got similar answers from most of them–they send them to existing customers they think will want them.

Toys “R” Us was the only one with a specific sign-up form, but it was already too late to sign-up for this year as of early November. That’s right, early November was too late to ask for a catalog for 2015. You can, of course, find the catalogs if you visit the stores in person, but that means an extra trip to a store you probably want to make as few visits to as possible during the holiday season.

For days, Owen kept asking to see the picture of the giant animal puzzle. I can’t wait to see his face when he gets the actual thing.

Fat Brain Toys is another one we like because they sell, mostly, educational toys. They also do have a sign-up form to get their catalogs, though that will get you all of them, not just the holiday one.

So next year I’m going to, unfortunately, have to go in search of catalogs in September or October because, as much as it pains me to have to be thinking about holiday shopping that early, I loved watching my son have that same experience of wide-eyed excitement with every turn of the page. It’s not something an online wishlist will ever be able to capture. We’ll see how long I can keep him interested in making an old school wishlist.

But in the meantime, I’ll keep using online wishlists. My favorites are Amazon, Target, and ThinkGeek. Are there other online wishlists you like using? Do you have any fond memories of catalog “wishlist” making? I’d love to hear about them.

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6 thoughts on “Making an Old School Wishlist

  1. Searching through Amazon for toys isn’t the same as search through a catalog. A catalog is as if they brought all the cool stuff and put it in one place. Amazon as soo much crap toys the kids get frustrated wading through them.

  2. Over the weekend me and my son actually discussed Christmas wishlists and how much I miss him making them. Even though my he isn’t much for toys, at 12, he still loves getting the ‘holiday’ catalogs and going through them. But his ‘wishlist’ is now found on Steam 🙁

  3. I’m sad to say that I too have a large Steam wishlist, but I keep it to myself. I’m trying to not think about those days in our future when my son is “too old” for the things I love doing with him. Thanks for reading!

  4. Great stuff. I loved looking through those catalog hell I look through the toys r us holiday ad going ooo. I can’t wait til my son is old enough to enjoy his toys and games.

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