For those of us who have seen a few decades of Christmas gatherings, we all probably have memories of our favorite Chritmas Toys. This look back through the decades may help spark some fond memories of Christmas past!
1950s: Would you believe Mr. Potato Head started as a real potato? Hasbro originally created the plastic funny mouths and feet, hair and googly eyes for children to poke into real potatoes! It wasn’t ‘til the 1960s that the plastic head proved to be more practical. This has been a childhood favorite straight in to 1995, where Mr. (and Mrs.) Potato Head had their big screen debut with the release of Toy Story.
Hula Hoops were also a huge Christmas hit in the 50s, topping 25 million sales in the first four months of 1958! They continue in popularity today, as they have been discovered to be not only fun for kids but great exercise for adults as well.
1960s: That amazing feat of science, Etch-A-Sketch, was #1 in Christmas sales. Using aluminum and static charges, kids were kept busy for hours creating masterpieces by turning knobs, shaking it to erase, then starting all over again! It was the first toy ever inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.
The Easy-Bake Oven was a close second in popularity in 1962. The vote is still out on whether these ever produced good-tasting desserts, but they were all the rage, especially when Betty Crocker came out with miniature versions of their mixes!
1970s: Nerf balls were originally designed to prevent the indoor rough-housing accidents (they were released in 1969.) But it wasn’t until 1972 that nerf took reign under the Christmas tree with the creation of Nerf footballs. Over 8 million were sold by 1979!
In 1978, Star Wars Action Figures topped 40 million in sales, following the premier Star Wars movie in 1977. First marketed as collectibles for adults, these were not produced as toys until Episode 4, A New Hope, was released.
1980s: The Rubik’s Cube caused frustration and confusion for children and adults alike, but it didn’t stop us from giving it a shot! Over 100 million were produced in the first three years of its release! Fortunately, 1.5 million copies of the answer to this puzzle were sold…produced, of course, by a 12-year-old.
In 1983, those dimple-faced adorable babies were released and caused literal riots across the nation. Cabbage Patch Kids were on every kid’s must-have Christmas list and toy stores had to hire extra security for their sales, which were offered in limited quantity.
1990s: Tickle Me Elmo…can’t you just hear his giggles now? He was cuddly and cheery and all the rage in 1996. The toy trend frenzy continued, as manufacturers limited the release of the dolls and store employees began to feel some physical danger when the store doors opened.
1996: This year showed us the real potential of the internet on consumerism. Over 100 million Beanie Babies were sold in the first two weeks!
2000s: Over 5-million Razor Scooters topped not only the kids’ lists but commuting adults as well! It offered a compact, pollution-free mode of transportation that proved very popular in fun and function.
2009: This was truly the year that toy favorites made the greatest revolution, as they took a deep dive in to the computer age. Nintendo’s Wii was the #1 toy and a craze for literally every generation.
2010s: Minecraft was the top-selling computer game in 2012, introducing a younger population than ever to competitive online gaming. 15 million of them were sold that year! This decade is also when we saw the transition to toy trends being driven by the popularity of hit movies. In 2012, Frozen dominated the toy aisles, and every year since has continued this trend of popularity driven by the big screen.
2020s: The trends for this decade so far seem to be quite eclectic. Will the decade be remembered for Barbie and Yoda or the ever-growing list of popular PC games? Only time will tell!