You say the word Christmas to any kid, they think of one thing: Christmas toys.
For the past 30 years, there has been a major ‘toy of the year’ every year that every parent needs to get their kid to assure they keep up with the Joneses and meet the ‘kid status quo’. Though these toys differ greatly from generation to generation, they have one thing in common. Grown ass adults would literally be willing to actually fight over them in the store to get them for their kids. Adults acting like kids to get their kids gifts that make them act less like adults.
Kind of a funny cycle, really.
So when thinking back on my own childhood, there were many popular Christmas toys for kids that I got those years and now in hindsight, I wonder in terror if my parents had to assault any other adults to obtain them for me. Good thing I know better about them than that. All that said, here are a list of 20 Christmas toys from over the last thirty years that have become toy classics (some very much still selling to this day).
This list is numbered for your convenience but presented in no particular order.
20) Zhu Zhu Pets
Who who WHATS? I’m gonna do some quick research to find out what these things are.
*Comes back wholly unimpressed
They are just stuffed animals that move and do some basic crap is all. Run a maze and push a ball, WOOHOO!
But when you are writing a list about Christmas toys that got big, one would not necessarily call Zhu Zhu Pets “classic toys”, but in 2009 and 2010, if you were a little kid and did not get one of these, apparently you threw a tantrum.
Keep in mind, a literal HAMSTER cost less than these fake ones.
God, kids have gotten so lame.
19) Anything Branded by Apple
Apple has become the go-to brand to make yourself seem superior to others, so anything Apple has dropped (especially the iPod) was and is always the big gift to give that year.
Why do you think they make their OWN software obsolete so frequently? Because us sheep keep on buying it, so they keep doing it. But since the iPod (and iPhone and iPad and – one more thing…) dropped, Apple has essentially owned every Christmas simply by updating their software and making their older stuff obsolete.
Hey, if it ain’t broke, break it and then sell it back slightly upgraded for triple the cost. Good for them. We would all do it and get rich that way if we could, don’t even play.
18) Atari 2600 (and All Video Game Consoles Thereafter)
You cannot mention Christmas toys for kids without bringing up the impact that the Atari home console had on gaming. It really was the console that kicked off this world’s love of home systems, as it was the most powerful home console we had seen up to that time.
It also set the tone for the console wars in the forthcoming years, which would see MANY Christmases being met with requests for the newest game consoles, still to this day! And now that they are coming out at around $500 a pop, the request becomes more and more unreasonable, unfortunately.
I hope you did not expect this to be gender-specific. A fad is fad, despite what gender plays with it, and in this case, to not call Barbie a classic toy would be to undermine just how much this toy changed the game for young girls (and even some boys).
It would also be foolish to bring up a list of classic and retro toys and NOT mention Barbie. Hell, I feel the odd urge to mention her ‘Dream House’ and I don’t even know why.
See, everyone gets represented so relax. Gi-Joe was to young boys what Barbie was to young girls. The best part is, Gi-Joe had a 50-year run (that is still going, much like Barbie, Hasbro know what they’re doing).
Starting in the sixties as more of a shout out to the American soldier, over the years they took on a life of their own, and their popularity has made them a classic Christmas gift for all the young boys and girls in your life who like to pretend to blow things up.
Also see Transformers. I put them in the same category and love them ALMOST equally, but Michael Bay kinda ruined the Transformers for me (and probably you, too), so Gi-Joe lands the spot.
Deal with it.
15) Teddy Ruxpin
Teddy Ruxpin was one of the dopest Christmas toys I ever got. He was a Teddy Bear who was animatronic and you could put cassette tapes into his back and his mouth would move and he would sing you songs and joke with you and shit. It was cool and kinda creepy at the same time.
It was also creepy AF to put Black Sabbath tapes in his back and see him try to lip-sync along with darkly Satanic sounding music.
Good way to freak out your parents after the fact, too.
14) Easy-Bake Oven
Though more of a “conditioning method” than a toy (hey, give this to young girls to teach them to be subservient housewives, great message to send) but the truth is, my sister had one, and we would sit there for hours watching a single lightbulb try to make a single, tiny cupcake that was the size of a single bite.
In hindsight, it is hilarious, but at the time it was the bomb. But really, it is literally like a ten-watt lightbulb that cooks one cupcake over nine hours time, and the cupcake is bite-sized. So it taught girls how to cook AND become anorexic.
13) The Pogo Stick
The 70’s were a weird time. At one point, “pet rocks” were a thing. I think a lot of 70’s toy fads are a direct result of all the drugs people were on in that decade. One example of classic toys that blew up over Christmas time in the 70’s and 80’s is the Pogo stick.
If you don’t know, it is a giant stick you bounce up and down on. Yup, that’s about it.
But it was so big at one point that you could leave your house Christmas morning, look down your street, and see twelve other kids (and adults) in their driveways trying to bounce like Tigger.
Like I said, the 70’s and 80’s were weird times, man.
12) Beanie Babies
Hey, remember that crappy moment in time when almost all the world was obsessed with collecting, tiny stuffed animals called Beanie Babies?
Yeah, unfortunately, so do I. Enough said about that.
I will admit, I never really “got” pogs, but that doesn’t mean in the 90’s you could go anywhere without seeing them. Kids were obsessed with collecting them and dueling and shit.
I guess it could be said that things like Pokemon wouldn’t be as popular today had pogs not set the tone for something similar years earlier.
To me, it just always looked like kids slamming things on a table, so I never saw the draw, but MILLIONS did, and that is why it makes the list (even though it is more like a stocking stuffer).
10) Bratz Dolls
Listen, I don’t like it any more than any of you. I tend to think Bratz dolls kind of emphasize little girls being slutty, but that is just my opinion. Regardless of how I feel, this was another 90’s-2000’s toy that was just the IT toy for young girls for quite a few years.
And you know what, I don’t slut shame. Screw it, you want to buy your son or daughter a tiny girl that looks like a stripper, that is all on you. More power to them, frankly.
I sold my kids into slavery so I don’t have to worry about that crap anymore.
9) Anything Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Whenever you are bringing up Christmas toys for kids you know pop culture is gonna get brought into it, and when the TMNT got huge in the 90’s, they had one of the most financially successful toy lines ever, because everyone wanted them.
And the kicker is, if you did get any of those 90’s TMNT toys and still have them, they are worth a pretty penny now.
Why kids wanted to tickle a heavy, robotic muppet was always kind of beyond me, but it was supposed to be, that was not my demographic. That fad kicked in when I was already an adult, so I can’t relate to the desire for this thing, but sure enough, Elmo had a run of many Christmas’ in the 90’s and on, from Rock n’ Roll Elmo to Tumbling Elmo to the “Stab and then run away” Elmo as seen above.
Honestly, the only reason we are no longer inundated with Elmo toys is because of this terrible story.
Glad it all worked out in the end, no pun intended.
7) Razor Scooters
First it was BMX bikes and then skateboards. Now it seems everyone 12 and under wanted to be seen busting nasty spin-tricks on their scooters.
But I can’t have any gripes with this one. It got kids back outside and doing physical shit which we see all too infrequently these days as more and more kids choose to hide away in virtual reality.
Those weird hoverboards from a few years back almost took this spot but they started catching fire so that fad died as quickly as the people using it did.
Boom goes the dynamite.
Ah, from the very depths of Hell comes this furry beast. Mocking your family non-stop in gibberish. Waking people up from dead sleeps for no reason. Screaming to be fed, but fed WHAT?
NEVER understood the allure of these sick little bastards, but that seems to be a running theme here.
Another one of those retro toys that EVERYONE had at one point and another example of a virtual life kids had to keep alive as a pastime. How is that FUN?
Honestly, I also never understood this fad. I don’t want kids in the least and can barely keep MYSELF alive so why do I need a virtual pet that essentially exists only to annoy and worry me?
No idea, but a LOT kids loved these things.
P.S. The Tamagotchi is back – new 2017 versions available. Seriously.
4) Nintendo Wii
I know I already shouted out consoles on the list, but the Wii was something different. The year it came out, every person got one, from young to old. Nintendo went and redefined gaming, making it more accessible to all ages, families, and groups again. It was cool to witness and be a part of.
This was actually one of my fave toy fads from Christmas’ past simply because it got EVERYONE hanging out and having fun again, and that hadn’t happened since the old days of board games.
3) Anything Star Wars Related, the Older the Better
This one was a given. The main toy I was going to mention was the Darth Vader head for carrying all your Star Wars figures (oh, cuz Darth Vader was a “headcase”, hahaha, well played).
Though there have been many Star Wars toys that have been popular, that is the one that is worth the most money now, especially if you have it filled with all the figures.
You are talking BIG BUCKS if you still have one. Like “put a kid through med school” money.
2) Anything Pokemon
Though kind of generic to say ANYTHING Pokemon, you guys and gals all know it’s true. From the Gameboy games to the toys and the clothes, Pokemon is more than just a toy line for many. It is an obsession.
The weirdest part here is, these things have been big since I was a kid, and you RARELY see a toy stay that famous for that long without major changes. It is actually kind of impressive, TBH, and Pokemon Go proved this series still has a lot of life left (and a lot of Christmas dollars to still get you to spend).
Finally, the one you were all waiting for…..
1) Cabbage Patch Dolls
One cannot mention Christmas toys that became classics and not mention the mother of all classic collectible and the toy that kind of started the crazy Christmas phase when parents would kill to buy their kids gifts.
My overall thought on that is, if you need to fight another adult to make your kid happy, you raised your kid wrong. Real talk.
But Hell, even I had a Cabbage Patch Kid. His name was Skipper Anthony, he was a Premie (why the fuck was I getting fake premature babies to play with?) and for no reason, I grew up to buy the adult outfit version of what he wore, so apparently, that little f*cker made some HUGE impression on me.
(Tan corduroy jacket, blue shirt, jeans, and soon enough, the bald head, too).
Now for those looking for a list of more CURRENT gifts, we’ve got you covered there, too. You’re welcome.