Second World War: Christmas Gifts from the Sears Roebuck Catalog

During the Second World War, a light-hearted relative fashioned homemade Christmas gifts from the Sears Roebuck Catalog.

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The United States had entered the Second World War. Nobody felt much like celebrating, but when we were together at Thanksgiving in the home of Aunt Gladys and Uncle John, Uncle John brought out the Sears Roebuck Catalog and a pen. He said, "I'm going to pass this around. I want everyone to find something you want for Christmas and write your name beside it in this catalog." 

"What in the world?" I thought. "Uncle John must have a hidden gold mine. How else could he think of giving everyone of us what we want?"

In spite of the puzzlement, we took up the challenge and had a great time deciding just where to write our names.

When Christmas finally came, we were together again. Uncle John, Aunt Gladys and their family were the last to arrive. They were loaded down with carefully wrapped packages.

As always there was the traditional meal, cleanup, and singing of carols. Then it was gift passing time. There were some real gift exchanges that year because we drew names to see for whom we should buy a gift. After those gifts were passed out, Uncle John started to distribute the gifts he had brought. What excitement!

Each elaborately wrapped package held the catalog picture with a name written on or beside it. Whatever you wrote your name on you got, along with a piece of candy, a stick of gum or some other small token of love.

Lois Denham
Sioux City, Iowa

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.