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Christmas Toys Through the Decades

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Christmas shopping is one of the most enjoyable experiences over the whole festive period. But what’s interesting is how Christmas shopping lists are never the same for two or more consecutive years.

Christmas toys in particular have evolved quite dramatically over the decades. When you compare today’s top trends and fads to those of generations gone by, you really get a feel how quickly times are changing.

In any case, it’s more than likely that if you’ve avoided Santa’s naughty list, you’ll have seen one or more of the following under the tree on Christmas morning or even mentioned in a letter you may have received from Santa when you were younger:

1910s — Teddy Bears

More than a century after the invention of the first commercial Teddy bears, they remain a staple Christmas gift in households worldwide. Very little has changed over the decades, aside from the use of slightly safer and more durable materials.

1920s — Yo-Yo

The humble yo-yo dates all the way back to around 1,000 BC. Nevertheless, it first reached commercial success in the 1920s, after which there was a huge resurgence in demand and popularity in the late-80s. Remember the Coke Spinner?

1930s — Monopoly

There’s nothing quite like breaking out the Monopoly for an enjoyable evening with the family over Christmas. It’s a tradition that’s been a global favourite for more than 80 years, with Monopoly having burst onto the scene in style in the 1930s.

1940s — Slinky

Released and re-released in thousands of different forms, the original Slinky made its first appearance right back in the 1940s. Since then, more than 300 million of the things have been sold worldwide.

1950s — Barbie

The evolution of Barbie to adapt to modern norms has been no less than extraordinary. When she first debuted in the 1950s however, she was a rather humbler affair in general with very little variety on the cards. Nonetheless, a superstar success story of epic proportions.

1960s — Etch a Sketch

Despite offering relatively limited functionality, the novelty of the Etch a Sketch made it a smash-hit from the 60s, all the way to the present day. It’s been refined and improved enormously over the years, but still uses the same basic magnetic function as it did back in the day.

1970s — Star Wars action figures

If only we’d known some of those original 1970s Star Wars action figures would be worth SIX figures today! The problem being that as they weren’t nearly as revered at the time, we thought nothing of tearing open that original packaging and throwing them all over the place!

1980s — Rubik’s cube

Nobody could have possibly anticipated the phenomenon that would be the Rubik’s cube. It’s literally impossible to even roughly estimate the number of units sold worldwide over the years. Suffice to say, there are literally hundreds of millions of these things in circulation, in one form or another.

1990s — Nintendo Gameboy

It’s hard to believe that little more than 20 years ago, the Nintendo Gameboy was considered the pinnacle of consumer technology. Bringing portability to some of the world’s most incredible game franchises for the first time, the Gameboy was and is iconic and important in equal measures.

2000s — Nintendo Wii

Last but not least, Nintendo also dominated the early 2000s with the launch of its groundbreaking Wii. Along with being sold for a surprisingly affordable price, the Wii also took family-friendly gaming to new heights and would go on to sell more than 100 million units during its run.


What’s on the cards for this year? Keep yourself away from Santa’s naughty list for the rest of 2018 and you’ll find out come Christmas day!

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