You know what I miss this time of year? Lots of things, but in particular I miss the big Christmas catalogs.

I could hardly wait for the Sears Wish Book to show up in the mail. I would stop whatever I was doing to go through it. When I was younger, I’d immediately go to the toy section, looking for the “exclusives.” Today they would probably be online exclusives only. As I “matured,” using the word loosely, I would head to the clothing section.

That toy section! I thought it had every toy imaginable, and I was sure I had been good enough to receive every one of them. I knew that there were some toys I was too old for  (they’d list had the appropriate age level) and there were those I wasn’t old enough for, but I’d get excited because I knew the time would come when I would be.

Dolls, in particular, held my interest since that is what I was into. I played a lot with baby dolls and collected Madame Alexander dolls, most of which I still have. Would you believe I never had an Easy-Bake Oven? I didn’t, but I wanted one.

When my own children came along, they had the same fascination with the catalog and it held their attention for hours. We encouraged them to circle the items of interest so we could convey Santa their wishes. The same rules applied when grandchildren came upon the scene.

The next step was to order the items which could be picked up at a counter at the small Sears store at the Cermak Plaza, in Berwyn, where Office Depot is now.

It’s so different now, and this year much of the shopping will be done online. Still, shopping locally is a good thing, not only because it’s convenient but it’s a help to the merchants.

You can never go wrong with gift certificates from local grocery stores and restaurants stores, even if you can’t dine-in. You can pick up art at Higgins Glass, sweet treats at Aunt Diana’s and arrangements at local flower shops in can be good sources of gifts. 

In Brookfield, stop in at For the Birds, where there’s something for everyone and not just the birds, including a great selection of children’s books.

Laura Atwood Studio bead shop has items out of the ordinary. Brookfield also can boast two jewelry stores. Check the hours on any of the shops to guarantee when they will be open. Cash is always good!

Wherever you do go wear your mask. They make good gifts too.