The Story of a... Christmas Wish List

There was a time when making one was as much a holiday custom as trimming the tree. But not anymore.

“I just happened. I don’t know exactly when, but at some point people all over the world began writing down what they wanted for Christmas. I don’t look a day over 150 years old, though I’m much older than that.”

“Spanish, Russian, French, Thai, English, Mandarin, whatever language people write in is OK by me. Misspelled words don’t bother me either. I have seen ‘Etch A Sketch’ spelled a thousand different ways.”

“I have seen it all, really. When you’re all about materialism, there is no wish that could surprise you. But it’s the wishes that aren’t for toys
or skateboards that get you. When a kid writes that all he wishes for is love or food or a kidney, well, that tears you apart.”

“The Sears Wish Book and I were a team. When that thing arrived at a home, the kids fought over it and wish lists were written and rewritten a dozen times. It was sad to watch the Wish Book fade to obsolescence, and me along with it.”

“My best years are well in the past. Kids just don’t write down their wishes like they used to, back in the good ol’ days [laughing]. I miss the ’50s and ’60s, even the ’70s, when young baby boomers were great for my ego. But when they became parents, oh geez, they killed me. To them, Christmas could come any day of the year for their kids.”

“It’s not my job to make wishes come true. My job is to give hope that wishes will come true. A woman who wants jewelry for Christmas and gets a new vacuum cleaner isn’t going to take her disappointment out on me.”

“It bothered me, quite a lot actually, that I always played second fiddle to a fictitious character. I mean, I was real. He was and still is a marketing gimmick. I was tangible the second a kid put pencil to paper and wrote his first wish. ‘Radio Flyer sled, hula hoop, Spirograph, Barbie doll, G.I. Joe, Easy-Bake Oven, Star Wars light saber. . . I am an archive of generations of Christmas wishes. Where’s my Norman Rockwell painting?”

“Yeah, no Nintendo game consoles, Power Rangers or iPods made my top 5 because kids didn’t have to list them to get them from their overindulgent parents. Let’s change the subject. Just thinking about
this gets the lead in my pencil riled up.”

“What do I wish for? Wow, no one has ever asked me that. Hmm, I wish I could have my job back.”

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