Every year since I became a mother, my own mom tells me the story about how she drove all over the tri-state area on Christmas Eve looking for a Lite Brite. I don’t know if that’s because my sister and I were begging for one, or because she had become fixated on that year’s hot item. Either way, she finally tracked down two of them (one for my sister, one for me) and the rest is Christmas history.
If you’re a regular reader of mine, you know I sort of go out of my way to not get myself or my kids caught up in the claws of savvy marketers. But, like my mom, I’m not impervious to a child’s begging. Last year, I found myself shelling out combing websites and shelling out gobs of money for a Kirsten American Girl Doll, who was to be discontinued and was on back-order but whom my then 8-year-old going through a prairie phase listed as the single item on her wishlist.
Not even Zhu Zhu Pets would have felt right.
I (and the Santa that is the Internet) delivered. It felt good. There’s a reason we parents have succumbed to the marketing and participated in the pre-Christmas stampede for light cubes and battery-operated hamsters, movie-themed figurines and — bafflingly — a talking, laughing, rolling-around-on-the-floor Elmo doll.
In the meantime, we can revisit a dozen of the hot Christmas toys from the days of yore (oh, and last year). MSNBC ran the list Peter Hartlaub came up with in the San Francisco Chronicle. Some highlights are 1934’s Shirley Temple doll, 1960s Chatty Cathy doll (is that where the term comes from?), 1964’s G.I. Joe and 1977’s Darth Vader action figure. The early 80s had Cabbage Patch Dolls, Transformers and … um … Teddy Ruxpin (Hartlaub can explain). The mid-90s had Tickle Me Elmo, Beanie Babies (!!!!) and Furby and 2006 was the year of the Wii! Last year, of course, the aforementioned Zhu Zhu Pets.
Memories! What was your favorite toy as a kid? Was it on this list?
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