A true "Christmas in July" memory

Posted by Rene Schweitzer
on Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Note: Click on any photo to enlarge.

We at CTT are celebrating "Christmas in July" this month!

Some of you might remember the Kalmbach magazine Collecting Toys.  It was a start up magazine that was a spin-off of Classic Toy Trains that featured toys of all kinds, from die cast, play sets, action figures, new toys, and more. When I started working at Kalmbach, I split my time between CTT and Collecting Toys

It was a fun magazine to work for. The editor, Tom Hammel, would attend Toy Fair each February and report back on the new toys. I remember when the digital toys Tamagotchis were popular. I had one at my desk that I "cared" for. Research, right?

In the publishing world, issues are planned out months in advance. For instance, planning for the December issue took place in June and July. For the December 1996 issue, the editor wanted a classic Christmas tree cover, with lights on the tree and toys underneath it. 

December 1996 issue

To make it happen, we spent hours decorating the tree (mostly the bottom half) and selecting the toys that would be under the tree in Kalmbach's photo studio. The cover had one selection of toys, the first pages of the article had another, and each decade had another spread. I believe the photo shoot took about two days.

The opening pages of the article.

Featured toys from 1956

Toys from 1966.

Toys from 1976.
And yes, we did this in mid July, so it was a truly a "Christmas in July" moment. 

I was delighted to find the back issues of Collecting Toys in our library (don't miss the blog post I did about that!), so I photographed the cover and article. Did you receive anything shown in those pages as a Christmas or birthday gift?

Sadly, Collecting Toys ended publication in 1998. 

But Christmas in July continues as a fun theme! Stay tuned to our Facebook page for more fun, and check your email box on July 17 for a special Christmas in July email too!

To leave a comment you must be a member of our community.
Login to your account now, or register for an account to start participating.
No one has commented yet.

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community


Get the Classic Toy Trains newsletter delivered to your inbox twice a month