Did you make wish lists for Christmas when you were a child? I remember carefully going through the toy catalogs and circling the items I wanted for Christmas. I’d then mark a big “C” so my mom would know I was the one who hoped to find this cherished item under the tree on Christmas morning.
We lived far from shopping, so catalogs were a great way for us to browse the season’s offerings. As an adult, I also realized the advantage of having children “shop” by catalog rather than in the store. Impulse buying was out. Mom couldn’t be influenced by plucking an item off the shelf and waving it in front of her face.
Perhaps that’s why I love the movie, A Christmas Story. Ralphie works so hard to “hint” to his parents what he wants. Knowing his mother disapproves only makes him try harder. Thinking back to some of my oddball requests as a child, the one that must have perplexed my parents was my deep desire for walkie-talkies. These little gems would allow me to stay in contact with my brother while we, ace child detectives, were on the hunt for evidence. (Can you tell I read all the Nancy Drew books?) They were also pretty expensive, and I didn’t think I stood a chance of receiving them.
Then came Christmas morning. At the appropriate time, after dad turned on the lights and we wished mom Merry Christmas, my brother and sister and I raced into the living room. To my utter joy, there sat my walkie-talkie set. My delight was so great that I remember it to this day, many decades later.
Imagine asking for something even more audacious than a pricey gift from the catalog. In Mail Order Mommy, little Sadie wants a new mother for Christmas. She writes about this for her school paper, even suggesting exactly who that new mommy should be. Once her teacher reads this, the adults get involved. Unfortunately, Sadie’s father doesn’t want to get married to anyone but especially not to the woman Sadie named. She resembles his late wife far too much. How will Sadie ever get her Christmas wish?
Did you make Christmas wish lists when you were a child? What gift did you most want—and most fear you wouldn’t get?
Mail Order Mommy (LIH, Nov 2016)