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Christmas, children and wish books

Photos courtesy Freeborn County Historical Museum

Five decades ago, two of the most popular pre-Christmas catalogs were the wish books issued by Sears and Montgomery Ward.

This photo of Albert Lea’s Sears store was taken in 1952. This store was once at the corner of South Washington Avenue and West Main Street.

This photo of Albert Lea’s Sears store was taken in 1952. This store was once at the corner of South Washington Avenue and West Main Street.

Parents would let their children look through these catalogs. After carefully looking through the pages upon pages, the young sons and daughters could select presents to hopefully be under the decorated tree on Christmas morning. Sometimes the hoped-for presents would be indicated to the parents or other folks, or in letters to Santa Claus.

Based on these selections, the parents could go to the nearest Sears or Montgomery Ward store to purchase the presents. The presents could  also be purchased by mail and delivered by parcel post a few days later. Then again, the potential presents could be purchased at a nearby locally-owned store.