Making My Christmas Wish List From the 1986 Sears Christmas Wish Book

Now that we’re past Halloween, it’s time to start turning our attention to Christmas!  I know to some it may be early, but ever since I was a kid, you always had to get an early start on the Christmas season.  That’s because back then, the annual Sears Christmas Wish Book would arrive in the mail in mid-October.  I’d spend days on end pouring over all of that years offerings and circling all the cool stuff I wanted.

So in that grand tradition, let’s take a trip back in time to 1986 and re-visit the pages of that years Wish Book, and make a list of all the cool stuff I would have liked to receive that holiday season!


What better way to stay warm in the coming winter than with a sweater showing your support for your favorite NFL football team?  I imagine these looked nice back in their day, but I can also see the word “tacky” written all over them in the mid-90’s.  But these days, they have a cool retro look and I would happily parade around town sporting one of these.  Add this to my list this year honey.  Let me get a 49ers one in XL.

As for whats available these days, I kind of dig these intentionally ugly NFL team sweaters.



Boy, did my parents ever regret getting me a drum set like this.  For probably 12 solid hours after getting it for Christmas, I banged away on it.  But unfortunately for me, the quality of the drum faces were just thick paper, and I busted all of them within two days of getting the set for Christmas.  Honey, add this to the list as well so I can relive those glory days.



Quite a while back, I wrote an article lamenting things I wanted as a kid but never had.  On that list was a chemistry set, as well as that sweet rock tumbler pictured there.  Every year I included these two items on my wish list, but never got them.  To this day, I still want to mix chemicals and see what happens.  Unfortunately for me, that consists of mixing ammonia with window cleaner to make it stronger :-(.  Let’s just go ahead and circle both of these items too.
Back in the day, I saw these sets listed year after year, and while I thought they looked kinda cool, I just had so much other stuff to put on my list that I skipped them.  Nowadays, with wood work being my passion and my means of income, I wish I had put these on those lists years ago.  We’ll just circle them and get them on the list for this year.  That way, work time could feel a lot more like play time.
I guess the Karate excitement created by the Karate Kid in 1984 was still high even in ’86.  I had the white set in the top photo, and used them as pajamas most of the time.  But when I was out of the bed and running around in this, I was king of the basement.  I could use a new set of pajamas, so let’s circle this one too.  Maybe my cousin Tim can get the black set, and the two of us square off all these years later in an epic rematch of our karate death match from 1985 when I played Daniel and he played Johnny.
Now we’re getting to the good stuff!  Here a while back, I posed a question in the forum over at Retro-Daze describing a truck toy that I had as a young kid, and Vaporman87 suggested that it may have been from the Tonka Steel Monsters line. I did a little research and found him to be exactly right!  I had that Destroyer dump truck pictured above and used it as a Dreadnok War Machine during many battles with G.I. Joe.  I never owned the Thunder Machine from the G.I. Joe line, so I used this instead, and it was awesome!  Now that I remember what I missed, let’s go ahead and circle this one too!
Oh my goodness!  Oh my goodness!  Look at those killer graphics!  Look at all the titles available!  It even has a gun!  I want this Nintendo thing and I want it bad!  That was 1986 me…and you know what, 2017 me still feels the same way.  Just circle the entire page.  On a related note, I think I actually want one of the SNES Classics, pre-modded, and filled to the brim with games.  I can just picture this coming Christmas day, ignoring the wife and kids and banging out 20 straight hours re-living my youth while Sptringsteen’s “Glory Days” plays in the background.
Lego was a big part of my childhood, and it seemed like the sets featured in the yearly wish book were never readily found on store shelves in my area.  I always circled sets from the Castle sets, and later on from the pirate sets.  Never got them, so let’s just circle that Castle featured here.  And might as well circle that Shell Station too.
Just circle the entire page right now!  As a lot of you may already know, G.I. Joe is my all time #1 favorite toy.  I was fortunate enough to get the Terror Drome, the Tomahawk, and the Dreadnox Swampfire for Christmas ’86.  But since those are long gone from my life, again I say, just circle the entire page right now!  When we actually get to December, I’ve got a really fun article coming detailing the toys I actually got for Christmas in 1986, and the Terror Drome plays a feature role in that article.  Go ahead, get excited for it.  It will be a long in a few short weeks.
Before G.I. Joe and Cobra battled for my heart, Masters of the Universe ruled my bedroom.  But by ’86, the shine had worn off a little, and a lot of that may have to do with the selection available this late in the toy’s run.  That is with the exception of the Eternia playset.  That thing rocked 7 different ways, and I really wish I had gotten it to go along with Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain.  Most of the figures shown here weren’t that exciting, and I already had Buzz-Off and Battle Armor He-Man, so Eternia is the only thing I feel I need to circle on this page.
Transformers were never really on my radar, but my cousin Tim(who was also my neighbor) was big into them, so I messed with them a little.  I’m sure he would have circled several things on this page.  I was intrigued back in the day by the Insecticons, but that was about it.  But lets circle some random things here for Tim.
Now here’s some more stuff I can add to the list!  I’ll take that WWF Superstars Ring, the MUSCLE Ring, and thrown in that Cpl. Kirchner action figure too.  Now, what was more likely to happen, is that I would circle the WWF ring, but my parents would buy the cheaper generic ring also pictured on the page.  I wouldn’t really complain about that, as I would still end up with a wrestling ring, and it would have left more money in the budget to be used for other cool stuff.
I grew up loving slot car tracks, and would get one for Christmas about every other year.  I had #3 pictured above, but didn’t get it in this season.  Must have been a later one.  Let’s just add all of these to the list and create one huge mega track and race the afternoon away.
Fun side story:  When I was really young, my brother got a new slot car track for Christmas.  I can’t remember what year it was exactly, but Christmas fell on a Tuesday night, and my Mom took my brother and I to church for that evening’s services.  My Dad’s friend came over just before we left, and they started playing with the slot car track.  They were both highly competitive men, and both liked to gamble, so they started putting money down on the races.  They raced so hard, for so long, that all the electricity they were pumping through the track melted sections of it and ruined my brother’s Christmas present.  My Mom was pissed.  The next morning, my old man had to go out and buy another track to replace the one he had ruined the night before.
For any of you reading this who may be like my old man, I’ll just leave this link here for you:  Gambler’s Anonymous
Well, we’re at the end of this highly abbreviated look at a Sear Christmas Wish Book from the 80’s.  It’s been a lot of fun looking back into the past at something I used to look so forward to.  Thanks for joining me on the journey, and I would absolutely love to hear about the things you saw in those old Wish Books and wanted.  Whether you got it or not, what sticks out in your memory as things you saw in these old Wish Books.

Share the retro fun!