Saturday, January 19, 2008

All I Want For Christmas Is.....

I know that I'm either really late or really early with getting my Christmas list ready, but after taking a look at the vintage Christmas catalogs at, you'll have to forgive me for feeling like I'm a kid getting ready for Christmas. If you are ever in the mood to relive Christmas Past, you need to check out

This site has scanned a number of Christmas catalogs (or Wish Books as Sears called them) from the 1940's through the 1980's. If you were a kid in the 60's, 70's, or 80's you'll find lots of things in the toy sections of these catalogs that you remember from your childhood. Fisher Price, Legos, GI Joe, Mego Super Heroes, Evil Knievel, Star Wars, Hot Wheels, etc. Taking a look through the catalogs, I came across a number of toys I had forgotten about which instantly came back to me when I saw the pictures.

One thing that a number of these catalogs have are team logo items. Most of the items were NFL items, which to some degree would make sense given that the NFL is in season leading up to Christmas, but it is a striking difference between how many NFL items were in the catalogs (often a number of pages worth), while in many catalogs there was no MLB merchandise at all.

One thing that the NFL has done very well over the years is utilize NFL Properties to promote the league. And who better to promote it to then kids - your future customers. As these catalogs show, the NFL was very aggressive in getting kids at an early age to identify with their teams. MLB on the other hand, seems to have done very little with its licensing and promotion to kids - at least in terms of team merchandise available though department stores like Sears and JC Penneys.

I wanted to share some of the more interesting catalog pages I came across while perusing the catalogs.

The first appearance of any logo related items shows up in the 1970 JC Pennys catalog.

Check out these NFL uniforms:

Is it just me, or do these uniforms look a little creepy?

In 1971 the Sears Wishbook had some great NFL items like pajamas:

Jackets (check out the great patches):

Sweatshirts (has anyone ever seen the Browns logo on the shirt before?)

Hooded sweatshirts:
And Watches & Jewelery:

Moving on to 1975, the Sears Wish Book had even more NFL items, like Cardigan Sweaters & Bobble Heads:
NFL Helmet Buggies (similar to the MLB Bullpen Buggies):

Jackets & Knit Caps:
Belt Buckles:
Sweatshirts & Mini-Helmets:
Robes & PJs:
Watches & Clocks:
Pennants & Trash Cans:
Bedding & Curtains:
And finally Sport Bags:

No trip back to 1975 would be complete without taking a look at the latest in home entertainment - 8-Tracks & Pong Rule!

The 1976 JC Penney catalog had much of the same type of NFL Logo apparel as the 1975 Sears catalog, along with a few more items like Raincoats:

Football Helmet Radios:
And NFL and MLB (!) Watches:

The 1979 Sears Wish Book had even more NFL items:

Beanbag Chairs & NFL Logo Bedspread:
NFL Action Team Mates (which appear to be similar to Kenner Starting Line-ups):
Jeans & Shoes:
Helmet Lamps:
And all 28 Helmets & Uniforms (which don't look as strange as the 1970 pictures):

Moving into the 1980's, we finally see cards show up in the catalogs:

MLB finally gets 1 page of items (1983 Sears):

And we get some more football uniforms (1986 Sears):

For my money, the 1979 NFL Helmet & Jerseys are by far the best of the 3 that I found.

My thanks to the folks behind for all the work they have done in tracking down these catalogs and scanning in all of the pages. Its a really fun site to visit and travel back in time. Check it out - you won't be disappointed!

UPDATE: If you enjoyed this look back at vintage Sears & JC Pennys catalogs, please see my 2nd posting with more great NFL items from the 1970s & 1980s:


dayf said...

I had the NFL logo quilt and the helmet pushpins, although the ones I had were fridge magnets if I remember correctly.

I also remember that exact Sears page with the baseball cards, although that's from 1986, not '83. Man I wish I had pestered my parents for the Baseball Immortals set now.

Anonymous said...

I love the "White Player" or "Black Player" choice for the 1979 NFL Action Team Mates.

ScottyJ said...

Those are great!! Man does that take me back!! I would pour over those catalogs for HOURS before Christmas.

Thanks for posting those!

Anonymous said...

OK, here's my tally - I had an Oakland Raiders sweatshirt, pajamas (Atlanta Falcons when I was younger and didn't know any better and Steelers when I was older), the plastic helmet goal post tree (which I still find loose helmets when rummaging in old boxes from time to time), and NFL bedsheets.
In the store itself you could only find the "local" teams in stock - in '70's Nashville that meant Atlanta or sometimes Dallas or Miami. Yuck!

Anonymous said...

Ooh boy, those stickers and old uniforms sure bring back memories for me. I remember asking for and getting the Chicago Bears uniform customized with Walter Payton's #34. I loved it but was slightly disappointed when the numbers weren't 'right' they weren't the same font as the real uniforms, I felt cheated. I was always a stickler for detail.

Barn Owl said...

GORGEOUS post!! Holy Smokes, this is making me so happy! The shoes! The lamps! The jeans! The gym bags! YES! This page is all kinds of hot ... The bedspreads and sheets! The two-pronged face masks! PJs! >>> muchthnx!

Unknown said...

great job on the site! I hope you can post some more soon! Boy, that really took me back!

Unknown said...

I still have two NFL pillow cases. They don't go with the set show here but are from the 70's. We use them on my sons bed with his up to date NFL bedding sets.

We cleaned out my 95 year old grandmother's house several months ago. Wished I had saved those Wish Books I found now. I think they were early 80's

My brother and I had matching Dallas rain ponchos for a while.

Thanks for sharing. Great memories!

Anonymous said...

FleerFan or anyone else that may help,

I'm looking for the 1988 Fleer Helmet Sticker Set for the 28 NFL teams before expansion. It doesn't have to be 1988 but want all 28 teams before expansion. I've seen a few on eBay but I need (4) sets of the same.

Does anyone have these to sell or suggest where I may find them?


Anonymous said...

wow...i had almost all of that stuff, mostly in Green Bay Packers versions as the Pack was, is, and always will be my favorite NFL team. Nowadays i have adult sized Packer stuff!!! Those player figures were unlike Starting Lineups in that they did not come as specific players...just as generic African American or Caucasian players. You could then customize them with your favorite players number.

Anonymous said...

My NFL bed sheets!! Finally I found them!!!

Thanks a million.

Vince Prygoski said...

i see a major error on the 1976 Penney's catalog page with the helmet radios...the Steelers one has the logo on the left side!

And yes, the kids in the 1970 uniforms do look kind of creepy. Not to mention that the helmets are the only parts of the uniforms that really have all the details of the real team unis...the jerseys are all plain solid colors with no sleeve stripes and the pants are all plain white.

Robert Lane said...

I need the black atlanta falcons 2 bar helmet magnet from late 80's. I will pay top dollar for one! Please contact me with offer if one is available! I appreciate it I have other helmet magnets to trade as well!

Unknown said...

I remember those jackets my Brother and I had them. I was just looking for these. I thought they were the first starter coats. Thanks for putting this up.

Unknown said...

I am searching for the AD for MLB and NBA belts/belt buckles. I found the ads for the NFL and NHL 1971 belts. The NBA belts are from 1969. I can't find the exact year for the MLB belts/buckles but it's pre-1977