Christmas Wishbooks of the 1980s

A while back I came across a Wishbook website that has archives of several retailers’ holiday Wish Book catalogs through the decades. Since my students and I are working together to get a sense of how things were back in the 1980s, I thought this might be a good way to become familiar with what kinds of consumer items were being sold as Christmas presents in the 1980s. For convenience, I will link directly to the relevant catalogs here:

1980’s Catalogs

Sears catalog VHS camcorder for $995

I liked this VHS camcorder in the 1989 Sears catalog, although I’m pretty sure by that time I had access to one of the JVC VHS-C models that were quite a bit of a smaller form factor. At $995 it seems a little pricey (over $2,000 in today’s dollars).

What are some of the favorite things you found in the catalogs? Use the Inflation Calculator to see what these things would cost in today’s dollars.


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