It’s six weeks until Christmas, and already the department stores are suffocating us in faux fir trees, garland and holiday music. (How do you celebrate the winter holidays when the pumpkins on the porch haven’t rotted yet?)

I remember as a kid for several years poring through the glossy Sears Christmas catalog and the Montgomery Ward Wish Bookmarking up the pages, placing an X next to an Erector Set, a saucer-shaped sled and a Fisher-Price farm. My mom would then place the order on the phone. (She owned up to the truth about Santa when I was 5; even then, the idea of a guy traveling the world in a sleigh in one evening seemed hinky.) At some point while we were at school, the boxes arrived and were tucked away in a closet off-limits to us kids.

Last holiday season, I found this rain-soaked wish list in a Whole Foods parking lot. I have no children, so these items felt foreign to me, except for the money. That said, I hope the kid got a library card, whether he wanted it or not. When he tires of X-Box and runs out of money, there are always books.

Urban Archaeology is a twice-monthly column that documents found objects, photos, overheard dialogue, poignant scenes; the small, everyday true moments that define life in the Triangle. Contribute to this column at