Tag: Christmas

5 Things I Want from the 1988 Sears Christmas Wish Book, Part 2

Well, Christmas is finally here for this year, and even though there is zero chance I’ll find any of this stuff under my tree, let’s go back to the 1988 Sears Christmas Wish Book once again for to look at five more things I still want from it!  You can check out the first five things I found here:

5 Things I Want from the 1988 Sears Christmas Wish Book, Part 1


Magic Kit

Merlin the Magician Magic Kit

I’ve probably talked about it before on here somewhere, but I’ve been fascinated with magic ever since I saw Lance Campbell perform in the 4th grade talent show at school.  Matter of fact, a lot of the tricks he performed can be found in this very set.  They may even be a good chance that this is the set he used in the show.

Regardless, this thing is full of cool tricks that would amaze your friends.  That is if your friends are eight years old.  But if I had this thing, I’d force my kids to sit on the couch and pretend to be amazed at the astounding acts of magic I was performing.


Willow Toys

Willow Toys

When the movie Willow hit, I was all about it.  Even though I never saw it in the theater, I was hooked from the trailers alone.  Well, that and those cool Willow Magicups that came in Wendy’s kids meals as part of the promotion for the movie.

Even though I hadn’t saw the movie at the time, I would have LOVED to have all of these toys.  I’m a sucker for fantasy realms and their toys, so these look like their right up my alley.  The only problem I see with them, is that they don’t appear to be articulated.  I still like the idea of setting them up in battle settings, but it would be even cooler if you could “play” with them.


Micro Machines

Micro Machines Toys

If you know anything about me at all, then you should know that I simply adore Micro Machines.  I have ever since the day Marcus Callis showed up at school with a pocket full of the little things.  It only took a few moments of marveling over them to know that I wanted some of my own.  And while I had my fair share of the cars, I was always enamored with the play sets that were available for them.  There’s a couple of the small play sets pictured at the top of the page, and those were the ones that you could connect together to make much larger sets, construction a whole town or small city if you had enough of them.  Let’s go ahead and put both of those on my list.

There’s also the Micro Machines Transport Truck pictured.  I had it once upon a time, and it was great as a carrying case that you could also play with.  It would hold 11 cars, so it was a nice option to tote along when I was heading to Grandma’s house for the day.




Oh how I loved Playmobil toys.  Especially their western themed sets like this.  It seemed like I only ever got Playmobil toys at Christmas, and usually only from aunts and uncles at the annual family Christmas party.  I had a lot of the cowboys and Indians themed sets, and the toys shown above just go right along with them.

That train would be awesome, but it came with a very hefty $219.99 price tag.  That’s $462.00 in today’s money!  That sucker was one expensive toy.  But it does look really cool, and I know from experience that Playmobil toys were as durable as they came.

Besides the train, there is the Western Station that comes with 8 figures!  It has a big price tag on it too though.  Anyway, I’m going to just circle this entire page and hope for the best.


Nintendo Games

Nintendo Games

I put a whole page of Nintendo games in the first installment, but since this year’s edition of the Wish Book had a two-page spread, I can’t skip the games on this second page of glory.  It would be foolish to try and compare the games from each page, because they are both loaded with hall-of-famers.

But from this page, I’ve circled several of the ones I really want.  You’ve got the all-time classics Contra and ExciteBike, the much adored Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, and the underrated Goonies II.  But the one on this page that would really pique my interest is Tag Team Wrestling.  Pro Wrestling is one of my all-time favorite games for the console, so I really want to give this game a go.

You really couldn’t go wrong getting any of the games on this page for Christmas.  Let’s face it, a Christmas day spent playing a new Nintendo game was going to be one hell of a day regardless of that the title was.


I know I said “five” more things I wanted, but let’s go ahead and add just a couple more to the list…


Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics Pack

You’d always find listings like these every year in the wish books for things like comics, baseball cards, stamps, and other collectibles, but this collection right here looks astounding!  This pack is brimming with cool 80’s properties.  I can see ALF, Willow, GI Joe, Silver Hawks, and even Transformers comics.  Those alone would probably make the pack worth the price of admission, but then you throw in the classic Marvel titles like Avengers, Hulk, Thor, Spider-man, Fantastic Four, and Iron Man and you’ve got yourself a super fun way to spend a few afternoons.


PXL 2000 Deluxe

PXL 2000 Deluxe Video Camera

And this my friends, is one of the coolest Christmas gifts I ever received.  This thing was a real, honest to goodness, video camera designed for kids.  But the really unique thing was that this camera recorded onto cassette tapes.  Don’t ask me how.  The description says it records a unique black and white image called Pixelvision, with sound.  I remember it having decent quality on playback, and the whole thing was really easy to set up and use.  I surely wish I still had the tapes I recorded with it, as I would set it up and record myself dancing to 1989 hip hop tracks.  I’m sure that would be a sight to see today.


Well, I reckon that’s all the stuff from the 1988 Wish Book that I’ll get to share this year since the season is already completely on top of us with the big day being tomorrow and all.  Next year, I may pick another year and do these all over again.



Wax Pack Flashback: Santa Around the World Cards from 1994


It’s time for another Wax Pack Flashback, and with it being Christmas and all, I ripped open a pack of these Santa Around the World cards from 1994.  It was a 72 card set, that also had some limited edition 22 Carat Gold card certificates.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to snag one out of this pack.

It also featured a 72 piece puzzle that could be put together with the images on the backs of the cards.  Unlike most cards, these had no info on the backs of any of the cards, only the puzzle pieces.  They featured images of depictions of Santa Claus from various places around the world through various time periods.



5 Things I Want From the 1988 Sears Christmas Wish Book

Well, Christmas is coming up quick, and this big Appalachian snowfall has me stuck inside for the day, so I thought it would be a fun time to open up an old Sears Christmas Wish Book and relives some great old memories from the past.  Much like I did in the post, Making My Wish List from the 1986 Sears Wish Book, I’m going to go through and pick out all the cool things I wanted.  But this time, I’m going back in time to 1988 with that year’s edition of the Wish Book.

I was 10 years old in 1988, so it was right at that perfect time of still being into toys, but at the same time, starting to have an eye towards some gifts that were a little more “grown up”.  The 1988 edition of the Wish Book was loaded with so much cool stuff, I don’t think I’m going to be able to cover them all this time out, so I’ll probably stop at five things for now, and then pick up again later.  Let’s get to it!

GI Joe Bath Set

G.I. Joe Locker Bag Kit

Oh my goodness!  If you’ve got to start a personal grooming habit as a young man, what better way to do it than with G.I. Joe?!?  This kit has everything a 10 year old young man would need too.  G.I. Joe approved toothbrush and tooth paste (ADA be damned), mini soap with it’s own case to keep it from getting all slimy, a brush and comb for whatever stylish ‘do you are sporting, and a cup to go along with that tooth care set.  To top it all off, there is a small pocket size pack of tissue to take with you wherever you go, and a cool ass locker bag to store it all in.  You would be the envy of your fellow gym mates if you walked into a locker room with that bag slung over your shoulder.  And on top of all of that, how cool would it be to see this puppy hanging up in your bathroom at home.  It would almost make coming in from playing outside to get cleaned up enjoyable.  Almost.


Rock Tumbler

Rock Tumbler

This rock tumbler is still my holy grail of never gotten Christmas gifts.  I circled this thing in every Wish Book from as far back as I can remember all the way up through the early nineties.  Never once did I find it waiting for me under the tree at Christmas.  I had all these dreams about using it to start a profitable business making gem stone jewelry and price gouging the other kids at school.  Just yesterday I was out doing a little Christmas shopping and had to make a stop at Hobby Lobby.  I’m browsing the aisles and minding my own business, when I turn a corner and BAM!  There’s a display full of Rock Tumblers!  I couldn’t believe my luck.  After all these years I could finally have one for my very own.  But then I saw the price tag.  $119.99.  Are they serious?  How is anyone supposed to turn a profit on cheap gem stone jewelry with over head like that.  Not this old boy, no sir.  I’ll just have to continue to circle this thing in every catalog I come across hoping one day to be gifted one.

If you want to go just a tad bit deeper into my want for a rock tumbler, go check out the piece I did a long time ago on Things I DIDN’T Have as a Kid.


Slot Car Track

Slot-less Slot Car Race Track

Now here we go!  I am an old slot car fiend from way back, and this track just looks awesome.  Now I know it doesn’t have all the cool twists, turns, loops, and the other bells and whistles that various other slot car tracks have, but it has one feature that one ups all of those.  Do you see any actual slots on this tack?  Nope, not a single one.  That’s because you have to steer these cars yourself.  There’s no slot to guide you own your way or to keep you from slamming into your opponent.  You have to have the skill to avoid, or ram, your opponent yourself.  That makes this track set so awesome.  I can totally see myself mimicking “The Intimidator” Dale Earnhardt and “rattling some cages’ to put other racers in the wall….or cheap plastic guard rail as the case may be here.

Slot Car Track

Now while I never did get an awesome slot-less track, I DID actually get the slot car track above.  It was a pretty bad ass track in it’s own right though.  I thought the lap counter was just the coolest feature I had seen on a track before.  You could set it to however many laps you wanted to run (up to 50 I think), and then the first car to clock that many laps would have a little winner’s flag pop up on their timer.  I’m pretty sure I got the track for Christmas ’88, so there is a very good chance it was ordered from this very catalog.




LEGO was really my cup of tea throughout my whole childhood.  Heck, my kids still play with all my old LEGO’s even today.  Luckily, it was one of the toys my Mom kept for all those years.  Some of the pieces still in my childhood collection come from that Hospital pictured at the top of the page.  It was a pretty cool set as it gave you a building to add to your LEGO city.

But while that was cool, it’s the bottom two sets that really get my motor running.  First of all, that Truck Stop is just dripping with manliness.  If you had this set as a kid, you probably grew chest hair before all you’re friends who didn’t have it.  With two rigs and a big rig wrecker, you were ready for some heavy hauling.  And when the hours got too long, you could pull into the truck stop itself for a hot cup of Joe.  Life couldn’t be much sweeter.  Since my Dad drove some big trucks like these, this thing was on my list for a couple of years.  I had to make do with creating my own versions though.  Since I never had it, it’s going on my list again.

To finish it off, there is the super speedway.  My old man picked me up the small version of this one at some point.  It had only one base plate though instead of two, and only two race cars instead of the four pictured here. My small set was super fun, so I can only imagine how much fun this mammoth set would have been.

If you’re like me and love old LEGO’s and LEGO sets, you should check out my complete scan of the 1987 LEGO Shop at Home Catalog.  There is so much fun and goodness dripping from those pages, even today.


Nintendo Games

Nintendo Games

How could any self-respecting kid not just circle the entire page?  Do you see the selection of games just ready for the taking?  And this is only one of a two page spread! (I’m saving the other page for the next list!) Even though a kid can’t restrain themselves, as an adult, I can.  That, and I don’t have the space or time right now to write about every game on the page, so I just circled a select few.

A couple of my absolute favorite games are on this page in Castlevania 2:  Simon’s Quest and Pro Wrestling!  I had gotten Pro Wrestling the night I got my Nintendo, and I saved my allowance for what felt like forever and bought Simon’s Quest.  So to narrow this list down a little further, let’s just go with the rest.  There’s RC Pro Am, Rad Racer, Ghosts and Goblins, and the legendary Legend of Zelda.  Those are some hall of fame titles right there.  And I’m sure every game on the page has it’s hardcore fans, making this a page with probably more circles than any other in the whole catalog.  Back in this time period, if you were a kid whose parents had any means whatsoever, you generally found a new Nintendo game under your tree.  I know I was fortunate enough to find one most years, and any of these games I had circled would have entertained me for the rest of Christmas break.

Well we’re gonna leave it right there for this time out, and I’ll pick up on this topic again real soon.  In the mean time, you can go back to the 1986 Wish Book and see all the cool stuff I would put on my list from that one.

Revisiting the Christmas of 2017

Christmas 2017

Ah, 2017.  It was a magical time indeed.  Why, it seems like it was only a year ago that it happened.  Wait…it WAS just a year ago that it happened.  Generally I try to keep this retro site grounded at least 25 years in the past, but I’m making an exception this time.  Hey, it’s my blog, I can do whatever I want, right?  I’m glad you agree.

I’m going back in time to just one year ago for a very good reason though.  In the last 12 months, this blog has seen a healthy growth spurt in new visitors.  So I imagine there are quite a lot of folks visiting the blog these days that weren’t coming around these parts last Christmas.  I put out a lot of Christmas goodies and nostalgic memories last year, and I would hate for the newer Ramblers to be deprived of all the joys that the Christmas season of 2017 brought to the rest of us.

So I thought I would go back and revisit all of those crazy good times, pull it all back front and center, and make it easy for everyone to go back to the Christmas’ of their childhood.  So what you’ll find below is a rundown and recap of everything I put up on the blog last Christmas.  If you’re new around here, get yourself a cup of warm apple cider or cold egg nog, put on your robe and slippers, and settle into your favorite chair by the fire and let these features take you back to the glory days of childhood…Christmas!  Specifically Christmas’ of the 80’s and early 90’s.  I hope you find several things you enjoy.  Just click on any title to be taken to that piece.


The Retro Rambler’s Christmas Gift Guide

What do you get for the young at heart?  The man or woman on your list who loves to live in the past is sure to be happy with anything you gave them from these fine retro selections.  I curated the list myself, and there is plenty of variety, whether it’s stuff to bring memories back, old school tunes, toys of yesteryear, and even some movie selections.  Since this list is a year old now, a few of the items may no longer be available.  Disclaimer:  All of these items are links to Amazon products that I would receive a small percentage of if you should buy them.


How I Remember Christmas

This is a selection of takes on various things that I’ve always associated with the Christmas season since I was young.  I was fortunate to enjoy many wonderful Christmases, and there are even some of my personal old Christmas photos included.  Maybe you enjoyed a lot of the same things through the years?


Making My Christmas Wish List From the 1986 Sears Wish Book

Man did this thing really bring back the memories!  I sat down and went through the old Wish Book finding things I wanted to add to my wish list just like I did every year back then.  And the selections I made weren’t just through the eyes of a child.  Heck no, this list was made by adult me with things I would still love to find under my tree these days!


The Year Santa Became Real

This is probably the most personal thing I’ve written for the site.  It’s a story of the magical Christmas of 1986, and the years preceding it as well.  This thing will tug at your heart, and make you believe in the full magic of Christmas.  Hell, it should probably be made into a movie someday.  I better get started trying to figure out who to cast as a young Retro Rambler.


Hot Wheels Snake Mountain Challenge

The Mega Haul of Christmas 1986

Following on the heels of The Year Santa Became Real, I look back in depth at the presents I got that year.  If you love tales of G.I. Joe, Construx, Masters of the Universe, and other such legendary toys, then this one is certainly for you.


Christmas Mornings of the Past

I didn’t spend all my time focusing on my own Christmas magic, I even went so far as to take a peak into the Christmas mornings of other kids from back in the day.  With the help of Google, I found all kinds of pictures taken by various families in various parts of the country on Christmas mornings of the 80’s to see what all those kids found under their trees.  Some of them really hit the jackpot!


5 Classic Christmas Commercials

To me, one of the most enjoyable parts of the whole season every year is the endless supply of Christmas movies, specials, and TV episodes.  As much as I remember all the cool offerings on the tube each year, I can also clearly remember several commercials that I saw year after year in the middle of them.  I take a little dive down the rabbit hole with some of those commercials.


Woolworth’s Christmas Book from 1954

Sears didn’t always corner the market on gift catalogs through the years.  Here, I pulled out this old Woolworth’s book from the mid-50’s and scanned the whole thing in so everyone could see what was being offered to parents to buy for the little ones back then.


Hottest Christmas Toys of the 1940’s

After going through the Woolworth’s book, I got a big old hankering to see what else was popular long before I was born.  As it turns out, a lot of the toys I played with in the 80’s got their starts over 40 years earlier.  This thing was an eye opener, and you really owe it to yourself to check out what the “Tickle Me Elmo” was for each year of the 40’s.


Hottest Christmas Toys of the 1950’s

After I wrapped up the 1940’s edition, I continued on into the 1950’s, and once again, I was quite surprise to see so many toys I recognized.


The Golden Age of Department Stores at Christmas

Learning about all those toys from the 40’s and 50’s got me nostalgic for a time I can only fantasize about.  You know how Ralphie and his family go out to see the window toy displays at the beginning of A Christmas Story?  This little ditty right here explains and expounds on that magical era.



Vintage Holiday Recipes from 1967

One of the most popular things I put together all of last year was this recipe book.  It was actually an insert in a 1967 issue of McCall’s Magazine that took out and scanned, and put some personal thoughts with.  If you are excited to learn what you can do with Bugles with make an impression this Christmas season, give this a look.


Drink Hot Dr. Pepper as an Old School Holiday Treat

I know what you’re thinking….that sounds disgusting.  Actually it’s not, and it’s the perfect compliment to many of the recipes found in the feature above.


Classic Advertising:  Christmas Edition

A collection of Christmas themed ads for some of the all-time iconic products from through the years.


Retro on the Web:  Christmas Edition

Every so often, I share a whole big old list of links to other great retro content around the web.  Well, I put together this mammoth Christmas edition special.  Once you’ve finished reading all of these things of mine I’ve listed for you, then check out this list and you’ll find many more hours of retro Christmas goodness to enjoy.  It’s a whole holiday season’s worth of reading all wrapped up in one neat little feature.


Well, that was the best of what I put out last Christmas season.  I hope you enjoy all of if.  Keep your eyes glued right here to Retro Ramblings for some more awesome (hopefully) stuff this Christmas season.

How I Remember Christmas


Like I’m sure it was for most kids, December 25th has always been one of those benchmark dates on the calendar. Along side my birthday, and the last day of school, it has always been a measuring point for the year. And for good reason, as I’m sure I’m not alone in enjoying the gift giving, gift getting, food, and fellowship that the magical holiday brings.

For me though, the highlight has always been about the time I get to spend with family. Especially my Dad. All through my years of growing up, my Dad traveled. He would be gone for roughly 300 out of the 365 days of a year. But his work always slowed down in December and he had a lot of time at home that lined up so well with our Christmas break from school. And while he himself never got overly excited about Christmas, he did so many little things to make it special for me. Things that most would not think are overly special, but so special to me, that I try to do the exact same things for my daughters every year now.

There is so much nostalgia built into the holiday season for me. So many different things about the holiday that trigger vibrant memories of some of the happiest times of my life. So here in this article, I want to share with you a lot of the little things that I enjoy during the Christmas season, their origins in the past, and some of the strong memories associated with them.

Continue reading “How I Remember Christmas”

The Mega Haul of Christmas 1986


Two weeks ago, I spent quite a bit of time working on, and posting the article, 1986:  The Year Santa Became Real, for the Christmas season here at Retro Ramblings. In it, I go into detail about how my Christmas experiences took a huge upturn in 1986, and mentioned several awesome toys that I got from Santa Claus that year. I didn’t have the space in the article to go into a lot of detail on each of those toys, so this whole article is dedicated to just that!

Cobra Terror Drome

The big one that Christmas morning in 1986 was the G.I. Joe Cobra Terror Drome. At that time in life, my world revolved around four toys. G.I Joe, Masters of the Universe, Construx, and Legos….with G.I. Joe being at the top of the list. Knowing this, it was no surprise to my parents that the biggest hit of the holiday season would be this huge G.I. Joe play set.

It had room for plenty of figures, so massive battles were a foregone conclusion. I stockpiled this sucker with every bad guy I had in my collection, and then began a full on assault with all of the good guys I could find. Even Bo & Luke Duke in their 3 3/4″ figure form and the General Lee got in on the action on the side of the Joes!


More Dukes of Hazzard:  Looking Back at Dukes of Hazzard Merchandise From the 80’s



Cobra Terror Drome

The initial battle was a stalemate, with Cobra barely able to hold off the tremendous might of the Joes, as they retreated back a little ways to regroup and plan for a second assault. Now of course this stalemate was only to ensure that the Terror Drome was intact to play with again the following day. I spent a while Christmas afternoon interacting with various parts of this set. The Cobra vehicles re-fueled at the re-fueling station built into it, while some of the top Cobra brass interrogated a captured Joe down in the holding cell area.

The shine of this toy didn’t wear off anytime soon, but I had gotten quite a few other new toys this Christmas that required my attention, so I had to let the action cool down a little so I could get on to some of the other stuff like…..

Continue reading “The Mega Haul of Christmas 1986”

Woolworth’s Christmas Book from 1954

Enjoy this old school trip back in time and check out Woolworth’s Christmas catalog from 1954.  It was a time of simpler toys, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t a large selection to choose from.  This would be our parent’s and grandparent’s version of a Sears Wish Book.  So flip through, and see what it would have been like for them.


Continue reading “Woolworth’s Christmas Book from 1954”