Remember pouring over those big thick Christmas Wish Books of toy dreams from Sears, JC Penney’s, Montgomery Ward and Argos? By Christmas Eve were yours dog-eared and full of circles over what you wrote to Santa to bring? Feel free to scroll through all the pony goodness (toy or otherwise) I could find in my Wish Book collection (just don’t circle your screen ). I’ve included original prices and descriptions where able for your collecting info!
**No items on this site are for sale.
Huge in the 80s, Sears began in the US in 1892 by Richard Sears (a railroad station agent) and Alvah Roebuck (a watch repairmen). Starting as a catalogue business selling watches and jewellrey, by the 80s Sears had become a merchandise empire known to every household. But their Christmas Wish Books had been in ciruculation since 1933, officially being titled the “Wish Book” in 1968 when focus turned to selling toys to girls and boys specifically. The Sears Wish Book ended publication in 2011, coming back for just one year in 2017.
The 1980 Sears Wish Book did not carry any MLP items but you may remember these toys!
The 1981 Sears Wish Book carried a first glimpse of My Pretty Pony back when the book still had some black and white sections.
In the 1982 book, My Pretty Pony made it back in glorious colour!
In 1983 Sears brought out the My Pretty Pony and Little Pony (Baby Pony as listed on the box itself) set to include Butterscotch as its own set aside from the first 6 official My Little Pony collector pose ponies. This was a Sears exclusive (I believe) and My Pretty Pony in this version had a white spot on either side of the rump.
In 1984 Sears came in strong on all fronts with playsets, ponies and merch to boot!
MLP had galloped into the 1985 Wish Book at full speed with everything from roller skates to pyjamas, books, clocks and games- and of course, ponies, ponies, ponies!
Though not the abundance from the year before, Sears still made Christmas special for ponies everywhere in the US with the sprawling Paradise Estate.
Though no actual ponies appeared in the 1987 Wish Book, MLP still made a bit of a presence in clothing and merch.
Sadly, in 1988 only 1 MLP item made it to the Wish Book!
Luckily the 1989 Wish Book came back with some pony action!
1990’s Wish Book brought an exclusive fleece set that included its own Fancy Pants boxed baby pony!
Both MLP items in the 1991 Wish Book included the Rainbow Curl ponies, a set that ddin’t show up much in MLP merchandise in general.
Another huge American retailer, J.C. Penney came about in 1902 founded by James Cash Penney and William McManus as a dry goods store. Unlike Sears, J.C. Penney began as a brick and mortar department store chain and got a boost in the 60s by moving into new shopping malls. Penney’s didn’t get into the catalogue sales until 1962 but through the 80s and 90s enchanted kids with Christmas dreams right alongside Sears. J.C. Penneys discontinued their Wish Books in 2009 but came back for an encore in 2015 before quitting for good.
The 1980 JC Penney Wish Book did not carry any MLP items but you may remember these toys!
My Pretty Pony made her JC Penney debut in the 1981 Wish Book.
So good she showed up twice! My Pretty Pony returned for the 1982 Wish Book.
Strangely, while Sears carried MLP items continously in the early 80s, JC Penney took a break in the 1983 WIsh Book so you may remember some of thes other toys. **What’s interesting is that Tony the Pony, whom the book does not list a manufacturer for, is of the exact same mold (even down to the accessories) of the My Little Pony Ride-On toy made and sold in the UK by Playcraft and in other parts of Europe. The Ride-On Ponies came in pastel colours, not the natural, almost Pretty-Pony-esque brown.
**Scroll down to the Argos section below and you’ll see a photo of a UK Ride-On pony.
Strong in playsets, the 1984 Wish Book came back committed to MLP!
Penney’s 1985 book contains a couple of interesting MLP items. The Sticker Machine contained licensed character stickers from several toy lines including MLP. The Moondancer clock was produced with a more stylized mane and tail than that pictured here. And that pony kitchen set is to die for!
In addition to he marvelous desk set with blotter, the 1986 Wish Book carried the final design of the Moondancer Clock as well as the small Lickety Split digital clock.
While ponies themselves were absent in the 1987 Wish Book, these adorable pyjamas certainly made someone’s Christmas bright!
Ponies made it back to the 1988 Wish Book but notice that the Apple Delight Loving Family set is called “Apple Tree” and baby ‘s hair is missing its stripe.
In the 1989 Wish Book, MLP was all about getting us kids to be with pyjamas, sleping bags and sleep tents!
1990 brought us the only glimpse of Petite Ponies in the major US retailer Wish Books!
By 1991 MLP’s toy lines for G1 were nearing end in the US but Penney’s brought us a couple of cute fleece sets to send off.
As JC Penney said goodbye to its MLP Wish Book appearances, one final fleece set wowed kids with a rare Sippin’ Soda merch item.
Montgomery Ward began as the first American mail-order business founded by Aaron Montgomery Ward in 1872 and later fleshed out into their own department stores by 1926. The original creator of the “Wish Book”, Montgomery Ward began their mammoth book of wares in 1883 (they even sold animals in the 50s!) and found Sears to be their direct competitor when they came out with their own version. But by 1986 Montgomery Ward had ceased to produce its Wish Book when it scaled back from catalogue sales to sell in store. Fun fact about ‘Ward’s- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a store creation made up by a catalogue copywriter in 1939 as a book to sell for that Christmas season.
The 1980 Montgomery Ward Wish Book did not carry any MLP items but you may remember these toys!
While other Wish Books carried My Pretty Pony, only Ward’s showed us just how enjoyable she was going to be when she ended up under our Christmas trees!
The 1982 Montgomery Ward Wish Book did not carry any MLP items but you may remember these toys!
My Little Pony proper made it into the 1983 book with playsets to boot!
Several interesting MLP items showed up in the 1984 Wish Book including a now rare umbrella, gift set and radio/cassette players. Montgomery Ward was the only of the major US retailers to have MLP on their cover- go Firefly!
Sadly, Montgomery Ward stopped their 80s books right in 1985 but went out in a blaze with an entire PONY BEDROOM SET!
Founded in the UK in 1972 by Richard Tompkins, Argos allows customers to order from a catalogue right in their warehouse locations and operated similarly to the US Service Merchandise chain. Still going strong, Argos sells online as the UK’s 3rd biggest online retailer and is now owned by Sainsbury’s. **I apologize for the poor quality of the Argos photos- I only have digital files of the original catalogues.
This 1984 Argos catalogue has a small but very cheery looking collection of MLP.
The 1985 Spring/Summer catalogue shows a glimpse of the UK Ride-On Pony – scroll up to see the Tony the Pony (MLP official? Maybe?) twin of this toy in the 1983 JC Penney Wish Book.
Argos’ 1986 book brought such merch items as the Snowflake calculator set, the Beauty Set and the fabulousl play tent.
Only 1 page of ponies in this 1989 Argos book but Hasbro’s similar Fairy Tails line made a small appearance as well.