I have fond memories every Christmas season waiting for the big Sears Wish book to arrive at our doorstep so I could circle all the toys that I wanted Santa to bring me. It was a big deal in my home and the only time my brother and I would not fight as we turned each page together pointing and squealing with delight at everything that appeared before us.

Sears Wish Book 1950s

The Sears wish book still exists today but other Christmas Catalogues that appeared long before Sears did were the Canadian department stores Eaton’s and Simpsons (which would later join forces with the American store Sears to become Simpsons-Sears).

Just like I dreamed of the toys in the Sears Wish book, Children before me dreamed about Christmas morning when they looked at the pages of the Eaton’s & Simpsons catalogues, knowing that they would receive only a few gifts from their pages but were still very excited none the less.

For today’s blog I wanted to share some festive vintage cover photos from these catalogues because they are to darn wonderful not to share. Lets browse shall we?


Christmas 1903-Eaton’s featured a wonderful looking Gibson Girl, all fantastically decked out in reds and furs. This is some delightful artwork.

Eatons vintage christmas catalogue 1903
Source: The CDR

1905 I believe is focusing in on all the toys that the kids are dreaming of getting as they write Santa their wish lists (seen to the right leaving with their letters).

Eatons Christmas Catalogue 1905
Source: Archives of Ontario

1906 Simpson Christmas Gifts Book. Santa is a bit scary looking in this photo I must say.

Simpson Christmas Catalogue
Source: Library & Archives Canada

Eaton’s Catalogues were also distributed in the Western Provinces and from my understanding usually had a different image then central Canada.

Source: Wikimedia

This 1937 Sears Christmas book I think is my favorite of all the images shown here. The excitement on these children’s face is perfect and exactly how I remember being on Christmas morning. I also am loving the little boys head of curls, adorable!

1937 Sears Christmas Catalogue
Source: Wish Book Web

1944 Sears Christmas Book-Dolls and Stuffed Animals for every good little good girl & boy.

1944 Sears Christmas Book
Source: Wish book web

1947 Sears Christmas Book with mini Santa or a very big present and regular sized Santa.

Sears 1947 Christmas Catalogue
Source: Wish Book Web


Eaton’s launched Punkinhead, the teddy bear with the thick woolly tuft of hair, for the Christmas season of 1948.

The story of the little bear who eventually gets to be in Santa’s Parade charmed children for the next decade and everyone would cheer for Santa’s little helper in the Parade.

Eaton’s distributed story booklets of the sweet little bear’s adventures and featured Punkinhead on records and television commercials (Source).

Eaton's Mail Order Christmas Book, 1954-55 (Toronto)
Source: Ontario Archives

All I want for Christmas is a cute and cuddly-Punkinhead!

Eatons Christmas Catalogue 1956

Cute Giraffe alert! This is such a great image, I want a hug from Santa now.

Simpson-Sears 1957 Christmas Catalogue

Eaton’s 1959. Is there a message in this image? Because why is Santa being a puppeteer to these children? Maybe Santa equals the stores/retail and they run the show?? ohhhh maybe. Or maybe it’s just a picture and nothing more? Who knows.

1959 Eatons Christmas Catalogue
Source: Ontario Archives

So many fun catalogue images, I could go on and on but I will end it here today.

Question for todays blog: Do you have a memory of looking thru a Sears book or maybe an equivalent department store for your Christmas presents? Or maybe it was a family trip to the toy store to look that way? Whatever it is I would love to hear your memories.

Happy Holidays!

Liz 🙂


4 comments on “Vintage Christmas Catalogues”

  1. That Eaton’s one with icicles makes me shiver. It looks so cold and dark! I don’t know why Santa is the master puppeteer. We could just waltz into a Sear’s if we wanted Sear’s clothes, but we have no Eaton’s.

    • No eatons was only Canadian and sadly closed now. Yes the icicle one is cold but then I’m already cold so does not matter lol

  2. This wonderful post makes me feel all warm and fuzzy with nostalgia. The Sears Wish Book was the be all to end all on the catalog front in my family when I was a kid. I haven’t come across a pre-60s vintage one in person yet, but if I ever do, unless they want an insane fortune for it, I will definitely be bringing it home with me to relive those lovely childhood memories of laying on my stomach in front of the Christmas tree daydreaming for hours on end about what Santa might bring me if I was really lucky (albeit with 80s/90s versions back then).

    ♥ Jessica

    • Wonderful memories 🙂 I would love to have a vintage sears catalog or two as well, that would be fantastic! Merry Christmas!

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