3 Christmas Toy Catalogs that brought back all my Nostalgia

Is anyone else here nostalgic for printed toy catalogs?

I’m talking about this way too late for it to be useful for your gift buying this year, but I wanted to talk about it anyway :P

I was a kid in the 90s and early 2000s. I remember fervently looking through the toy section of the JC Penny’s catalog, dog-earing pages and even cutting out the pictures of the best toys and placing them in my view binder cover. It was a very special binder that held floppy disks of my Crayola Make a Masterpiece digital drawings and print outs of some of those same drawings, and then on the cover were mini cabbage patch dolls that Santa never got around to bringing me.

When I’ve talked about this to peers as of late, they nostalgically mention the Toys R Us toy catalog, but for some reason I don’t remember that one as well.

This joy at pictures of tiny things I could maybe own didn’t stop at Christmas toy catalogs though. The Dollshouse Emporium used to produce printed catalogs. Each category featured a room display with letters corresponding to that item’s product listing. The little dollhouse scenes with ornate furniture, and toys for the toys told me stories and I longed for every piece. They were exponentially out of my price range however, so I just enjoyed their 2-D counterparts. I ordered a catalog to fill this void, but that will be for another post :P

In attempting to fill the void that Toys R Us left, other retailers decided to release printed versions of their toy offerings this year. Of course Toys R Us says they’re coming back, and KB Toys said they’d be back by this coming Christmas, but it doesn’t seem those things are coming to light yet.

However, Target, Walmart and Amazon all released printed versions of their catalogs this year. Worse for the environment I have to admit, but I was also stoked about it. Amazon left me off their mailing list, I tried to call them out on twitter (I’ve bought plenty of toys from them this past years, I mean we bought an LOL Surprise house, what more do they need?), but to no avail. Target did send me theirs though (shout out to Target, although it was addressed to an Ashley, but at my address). And all three can be found and perused online.

Click on each catalog cover to be taken to that specific digital catalog.

4 thoughts on “3 Christmas Toy Catalogs that brought back all my Nostalgia

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  1. In the UK, we have a shop called ‘Argos’. There’s one in every town, and it sells everything. The usp is that you look in the catalogue, pay in the shop, then sit and wait for 15 minutes until someone gets you what you’ve bought from the warehouse at the back of the shop. The moment in Autumn when the new Argos catalogue came out meant the entire weekend was spent poring over the pages, circling toys that you wanted. 80s catalogues are snapped up on eBay by set designers wanting to recreate the exact feel of the era.
    Good times. All online now. As they already had the infrastructure, they were able to offer same-day delivery, so they are still market leaders all these years later.
    There’s nothing like a good catalogue. Amazon might have more choice, but it doesn’t have the same memories.

    1. Very much agreed with you memories note. Argos sounds like a wonderful shop and I’d love to check one out eventually. Not the same excitement as back in the day for sure. I’m going to see if I can find a digital version of an 80s catalog online :)

  2. Reading your first sentence in the preview mode I thought: No, I don’t think I do… but looking at your photos brought memories back I’d completely forgotten. Yes, I used to pore over these catalogues and cut out pictures and make little collages. Thanks for reminding me!

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