Most of us can say we had a favorite Christmas toy when we were growing up. The 1980s in particular were a heck of a time to be a kid. There are especially five toys that really made waves throughout this colorful and crazy decade.
1. Rubik’s Cube
One of, if not the most iconic toy of all time has to be the Rubik’s Cube. This colorful little puzzle kicked off the ‘80s with a bang, and has since sold over 350 million cubes. The popularity of this toy is undeniable. Most people have it in their home, and it always somehow shows up at a party. Have you been able to solve the Rubik’s Cube? Even if you haven’t, it’s still fun to try. This is a toy that continues to be passed down to younger generations, regardless of new fads. If someone in your family doesn’t have the cube, it should definitely be added to your Christmas shopping list.
2. My Little Pony
After the cube came the ponies. Do you remember when you first found a My Little Pony under your Christmas tree? The year was 1981. Your face was no doubt brighter than the string of lights on the branches. If you close your eyes you can probably see the commercials showing little girls brushing fake pony hair with a tiny toy brush. A couple of animated series further cemented their legendary toy status. They have become collectible items even among adults. They were a joy to play with then, and a treasure to own now.
3. Cabbage Patch Kids
Over the years, things got a little crazy. Riots ensued in malls all across America after Cabbage Patch Kids were released in 1982. Kids had to have the hand-stitched sculptures. Adults were acting worse than children, fighting and trampling each other in stores just to get their hands on those puffy headed dolls. Kris Kringle would be disgusted with the way parents behaved. Then again, they did it to make their children happy at Christmastime. At least their hearts were (originally) in the right place. Did you know Cabbage Patch Kids were first called The Little People before they went into mass production? It doesn’t really have the same ring to it, does it?
4. Teddy Ruxpin
How could anyone forget 1985’s talking stuffed animal, Teddy Ruxpin? Who would have thought that putting a cassette player inside a bear’s back would be such a hit? This must have confused a lot of kids when they went to the zoo. Regardless, youngsters loved when Teddy read them stories. He wasn’t just a toy bear; he was a friend. He was the life of every Christmas celebration and provided hours of entertainment for children.
Throughout the years, the most popular Christmas toys have changed and evolved quite a bit. In the late 80s, video games really started to take over. The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) sold over 7 million units in 1988, making it the most popular Christmas toy that year. One has to wonder how Santa fit all those clunky video game systems inside his bag. It was easy to spot any kid who had a Nintendo from the blisters all over their thumbs. Even today, the theme to Super Mario Bros. is arguably as popular as any Christmas carol.
Despite great advances in technology, some of our fondest times still come from playing with simple toys, and using our imagination.
Christmas shouldn’t be just about the toys. Family and friends will always be the most important thing. That being said, toys sure do make it a lot of fun when you’re a kid. Especially when you have all those days off from school to enjoy them. We often associate the joy of toys with the joy of Christmas. They go hand-in-hand like milk & cookies.
The toys of Christmas past have helped create memories that will last forever. What toy will fill the hearts and homes of children this year? Only Mr. Claus knows the answer to that.