Christmas is Coming!

A whole lot could be written about Christmas but instead of focusing on just Bentonville, who used to put a big decorated tree on the square, complete with presents, back in the 20’s, I wanted to touch on something we all remember – The Sears Christmas Wish Book!

Although they had started offering a catalog as far back as 1888, by the 30’s they realized that they were missing an opportunity, and that was to cater to children too. In 1934 they published their first Christmas Wish Book, a catalog that had a few features for adults, like coats and pajamas – mostly winter wear – but the rest of which was geared to the kids. I don’t know about you, but I can bet you did just what my brothers and I did – you found the coolest stuff you wanted and circled it and put your name on it.

That way Santa would know exactly what you wanted! It’s in the book! With your name on it even!

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Wal-Mart had a lot of the stuff on the shelves by the time I was growing up. I could go see it for myself. But there was a world of stuff out there that they didn’t.

I always, for years after I probably should have known better, put out milk and cookies for Santa. Wouldn’t want him to be hungry and find NOTHING! Then what would happen? No presents? Coal in my stocking? You’d better believe I left stuff for him. Taking no chances.

Share with us on Facebook your favorite Christmas memories. You won’t regret passing it along. My mom always shared the story at Christmas in which they were very poor and my grandfather had gone away for work. They lived in a dirt floor shack. My grandmother was a teacher, but depression times were hard. She got a little doll and a little straw broom. That was all they could afford. Although she passed last year, I’ll always remember that story of her sad Christmas, few toys and no dad at home. Like many of the children today who have lost a parent to death or divorce, have a parent serving overseas in the military.

The Bentonville History Museum encourages you to not only share these stories with your children and grandchildren but also to write them down for future children. While you’re at it, spend a day or two a month writing down the things you remember about your childhood, not just Christmas. The magic of Christmas and your story of it and your childhood and how you got by and survived should not be lost. It is to be cherished and remembered.

Happy Holidays From the Bentonville History Musem!