Most Popular Christmas Gifts Over the Past 70 Years

retro toys

Do you remember what you desperately wanted for Christmas when you were a child? Were they toys that were the “In” thing?

For fun, I put together some data on popular toys kids wanted for Christmas through the decades.

Let’s start with the 1950s.

Children then seemed eager for such toys as that ol’ rubber guy, Gumby, the bouncy Pogo Stick, and the timeless Play-Doh. And what kid could go without the corn popper? I think many didn’t!

Gumby            pogo stick

corn popper toy

I actually had all of those, except Gumby, but I had them later on in my childhood era. 🙂

 

1960s

Little girls were gaga over the Chatty Cathy doll and the amazing Easy-Bake Oven.

chatty cathy doll     easy bake oven toy

While boys found an interest in GI Joe action figures and Hot Wheels. Well…I would say both sexes were interested in these and other toys throughout these eras.

GI Joe toy        hot wheels 1968

 

1970s

In this decade, kids were fascinated with the first foam Nerf ball, and the flexibility and durability of Stretch Armstrong. I remember the latter very well. A few of my friends had this elasticized dude, and it was wildly fun pulling him yards apart and watching him slide back into a normal-sized guy once we tired of torturing him. Haha.

nerf ball        stretch armstrong

And the cool Evil Knievel Stunt Cycle was all the roar in the early 1970s.

Evil Knievel stunt cycle

Also, a huge invention: the Atari video game system came out in this decade. The first game, I remember, was Pong. Haha. But later on, we enjoyed Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Astroids, Centipede, Pit Fall, and others!

The View Master was big then too. I had several slides from the Scooby-Doo show when I was a kid. Christmas was complete when kids got these fun toys in the 1970s.

view master

 

1980s

How could anyone around that time forget about the fights on Black Fridays over the Cabbage Patch Kids? Goodness. The scrambling across the slippery toy stores, and the unbelievable tug-o-war over the last couple of dolls was both astonishing and insane. Those certainly were a HUGE want for lots of children in the 1980s.

cabbage patch kids 1

Then, for the more nerdy kids, the Rubik’s Cube came out and teased and worked kids’ brains in a good way. I mean, who didn’t have a Rubik’s Cube then? We were all cool nerds! What fun that was!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

This was also the decade when the Nintendo video game system came out! My sons are loyal Nintendo fans.

 

1990s

Goodness. Do you remember all the hubbub over the Tickle Me Elmo doll? I do. Although I was in my twenties then, I still remember the craze over his giggling. And then there was the bizarre-looking Furby dolls. Many parents scrambled for these dolls during Christmastime.

tickle me elmo        Furby doll

And don’t forget the Beanie Babies! Believe it or not, they started off in McDonalds’ Happy Meals but caught on like wildfire, becoming one of the most wanted and collected items in the decade.

beanie babies

 

2000s

Looks like Zhu Zhu Pets came out in this time period, as well as those ugly…er, I mean, nice dolls, the Bratz. My sons actually each had a Zhu Zhu Pet. They were hamsters. The Razor Scooter was a biggie in the early 2000s.

zhu zhu pets               razor scooter

 

My Christmas toy memories

Some of the most awesome toys I got for Christmas in the late 1970s and 1980s were the Barbie Dream House and several of the Muppets characters. They were puppets where you stuck your hand in and could move their mouths, but in the case of the character, Animal, I could move his eyebrows too. What fun those were!

barbie dream house    Muppets

 

What were special gifts you loved when you were growing up?

 

~*~*~*~

 

 

 

Too Many Gadgets, Too Little Memory

electronic stuff

We bought a new car in March.  We hadn’t bought a new car since 2005, and before that, 1999.  So, you can imagine how bewildered we were….correction, I was…my husband took it all in without so much as a blink….when the car salesman introduced us to all the gadgets on our new car and how they worked.

To be honest, I was intimidated by it all.  The alert beeps for your blind spot, for warning me when any exterior part of my car was close to touching another car or any other object or person, the annoying humming sound that vibrated me into panic mode if I wandered an inch over the dividing lines on the highway, and all the lit up little icons on the dashboard and little screen.

It was overwhelming at first, but once I drove the car the first time, I relaxed a bit, even if I didn’t know how everything worked outside your regular immediate buttons and such.

It got me thinking about the technological advances over the years and decades since I was a child.  I grew up during my elementary school years with my parents purchasing one of the first VHS recorders.  My growing up years was also the time when TV remote controls came out and cordless telephones.

Related image

Pong, the first video game I remember came out, followed by Atari, for which my parents bought.  Who could forget playing those video games with those ancient joysticks that caused hand and thumb pain within a couple hours?  Good old Atari games like Astroids, Centipede, Pac-Man, Maze Craze, Space Invaders, Frogger, and Pit Fall.

atari video console

In the music realm, boom boxes were in, that were a combination of radio and tape cassette player, with a mic jack and two speakers.  And the Walkman became popular shortly after, I think.

boom box

Dad’s Commodore 64 with its permanent blue screen sat on his desk in my teen years.  When I was sixteen, I used that computer to type up my first novel.

commodore 64 computer screen

I remember when my parents bought me a cell phone around 1993 for me to have in case my car broke down.  It was bulky and weighed a ton.

Related image

And I distinctly remember my first caller ID.  None of my friends or family had one at that time.  It was so cool being able to see who called at that time because I lived in my apartment then and could tell when a guy I liked called, but he didn’t know I knew.  Haha!

Image result for public domain pictures of the first caller IDs from 1993

And then came the CDs, DVDs, desk top computers, etc.  All of those new gadgets were pretty cool.  They didn’t make us too lazy.  But I’d have to say, that’s changed.

I’ve been watching many TED Talks on our addiction to our computers and phones, and also, the gadgets that think for us, like our car’s lights shutting on and off on their own, the doors locking and unlocking on their own, warning lights and beeping sounds to alert us to a danger of a car too close to ours, and the like.

Our cell phones keeping our appointments, waking us up for work in the morning, storing all of our friends and family members’ phone numbers, telling us how many calories the meal is that’s sitting in front of us at lunch or dinner.  You know what I’m talking about.

These are all very convenient, easy, and helpful.  But they also make us lazy and lose our ability to remember/memorize things, such as an appointment date or a friend’s phone number.

I don’t even know my family member’s cell numbers, except my husband’s.  I don’t know my sister’s or my mother’s by heart.  That is truly pathetic.  When I was a teen up through my thirties, I could dial a number no more than twice, and it would be stuck in my memory from then on.  Because I don’t have to remember these numbers since they’re stored in my phone, they aren’t memorized.

Now, I realize when one gets older, a little help in the memory department is needed, but our brain’s memory can be boosted by walking or doing jigsaw puzzles, for example.

So, I ignore focusing solely on the camera on the small screen in my car and physically look behind me when backing up, and make sure I still look toward the blind spot before moving into another lane.  I manually lock my car doors when I get into my car most especially in parking lots.  I think it’s the safe thing to do for us women going grocery shopping and other places by ourselves.

I don’t think we can rely so much on computers.  They do malfunction at times, have glitches, and can be hacked.  Obviously, you can guess I’m not one of those people who is anxiously awaiting buying or traveling in a driverless car.  I think I’ll skip that, thank you very much!

In my psychology course I took a couple of years ago at my university, I learned the twenty-first century sedentary lifestyle is not normal or healthy for the human body and mind.  We are meant to move and move around often, and use our minds critically.  If we’re not careful, we’ll become like the folks in the Pixar movie, WALL-E.  Was that not a glimpse into the future, or what?

WALL-E pic 2

We have to find ways to exercise these days.  Join a gym.  Join an exercise class.  Buy exercise equipment.  Pencil in jogging several times a week.  When in the generations before this age, people walked or rode their bikes to work, worked outside, walked to stores, opened their cars’ hatchbacks, manually rolled up and down their cars’ windows, lifted their garage doors, and got up to turn off their TVs.

Since being a sloth is too familiar to me, I struggle to get up the energy, and it’s even harder because of my time spent on the computer for too many hours a day.  It is my goal to keep doing things that jog my memory, such as walking and doing jigsaw puzzles, and doing what I said above with regards to my car.  I even started doing tai chi two weeks ago.  It brings me stress relief and serenity.  Do you do anything to keep your mind working and body in motion to counter today’s sedentary lifestyle?

 

~*~*~*~