12.03.2014

Pick One Thing

sharing wishes

You can only pick one thing, my sister would say, which would prompt my bargaining to begin in earnest.

What if I pick two things on this page, and skip the next page?

No, she’d say, that’s not allowed, and besides, you’ll cheat.

The Wish Book sat heavy between us, our small laps a shared tabletop as we flipped each page—wishes made, wishes still to come. My sister was right, of course; I’d never want to skip a pick on the next page, and would push my reckoning well past the toy section, the clothing section, the jewelry, until we got to the bedspreads and the game was over. Our imaginary treasure boxes were filled to bursting and we had exhausted both the pages of the catalogue, as well as the fantastical Christmas list desires of two young girls.

That we didn’t celebrate Christmas was hardly the point.

We knew that there would be no tree, no Santa, no stockings, no gift list a mile long to present to eager parents. But there would be night after night of two small girls sitting on a couch, haggling over the merits of each of us picking a different superhero sleeping bag, and whether or not we would actually share the bounty, as we assured each other we hypothetically could. That the entire exercise was theoretical was perfectly unimportant. We would often call our mother over to look at an item we were particularly excited about.

Pick one thing, she’d tell us, and maybe for Hanukkah…

So we’d scan the catalogue again and again, unaware of our place in this grand holiday tradition, focusing all of our energy on narrowing down our choice.

* * *

The snow has finally begun—snow that assures us the winter weather is here; that this time it’s sticking around. I’m busy in the kitchen with the kinds of things mothers are often busy with: cleaning off dinner dishes, emptying out school bags. I am taking inventory of the tasks and obligations of the coming week. Parent/teacher interviews, book orders due, a meeting here, an appointment there. I wonder if I will be able to do it all; if I will be able to decide what gets pushed, gets left unfinished.

Hanukkah is coming up soon, followed closely by Christmas. Lucky ducks that they are, my children celebrate both. Hanukkah is songs and latkes and the lighting of the menorah, and customs carried from my own childhood, shared in the relative quiet of our home. Christmas is a feast of family and noise and celebration, and everything I adore about my husband’s background. If my children are spoiled, it is in the very best possible way—in tradition and culture and security and love.

The chores complete, I look in on my two daughters, who sit on the couch in our living room. Their childhood is very different from mine, which makes me at once both nostalgic and hopeful. There’s a fire burning in the fireplace, and a cat grooming herself precariously close to the flames. Between the girls there lays a book, and I recognize it instantly. Not quite as massive as the tome from my own childhood, the girls flip the pages of wishes slowly, methodically.

Oh! I want that, and that one, too my younger daughter cries, but her older sister admonishes her immediately.

No, Cassidy. That’s not how you do it. Look at each page carefully, and pick one thing.


* * *

Want a wish of your own? Sears.ca has generously outfitted me with three $50 gift certificates to give to my readers! Simply leave a comment telling me a favourite memory associated with the Wish Book, or what you would buy yourself or somebody else this year from the Wish Book or Sears.ca. Winners will be drawn on Wednesday, December 10. Good luck!



This post is sponsored by Sears.ca. I was compensated for this post, but all thoughts, opinions and wishes are my own.

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41 comments:

  1. Oh how I love this and the nostalgia it made me feel. Karen, I could smell in the pages of the catalogue in my memory xo

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  2. Funny how you see your childhood repeat with your own children. My brother and I used to take turns looking through the wish book as he liked the boy stuff and not the pink stuff. Bit we did come together on the Lego pages. Planning and building our town. I have memories of even when we were a little older and my parents had to rush my sister to the hospital, we would get out the Lego and build together. I see it now with my own 4. They will all gather and build. It is heartwarming to know it all started with a wish

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  3. I loved pouring over the Wish Book with My sister. This year, with the gift certificate, if buy a coffee maker that actually switched off, for my in laws. They always forget, leading to a burning smell and fire risk.

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  4. Love this - I also Chanukah wish booked ;) Though I won't lie, sometimes I still do this by myself flipping through magazines...imagining which pair of absurdly expensive heels I would choose....

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  5. I grew up making Xmas lists that included Wish Book page numbers. My kids haven't done that, but they do pour over it at my mother's house.

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  6. A memory I have with the wish book is eagerly awaiting for my mom to pick it up and then flipping to the back of the book where the toys were. I would dream about what doll I wanted and check out the Easy Bake ovens with the cute cake mixes.

    ajmizen(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  7. I remember when the wish book was delivered, my sister and I would go thru and circle everything I mean everything.

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  8. We'd play that game, too! We called it The Catalog Game and it got pretty tricky in the tools and mens shoes parts of the catalog.
    N has been yearning over the cat storage ottoman in this year's Wishbook. So I'd get her that.

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  9. I remember carefully folding back the corners of the pages I wanted to look at again. This year I have my eye on a beautiful comforter for my 7 year old.

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  10. I love looking at the sears wishbook with my son. He circles everything he wants or would like. Of course he knows he isnt getting it all, theyre 'ideas' :) Good memories so far.

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    1. slip_of_the_knot666@hotmail(dot)com

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  11. Every year as a child I would wait to make my Christmas list until the Sears Wish Book would come out. Once it did I would cut the pictures out and paste them to paper... by the time I was done there was nothing left to the toys section!

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  12. You had to get it first before the next sibling cut pictures out of it

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  13. I loved circling the toys I wanted. It was really exciting before the Internet changed things a bit. I always circled that Doll Head that you could style her hair. Every year I asked for it. And I never got it. My mom said every time she tried to order they were sold out.

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  14. I remember going the the Sears Wish Book and circling a CABBAGE PATCH DOLL! Man, I feel old now. LOL!!

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  15. I loved that book! the texture and the smell are fond memories. So many toys and I would mark what I wanted with my designated color.

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  16. I remember circling all o the stuff I wanted! Toys, clothes, you name it ;)

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  17. I always wanted all of the girly/mommy things in the wishbook. I remember telling my mom to choose something from what I circled

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  18. I remember getting the wish book and picking out the items I wanted to add to my Santa list.

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  19. I used to love reading the wishbook, and dreaming about all the exciting toys. I still get excited when the catalog comes, though my daughter isn't quite as hooked....yet.

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  20. I would buy my daughter & I each a onesie. It gets cold here

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  21. I used to cut out the pictures of what I wanted and stick them in my Christmas letter to Santa. My daughter does the same today. :)

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  22. Between my brother, my sister & myself, we had our Wishbook pretty scribbled up almost as soon as we got it.... we all had our own colour of pen to circle the things we wanted.....

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  23. I remember waiting for the wishbook and circling everything we wanted (as we were 3 kids we had 3 differents colors)

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  24. We used to flip through the pages like mad until they were do eared. Then we'd circle our favorites and leave hints for mom

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  25. We used to get so excited to be able to see so many new toys, especially since we lived in a rural area. It was our chance to feel like we were in the city! lol We spent hours pouring over the items, dog-earing the pages, circling what we wanted, and even going so far as to list the page number and item on our list to Santa! lol

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  26. I remember being soo excited when the new Wish Book finally arrived! I would skip straight to the toy section, and begin circling everything that I could possibly dream of wanting. I'd spend hours in there! Was probably the best entertainment for me haha

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  27. we would cut out the toys we wanted and make a collage of them.

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  28. I remember the anticipation of what would be of the next page, as I flipped it over, I would think it displayed everything I ever longed for in my childhood. I would then turn the page over and the next would be even better! I'm hoping to share all this excitement with my daughter for years to come. This is her first Christmas (and birthday!!!)!!

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  29. Spending night on the couch day dreaming of all the toys they had and writing our names on what we loved.

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  30. Love this. we would cut out of the toys or makr a big star by them

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  31. Getting the Sears Wish book was so exciting. My sister and I would circle the things we wanted; that way Mom would get the hint and we would be surprised. Of course, what we wanted the most go the biggest circle.

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  32. as a child, I would lie on the living room floor, on my belly, flipping through the pages of the wish book - I would circle all my favourite things! I always looked forward to this!

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  33. I couldn't wait for the Wish Book to come out, when I was a child! I would cut out all of the things that I was going to ask Santa for; just to make sure that he knew exactly what I wanted.

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  34. I remember being so excited to go through the wishbook! I would cut out things I wanted and make a collage for Santa with my mom. Npw I have 2 girls of my own who love to make lists. I will be shopping for them at Sears.

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  35. I always remember the wishbook coming in the mail. My sister and I would fight over it as it was the only catalogue that truly showed off every toy out there! today, I still snatch it as soon as it comes and hide it for mommy preview before my boys get a hold of it. they like to cut out pictures of what they want leaving my catalogue a little holey!!! haha

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  36. My younger sister & I would wait impatiently for my Mom to hand over the #SearsWishBook (usually the first weekend in December!) and we would each circle the items we wanted & write our names beside it! We were allowed to circle as many items per page as we wanted though! LOL Thanks so much for the chance to win!

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  37. I would buy my son a Thomas the Train bed - he loves that bed and he wants one so he can play with his trains in it before he goes to sleep!

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  38. Great post, I fondly remember fighting with my brother over the first look at the wishbook when it came in the mail. I remember cutting out all the things we wanted and making a collage that sat on our fridge. If I won I would buy something for my little one, it's his first xmas this year

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  39. i remember flipping through the Wish Book and circling (in crayon lol) the toys I watned. it was more fun sometimes than the actual present opening

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