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10 Christmas Toys Through the Decades

10 Christmas Toys Through the Decades


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1. 1910s — Teddy Bear

The story behind this timeless toy goes back to 1902, when President Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot a tied-up, defenseless black bear during a hunting trip in Mississippi. After Brooklyn shopkeeper Morris Mictom saw a political cartoon about the incident, he and his wife made a stuffed fabric “Teddy’s bear” and put it in their shop window, sparking immediate customer interest. Around the same time, a family-owned toy company in Germany began making stuffed bears of its own. Bought in bulk by a U.S. manufacturer, the German bears officially became known as teddy bears in 1906. Other companies jumped on the bandwagon, launching an international teddy craze that hasn’t really stopped since.

Honorable mention: Erector sets, Lionel trains

2. 1920s — Yo-Yo

All hail the Yo-Yo! This classic is actually an ancient invention, going back to China circa 1000 B.C. Or was it ancient Greece? The Philippines? Historians may be divided as to its exact origins, but variations of the spinning-disk-on-a-string toy had certainly been around for centuries before 1928, when Pedro Flores began manufacturing the yo-yo in the United States, calling it by its Filipino name. Flores soon sold his toy company to a competitor, Don Duncan, a marketing whiz whose promotional Yo-Yo trick contests would launch the toy’s popularity into the stratosphere.

Honorable mention: Tinker Toys, Raggedy Ann

3. 1930s — Shirley Temple doll

Those curls, those dimples…who wouldn’t want a doll version of Shirley Temple? For Christmas in 1934, the Ideal Toy and Novelty Company began manufacturing a doll based on America’s favorite child star, whose hit movie “Bright Eyes” was released just after the holiday. Only 6 years old at the time, Temple already had some 20 films under her tiny belt. By singing, dancing and being generally adorable, she helped countless people escape their worries during the Great Depression, when they desperately needed to. Priced at around $3 to $5 (a large sum of money at the time) the dolls made some $45 million for Ideal over seven years of production and enjoyed an afterlife as prized collectors’ items: As of 2010, an original Shirley Temple doll went for more than $1,500 on eBay.

Honorable mention: Monopoly, Red Ryder BB gun

4. 1940s — Slinky

This cheap, outrageously fun little toy launched just in time for Christmas 1945. Mechanical engineer Richard James had stumbled on the inspiration for the Slinky after accidentally knocking over some ship springs he was working on, which “walked” instead of falling. James came up with a machine that coiled 80 feet of wire into a 2-inch spiral, his wife gave it the name “Slinky” and a legend was born. After Christmas demonstrations at Gimbels Department Store in Philadelphia, the first 400 Slinkys sold within minutes. Seventy years—and more than 300 million Slinkys—later, the toy remains a popular seller.

Honorable mention: LEGOs, Silly Putty

5. 1950s — Mr. Potato Head

Inventor George Lerner turned to the family dinner table for inspiration for this classic: Though many kids don’t like to eat their vegetables, they might want to play with them instead. Lerner originally created a bunch of silly face parts to be used with actual potatoes and other vegetables (beets anyone?) as part of a cereal box promotion. The Hassenfeld brothers, future founders of Hasbro Inc., purchased the toy idea in 1952, packaging 28 plastic facial and body parts with a Styrofoam head, which was later changed to plastic as well. By the end of its first year, Mr. Potato Head made history as the first toy with its own TV commercial (catchphrase: “Can I have that? I want that!”) and generated more than $4 million in sales.

Honorable mention: Hula Hoop, Barbie, Play-Doh, Tonka Trunks (The ‘50s was a golden age for toys!)

6. 1960s — G.I. Joe

Introduced as a kind of male counterpart to Mattel’s iconic Barbie, Government-Issue Joe (as ordinary soldiers were known during World War II) was marketed to little boys as an “action figure,” not a doll. Hasbro launched the first generation of foot-tall G.I. Joe figures—available in Action Soldier, Pilot, Marine and Sailor—at the height of the Cold War, to massive success. In 1970, amid growing protest over U.S. involvement in Vietnam, G.I. Joe was reinvented as more of an adventurer, and later as a space traveler, but no one much liked these changes. G.I. Joe went into retirement in 1978, but roared back into action (in a shrunken, 3 ¾-inch size) in the 1980s, after the tremendous success of Star Wars made action figures cool again. He’s been around ever since, spawning comics, a TV series, video games and a feature film (2009’s “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra”).

Honorable mention: Etch-a-Sketch, Easy Bake Oven, Playmobil

7. 1970s — Star Wars action figures

No one predicted the massive success of George Lucas’ “Star Wars,” released by 20th Century Fox in May 1977. By Christmas of that year, toy company Kenner hadn’t even started production on movie-related action figures. Instead, lucky children unwrapped vouchers to be redeemed for 3.75-inch versions of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Hans Solo, Chewbacca, Darth Vader and more than 100 other characters. Released in 1978, Star Wars action figures sold briskly until 1985; they were relaunched in the mid-1990s ahead of the release of three more installments in the space saga. Now, with “Episode VII: The Force Awakens” on its way, the franchise is hotter than ever, and original 1978 figures are collector’s items worth up to $200,000.

Honorable mention: NERF ball, Speak and Spell

8. 1980s — Cabbage Patch Kids

For Christmas 1983, all bets were off. Every kid wanted to “adopt” one of Coleco’s squishy-faced Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, and parents were willing to take extreme steps (Pushing! Shoving! Fist fights!) to make it happen. As Cabbage Patch mania swept the nation, the dolls sold on the black market for 10 times their retail price of $25. By the end of the first year in 1983, 3 million Cabbage Patch Kids were sold (adopted). The product continued to exceed all expectations in 1984 resulting in $2.5 billion in retail sales. Though the craze eventually subsided, and the company went bankrupt in 1988 after costly failed ventures in video and computer games, Cabbage Patch Kids are still available from Wicked Cool Toys. Babyland General Hospital, the Cleveland, Georgia, home of the Cabbage Patch Kids is the only place in the world where you can witness the birth of a hand-sculpted doll.

Honorable mention: Rubik’s Cube, Transformers, Koosh ball, Teddy Ruxpin

9. 1990s — Beanie Babies and Tickle Me Elmo

Parents of young children in 1996 were hit with a double Christmas whammy of must-have toys. Tickle Me Elmo, a stuffed version of the popular Sesame Street character that giggled when squeezed, caused a Cabbage Patch Kid-style frenzy that year, complete with stampeding crowds and injured store workers. Meanwhile, Beanie Babies, squishy stuffed animals with cute names, had enjoyed respectable sales for several years before toymaker H. Ty Warner decided to “retire” some of the successful animals, instantly turning them into hot commodities. Warner racked up more than $250 million in sales by the end of 1996, as kids and parents scoured the stores that Christmas season for the soon-to-be-collectibles, often settling for new, less sought-after babies instead.

Honorable mention: Furby, Nintendo Game Boy

10. 2000s— Wii

In November 2006, Nintendo introduced this affordable, family-friendly game console alternative, featuring wireless remote controllers and other cool new features. Holiday shoppers waited for hours for the Wii, which was cheaper than its competition (Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft X-Box 360), and by Christmas Nintendo had sold some 3 million units. Despite reported cases of tennis elbow among early adopters, the Wii emerged victorious among its generation of game consoles, selling more than 100 million units in its seven-year run.

Honorable mention: Razor Scooter, Bratz dolls, Webkinz, Zhu Zhu Pets


First opening in 1973, the catalogue store has gifted the nation with a string of popular toys over the years, with long-lasting favourites including Furbies, Lego and the Rubik’s Cube.

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Those who grew up in the ’70s may remember classics such as Stretch Armstrong and Star Wars figurines, while the ’80s and ’90s saw the arrival of Cabbage Patch dolls, Barbie and Tamigotchis.

Noughties kids, meanwhile, enjoyed the likes of Nintendo WII, Xbox 360 and BMX bikes, and while a number of toys make repeat appearances on the list, there are a few anomalies in the mix which had their time in the spotlight before consumers lost interest.

Some of the toys are also still available to buy, although they may have a slightly higher price tag than they did many years ago.


Bestselling Christmas toys from down the years

With Christmas only days away we take a look at the best-selling toys of the past six decades - from the hugely popular remote control cars of the 1960s all the way through to Moshi Monsters of the present day

These are the presents that guarantee to put a smile on children&aposs faces on Christmas Day.

But these must-have Christmas toys have often left many parents in a cold sweat over the years, as they frantically searched for these sought-after toys and gadgets.

These Christmas items were often in such high demand that parents struggled to find them in time for December 25.

The Sixties

1. Remote Control Car

Until the 1960s toy cars had wires to connect them to their remotes, which made these radio controlled devices an innovation. The remote-controlled cars were hugely popular and in the mid 1960s the 1/8th scale "pan" cars were still equipped with engines from model airplanes.

2. Etch a Sketch

The Etch A Sketch, originally called L&aposEcran Magique, was invented by a French mechanic, Arthur Granjean. Initially unpopular upon its release in 1959, it was bought by The Ohio Art Company for $25,000 more than any other toy they had invested in. They changed its name to Etch A Sketch and a hit was born The magical drawing toy became one of the holiday season&aposs most wanted toys in 1960.

3. PlayMobil

Playmobil figures, were 3-inch figures modeled on people and places from around the world. They were designed by plastics enthusiast Horst Brandstatter who had been working on his new product since the late 1950s. The figures were released internationally in 1975 and became so popular that they featured in McDonald’s Happy Meals.

The Seventies

1. Rubik’s Cube

The multi-coloured Rubik’s Cube was created by Hungarian inventor Ernö Rubik in the mid-1970s. But the 3-D color-coded puzzle cube didn’t become a household name until the following decade after it was imported to the US. Millions of kids and adults became obsessed with unscrambling the Rubik&aposs Cube&aposs colored squares. The world record for solving a Rubik’s cube is held by Mats Valk of the Netherlands, who completed the puzzle in 5.55 seconds.

2. Nerf Ball

The world&aposs first indoor ball was introduced in 1970 by Parker Brothers became an instant success. It was made from "non-expanding recreational foam" material, or NERF, which enabled children to play with it indoors. By the end of the year, 4 million NERF balls had been sold.

3. Star Wars Figures

Manufacturers were not prepared for the surge in popularity of the Star Wars franchise after After Star Wars&apos was released in 1977,toymaker Kenner scrambled to throw together a line of toys including puzzles and games. But it was the first four action figures that really changed it all - Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and R2-D2 were miniaturized and sold to fans in unbelievable numbers. The original 1978 figures are now valued at up to $20,000.

The Eighties

1. Transformers

Hasbro adapted Transformers from two Japanese toys, Diaclones and New Microman, and released them in the US in 1984. They were magical alien machines that could be reassembled to assume the identities of everyday automobiles,

2. Ninja Turtles

Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles, the four oversized reptilian superheroes, first appeared in comics in 1984, before expanding to a cartoon series in 1987 and accompanying action figures in 1988. After the release of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie in 1990, the demand for merchandise was extreme and the action-figures became instant classics in the toy world.

3. My Little Pony

The first generation of My Little Ponies was released in 1982 and included Earth Ponies, Pegasus Ponies, Unicorn Ponies and Sea Ponies. They were incredibly popular and came in a multitude of colors — each with an individualized emblem on its backside - as well as names like Minty and Snuzzle.

The Nineties

In 1998 toy giant Hasbro released the Furby - a furry, animatronic creature that spoke "Furbish" but could eventually learn English, only to shower you with terms of endearment - to compete in the emerging electronic toy market. It sold 1.8 million units in its first year and 14 million units in its second becoming one of the biggest electronic playthings.

2. Super Soakers

The Super Soaker, a high-power water gun was developed by engineer Lonnie Johnson in 1993. It was able to fire water a distance of up to 50 ft and soon became essential for any backyard battle. The Super Soaker went on to sell over 250 million units worldwide.

The first generation of Pokemon games were developed by Nintendo in 1996 and became an instant hit. It has since become the second-most successful and lucrative video game-based media franchises in the world, behind only Nintendo&aposs own Mario empire.The entire franchise has sold over 217 million units to date.

The Noughties

The four original Bratz dolls were released in 2001 and took the fashion doll world by storm. They brought a whole new attitude with their revealing wardrobes and glittery make-up. The Bratz 10-in. dolls, created by Carter Bryant and MGA Entertainment, were dubbed the anti-Barbies. But by 2005 global sales had reached $2 billion. In 2006 Bratz held 40% of the fashion-doll market.

2. Nintendo WII

In November 2006, Nintendo released the Wii, a home video game console with a handheld pointing device - the Wii Remote controller. It was targeted at a broader demographic than its rivals Microsoft&aposs Xbox 360 and Sony&aposs PlayStation 3 and became instantly popular as a more affordable family friendly console. By 2009 sales had surpassed 50 million units.

3. Razor Scooter

The original Razor Scooter was a compact folding kick scooter which became incredibly popular in 2000. It was manufactured by the J.D. Corporation and distributed by The Sharper Image in 1999 before it became the in-way to travel to school. Due to its huge success the collapsable Razor Scooter won Toy of the Year in 2001 after selling over 5 million units in its first six months of production. They are still popular way for children and teenagers to travel and are also used for sports and utility purposes.

1. Moshi Monsters

This is an online entertainment site aimed at children aged between 6-14, where users can adopt one of six virtual pet monsters. Then players can can navigate their way around Monstro City, and go on amazing adventures with their pet in a free, safe online game. Although not initially successful, by 2012 it had 50 million users and generated over $100 million in gross sales and now has a range of commercial products including toys and Moshi Monsters Magazine.

2. Peppa Pig

The BAFTA winning Peppa Pig series is one of the most watched shows on Milkshake and Nick Jr. and has sold over 5 million units in DVD sales in 2011. The programme revolves around Peppa, a female pig, and her family and friends. Each episode is approximately 5 minutes long and feature everyday activities such as attending playgroup, going swimming, visiting grandparents, going to the playground or riding bikes. Peppa Pig is now a global brand and merchandise includes video games and other toys such as playsets, playing cards, vehicles, and stuffed toys.

Ben 10 is an American cartoon television series about a 10-year-old boy, Benjamin Tennyson, who acquires a watch-like alien device, called the Omnitrix that allows him to turn into ten different alien creatures. It is now in its fourth series after receiving critical acclaim. It has won three Emmy Awards, the latest this year, and the franchise has sold over 100 million toys worldwide.


Some would say that the true magic of Christmas can be found in your family's Christmas tree: After all, a trimmed tree builds as many memories as the gifts that can be found underneath it. Evergreens have a long and storied history of being decorated throughout the world. In fact, the ancient Egyptians and Romans once decorated evergreen trees to celebrate the changing of the seasons. According to historians, the Christmas tree as we know it today was brought down through the generations from 16th century Germany. Christians of the time began decorating with lit candles, glass kugels, and sparkly tinsel.

The Christmas tree didn't become a popular tradition in the United States until the mid 1850s when German settlers brought their tradition of decorating a tree for the holidays with them to their new homes. And what did people use to decorate those early American Christmas trees? Traditionally, they were adorned with homemade ornaments or edible treats like marzipan cookies, fruits, and shelled nuts. Colorfully dyed popcorn kernels were also strung into a garland. With the advent of electricity, artificial string lights soon became popular and commonplace in most homes.

Today, the choices for Christmas trees are more unique and personalized than ever: We decorate ours with spools of ribbon, silk flowers, jingling bells, and the heirlooms we inherited from generations past. To inspire you in the holidays to come, tour these 100 years of Christmas trees&mdashfrom 1919 all the way through 2019&mdashas they appeared in people's homes and public spaces for display. These are the trends that originated from a specific time and place, and remain memorable for those who experienced them first-hand.


- With high demand and limited stock, the shops are full of parents fighting to get the last one off the shelf

(Pocket-lint) - It seems like every year there's a new fad toy that's come to market just in time for Christmas and with high demand and limited stock, the shops are full of parents fighting to get the last one off the shelf.

Over the last 40 years, there's almost always been a range of popular toys that have been as much torment to parents as they have been a joy to the children.

The happiness that comes when that present is taken from under the tree and unwrapped is undeniable, but the hassle of getting it there might have broken more than a bank account.

Join us as we take a tour back through the last four decades to show you the most popular toys for the Christmas period.


What Christmas Looked Like the Year You Were Born

The style of the season has changed a lot through the decades.

There's just something about Christmas. Maybe it's the nostalgia it inspires, maybe it's the sounds of classic holiday tunes from decades long past, but something about the season just feels timeless. It's almost easy to forget that the look of Christmas has changed a lot over the years, from the traditions to the films and even the must-have toys, each Christmas has its own unique style and character. Want to know what Christmas looked like the year you were born? Read on an see what holiday classics (and a few not-so-classics) made their first appearance the same year you did.

Just days before the first Christmas of the 1970s, the King of Rock and Roll met up with the President of the United States in the Oval Office. If there's any combination that's more of its time than Elvis shaking hands with Richard Nixon, we can't think of it.

In October of 1971 Walt Disney World opened its doors to guests for the first time. Still in its infancy, Disney's first holiday season included a souvenir-filled Main Street USA shop called The Wonderland of Wax, which would later become the Holiday Corner, and a multi-story metallic Christmas tree.

In December 1972, First Lady Pat Nixon gave the press a tour of the White House's holiday decorations laden with blooms, evergreen, and seasonal fruits.

Completed in April of that year, the Twin Towers spent their first Christmas presiding over the New York City skyline during the holiday season of 1973.

For the Fords first Christmas in the White House, First Lady Betty Ford welcomed guests to the Blue Room to view their towering Christmas tree.

In October 1975, Saturday Night Live made its debut, making that Christmas the first chance comedy fans had to spend the holidays with Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Chevy Chase, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman, and Gilda Radner in the iconic sketch show.

Marking America's 200th year as a nation, the Christmas of 1976 was a particularly patriotic one, with celebratory fireworks going off all across the country.

George Lucas's seminal film Star Wars wasn't just the hottest craze of 1977, its characters were also the must-have toys of the Christmas season&mdashif you could get one. Uncertain how the sci-fi adventure would play with audiences, the film's official toy partner, Kenner, didn't invest in a full toy line in advance of the movie's debut in May, leaving them scrambling to create a line of figures to put under the tree in time for the holidays, with mixed success.

Born in mid-November of 1977, the Christmas of 1978 was the first one that little Peter Phillips, the son of Princess Anne and Queen Elizabeth's oldest grandson, got the chance to properly enjoy. And, this marked the first time the Queen Queen got to show off her grandmotherly affection in her annual Christmas broadcast.

While the tree in Rockefeller Center has been an official tradition since 1933 (and an unofficial one since the Depression) the wire herald's angels by artist Valerie Clarebout were a later addition to the classic Christmas scene. In 1979, they celebrated their 10 year anniversary.

The Rubik's cube was invented by Hungarian architect Erno Rubik in 1974 as a practical example of three-dimensional geometry, but it wouldn't make it to the toy market until 1980 when it was licensed to the Ideal Toy Corp. It would go on to become one of the best-selling toys of all time and an icon of the decade.

Even First Ladies have holiday wrapping to do. This was the scene in 1981 as First Lady Nancy Reagan wrapped presents on the floor of the family living quarters on the second floor at the White House.

1982 marked Prince William's first Christmas. Between his plastic key ring, the pink sofa, and Princess Diana's gorgeous red velvet dress, everything about this photo speaks to its time period.

This holiday essential film first hit theaters in 1983. A Christmas Story would go on to become one of the most beloved Christmas films of all time. From Ralphie's desperation for a Red Rider BB gun and his father's "major award" to the bunny costume and the Chinese Christmas feast, this is one film that stands the test of time.

Horror fans finally got a present under the tree when Gremlins was released in 1984. The dark comedy centered on Billy, who receives a strange furry creature with a very strict set of rules from his father as a Christmas present. But all is not as it seems with his new pet, Gizmo, and his town is in for a very unpleasant Christmas surprise when Billy makes the mistake of feeding his new friends after midnight.

While the Care Bears started as characters on greeting cards, in 1985 the lovable, colorful characters made the jump to television, skyrocketing their popularity and ensuring that every kid wanted to see a Care Bear plush toy under the Christmas tree.

In 1986, The Jim Henson Company produced a television special starring some new characters from the iconic puppeteer including Rugby the Tiger, a plush tiger who remembers being the prized Christmas toy the previous year. The film would later spin off the show Secret Life of Toys.


The Top Christmas Gift for 2018 Is a Fingerling Finger Puppet Toy

Here's a year-by-year look back at the must-have presents that changed childhoods forever.

Remember the Furby? Tickle Me Elmo? How about Beanie Babies? We collected the hottest gifts that drove parents crazy throughout the decades. Plus, we've got a prediction for the most popular toy of 2018. If you were one of the lucky recipients of any of these top 43 Christmas and holiday gifts through the years, remember to call home and say thanks.

The Big Deal: These little finger puppets are like less-creepy Furbies. You can get them to sing, swing, sleep, and more by tapping them or speaking to them. Honestly, they're pretty quaint as far as interactive toys go.

The Weird Part: While most of these Fingerlings tend to be cute monkey-like creatures with big adorable eyes, you can buy vicious-looking dinosaur Fingerlings that are legitimately cool. Apparently, WowWee saw the need to branch out.

Where to Buy It Today: target.com

The Big Deal: A creative little robot named Cozmo was the top gift of 2017. He was customizable, programmable, learned on his own, worked with your iOS or Android device, and looked like something out of a Pixar film. Priced at $180, Cozmo didn't come cheap, but he was the closest thing we'd seen to a real life droid. BB-8 had some competition.

The Weird Part: Adults probably wanted to play with this one just as much as kids.

Where to Buy It Today: amazon.com

The Big Deal: Let's face it, this was cooler than Hatchimals. Originally released in Japan as the Family Computer (Famicom) in 1983, Nintendo brought back the gaming console that started it all in 2016, complete with the O.G. controller.

The Weird Part: Nintendo might have underestimated how popular this product was going to be, making this guy impossible to find for months&mdashright before Nintendo officially discontinued it.

Where to Buy It Today: ebay.com

The Big Deal: Star Wars is always a big deal. When George Lucas' merchandising-money-grab-disguised-as-sci-fi-franchise joined forces with Disney, you knew the Force would be strong with this one. Much like the breakout star of The Force Awakens, Sphero's BB-8 responded to voice commands and even had a mind of its own.

The Weird Part: BB-8 could record and transmit video, so you had to watch what you were doing in case the federal gover&mdashuh, First Order was watching.

Where to Buy It Today: amazon.com

The Big Deal: Remember Frozen? Sure you do. You couldn't get "Let It Go" out of your head. Disney's hottest movie of 2013 was inevitably the hottest toy franchise for a long time to come, and Elsa led the pack.

The Weird Part: How the song is stuck in your head now. Sorry.

Where to Buy It Today: amazon.com

The Big Deal: Honestly, this one's not a surprise, because Elmo has completely dominated the holidays over the years. Seriously, click through, this guy's been putting up Jordan numbers since the '90s. Anyway, this one hugged you. I think we could all use it now, Elmo.

The Weird Part: This is all pretty weird, isn't it?

Where to Buy It Today: amazon.com

The Big Deal: The first "eighth-generation" video game console was also the first in Nintendo's lineup to offer HD graphics. Best of all, it would be joined by "Super Mario 3D" world a year later, one of the best Mario games in years.

The Weird Part: The Miiverse, a social network of Wii avatars (Mii), which let gamers communicate with other players from around the world.

Where to Buy It Today: amazon.com

The Big Deal: In 2011, the character that never fails to captivate toy-market watchers (one of whom actually called this "virtually the only exciting product" of the season) applied a more mature instinct: Elmo was a bona fide rock star, albeit a very polite one. Let's Rock Elmo came with a mic, tambourine, and drum set, and could launch into versions of "What I Like About You" and "It Takes Two." There are a few frightening video demonstrations out there, if you must.

The Weird Part: That Elmo paired surprisingly well with a certain adult singer-songwriter.

Where to Buy It Today: amazon.com

The Big Deal: Really, were there any other contenders? It was the first of its kind&mdasha slim tablet that let you seamlessly glide between movies, music, browsing the web, and Street Fighter beat-downs. With Wi-Fi and 3G, everything from racing simulators to magazines were just a touch away. And don't get us started on that LED display.

The Weird Part: You could use the iPad to do just about anything, but you were probably going to waste all your time on Angry Birds, which was purchased over 10 million times on Apple's App Store.

Where to Buy It Today: apple.com

The Big Deal: We had a classic consumer showdown on our hands this holiday season: B&N's e-book had a second screen, while Amazon's Kindle had just one. Throw in its Wi-Fi, and the Nook seemed set for a Christmas KO. That said, Beta had a much nicer picture than VHS.

The Weird Part: For once, porn wasn't the spark behind a new tech platform. No, this time it was something far more highbrow: romance novels. Now the serious career woman could enjoy Flowers from the Storm without having to explain the picture of Fabio.

Where to Buy It Today: barnesandnoble.com

The Big Deal: Children couldn't really resist a "truly lifelike creation" that seemed "to actually be speaking as his mouth opens," could they? But wait! The red monster also waved, sat and stood, and crossed his legs.

The Weird Part: The related Elmo Knows Your Name experienced a public scandal when it was discovered one doll (owned by a 2-year-old named James) would, upon being squeezed, repeat in Elmo's trademark singsong voice, "Kill James." So adorable.

Where to Buy It Today: ebay.com

The Big Deal: The first touchscreen and web-enabled iPod went from annual fanboy fantasy to national must-have, largely because it came at a fraction of the iPhone's price tag. Christmas? There's an app for that.

The Weird Part: Apple's profits took a slight hit when they had to deal with a lawsuit filed by an irate mother claiming her child's iPod Touch burst into flames while in his pocket, igniting his pants and "nylon/spandex underwear."

Where to Buy It Today: apple.com

The Big Deal: Sony's response to Microsoft's Xbox 360 had a North American launch inspiring such anticipation that pre-sale units hit $3,000 on eBay (retail topped out at $599), while mothers and mouth-breathers alike camped out for days to buy one in person.

The Weird Part: Legend has it one man in an advance line at Walmart discovered there would not be any PS3s left by the time it was his chance to make a purchase. So he did the only logical thing: He treated people ahead of him in line to coffee spiked with laxatives. He got one.

Where to Buy It Today: amazon.com

The Big Deal: Microsoft's Xbox 360 was huge. Beating Sony to the punch? Check. Internet connectivity for Halo tournaments stretching from nerds in Taiwan to schoolchildren in Toledo? You got it. Enough supply to meet holiday demand? Not so much. Frenzy ensued.

The Weird Part: Xbox 360 started production a mere 69 days before its launch. Customers lucky or savvy enough to recognize the potential profits from Microsoft's dilemma cashed in, as 40,000 units (or 10 percent of total supply) ended up on eBay within a week.

Where to Buy It Today: amazon.com

The Big Deal: What was a RoboSapien, you ask? It was a remote-control, 14-inch-tall humanoid capable of performing 67 preprogrammed actions and movements, including (but by no means limited to) break dancing, farting, and belching, of course!

The Weird Part: Prior to the resurgence of human movement with the success of Dancing with the Stars, humanity faced a sedentary period consisting entirely of RoboSapiens shaking their mechanical groove thangs on YouTube.

Where to Buy It Today: amazon.com

The Big Deal: In a classic demonstration of the power of synergy, Hasbro released these customizable "fighting" spin-tops in Japan simultaneously with a hit cartoon. World domination followed soon thereafter.

The Weird Part: Beyblade competitions quickly became a sensation, with the first one drawing 18,000 people. One need only YouTube the highlights of such an event to discover why this attracted more folk than the average heavyweight title fight.

Where to Buy It Today: toywiz.com

The Big Deal: Ah, Cloe, Jade, Sasha, and Yasmin. They're the original quartet of 10-inch "teenagers distinguished by large heads and skinny bodies." While their June 2001 launch proved disappointing, by Christmas they were well on their way to generating billions.

The Weird Part: If the Bratz remind you of Barbie dolls, you're not the only one. Mattel won a $100 million copyright suit against MGA in 2008 (though it should be noted that Mattel requested $1.8 billion).

Where to Buy It Today: amazon.com

The Big Deal: This was the year we decided we didn't want to drive. or walk. What to do? Dodge children in the streets! The original Razor also won Toy of the Year for establishing itself as a "classic mode of transportation, like bikes and skateboards."

The Weird Part: Only downside? Any grown man on a scooter looked like a total zero. John Mayer celebrated this in a short film about his songwriting process.

Where to Buy It Today: target.com

The Big Deal: With the Japanese cartoon a sensation, kids demanded more, and the video game series came to rival even the Mario titles in popularity. It even inspired South Park to parody the whole phenomenon (you know, the one where Japan wants to brainwash America's children into launching a second attack on Pearl Harbor). Pokémon cards were a side effect.

The Weird Part: An eight-second interval of a Pokémon TV episode duplicated a strobe-light effect so effectively that it triggered seizures in hundreds of fans, proving right mothers the world over: Cartoons are bad for you.

Where to Buy It Today: ebay.com

The Big Deal: Who wouldn't want a furry robot that could talk and blink its eyes? After retailing for $35, Furbies skyrocketed to $100 a pop, and more on collector's items like "tuxedo Furby" and "biker Furby."

The Weird Part: Owners discovered Furbies were strikingly affected by magnets, inspiring a demonic-looking video craze.

Where to Buy It Today: ebay.com

The Big Deal: Housed in an egg-shaped computer, these digital pets required feeding and poo-cleaning. But the hard work paid off with the occasionally redeeming happiness monitor. Deeply creepy stuff, but apparently very popular: 70 million Tamagotchis have been sold to date.

The Weird Part: When a Tamagotchi "dies," you can reset it and start again, but owners who truly cared for their pets found that heartless and instead had proper burials at (real) pet cemeteries, complete with gravesites and coffins.

Where to Buy It Today: ebay.com

The Big Deal: "When squeezed, Elmo would chortle. When squeezed three times in a row, Elmo would begin to shake and laugh hysterically." Needless to say, this was something Sesame Street watchers everywhere needed to have. And they needed to have it now.

The Weird Part: Beloved puppeteer Jim Henson may be gone, but surely he'd be moved to know he inspired a toy that would be resold for up to 80 times its $30 list value, and trigger at least one stampede of parents so crazed they left a store employee in the hospital.

Where to Buy It Today: amazon.com

The Big Deal: First conquering Chicago and then spreading all over this plush nation, Legs the Frog, Squealer the Pig, Spot the Dog, Flash the Dolphin, Splash the Whale, Chocolate the Moose, Patti the Platypus, and dozens of other $5 bean-bag creatures with pun-tastic names devoured our hearts.

The Weird Part: Recognizing the willingness of Americans to abandon any shred of dignity to get what their children want, an Atlanta radio station dumped eggs and beans on people in exchange for free Beanie Babies.

Where to Buy It Today: amazon.com

The Big Deal: Five racially diverse teenagers with superpowers fought evil aliens for a TV smash, and so came a line of toys featuring the Rangers and their "Zords"&mdash you know, giant robotic dinosaurs they used to combat aforementioned evil aliens. Duh.

The Weird Part: The Power Rangers's catchphrase, "It's Morphin Time!" reportedly outraged authorities in Malaysia, who feared it encouraged children to become morphine addicts.

Where to Buy It Today: walmart.com

The Big Deal: Barney & Friends was aimed at a younger crowd that found it irresistible to watch a purple dinosaur sing some of the most mawkish songs ever. This talking doll brought the tunes all day long. Needless to say, parents were thrilled.

The Weird Part: Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers this show was not. From TV Guide's "Worst 50 Shows of All Time": "His shows do not assist children. [T]he real danger from Barney is denial: the refusal to recognize the existence of unpleasant realities."

Where to Buy It Today: ebay.com

The Big Deal: It may have the least likely origin of any Christmas-season smash: POGs was a milk-cap game played during breaks by Hawaiian dairy workers. A two-person contest involving a flimsy disc and a slammer, POGs gave kids the chance to, well, take their friend's Christmas present supply away in minutes.

The Weird Part: It goes without saying that a game played by Hawaiian dairy workers would threaten educators. They quickly deemed POGs a form of gambling and banned them from schools across the nation.

Where to Buy It Today: ebay.com

The Big Deal: The TMNT action figures and video games were so popular they got kids to learn about Renaissance painters&mdashor learn their names, at least. Adolescent abnormal reptiles Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo discovered the ancient art of Ninjutsu from a giant talking rat to fight ninjas while eating pizza. Cowabunga, dude.

The Weird Part: The toys made a bundle, but the turtles also cleaned up with a 1990s live-action film, which earned over $200 million&mdashat the time, the highest-grossing indie movie to date.

Where to Buy It Today: ebay.com

The Big Deal: The first eight-bit handheld videogame system to utilize cartridges, GameBoy went anywhere and didn't force you to play the same damn game over and over again. Goodbye, couch! Hellooooo. other couch.

The Weird Part: Goodbye, Cold War! And thank you, USSR. A Soviet R&D center employed Alexey Pajitnov when he designed the puzzle game Tetris, which came bundled with the original GameBoy and to this day fills people of a certain age with an overwhelming desire to stack rectangles.

Where to Buy It Today: ebay.com

The Big Deal: The rare successful line of toys inspired by greeting cards&mdashreally&mdashthese plush teddy bears didn't become a smash until the TV show offered children a glimpse of life in the Kingdom of Caring.

The Weird Part: There are few things weirder than the intro to the Care Bears cartoon. (Note: All viewers should know that the theme song may lodge itself deep in your brain and make you hate yourself for being so darned insufficiently caring. You've been warned.)

Where to Buy It Today: amazon.com

The Big Deal: Without them, we might never have truly appreciated Michael Bay. Or how to turn plastic robots into cars, planes, tape recorders, insects, and dinosaurs. Transformative, indeed.

The Weird Part: There was an 1986 animated movie featuring the vocal talents of Orson Welles, who shrewdly died eight months before the movie premiered.


These fur-balls sold over 15 million units in their first year alone.

Nintendo says they named it Wii because it "sounds like 'we', which emphasizes that the console is for everyone." Good thinking, since pretty much everyone owns one.


Revolutionary for its time, the Nintendo Wii shook up the gaming market in Noughties.

Described as the 'most inclusive console of all time', dinner parties were quickly transformed to include a bit of virtual golf/tennis/bowling/skiing, the list goes on.

That was after Brits finally managed to get their hands on the console - there was a widespread shortage after its immediate release due to such popular demand.

It was £169 then and would cost £228.15 now.


10 Christmas Toys Through the Decades - HISTORY

HISTORY(R) Goes Back in Time with "Christmas Through the Decades" Premiering Wednesday, November 25 at 10PM ET/PT

New York, NY - November 17, 2015 - HISTORY premieres "Christmas Through the Decades," going back in time to see what Christmas and the holiday season were like in America not too long ago. Through experts and cultural icons offering their own insight and personal memories, "Christmas Through the Decades" will reveal how classic holiday films, fads, television specials, songs, and toys are still part of modern holiday celebration. This limited series is set to run for four consecutive weeks beginning Wednesday, November 25 at 10PM EPT/PT.

Each week dedicates one hour to a decade in history, beginning with the 1960s and concluding with the 1990s. Christmas in the 1960s was a turbulent time, marked by the tragic loss of JFK and absent loved ones fighting in the Vietnam War. However, a live Christmas Eve broadcast from Apollo 8 astronauts offered peace and hope to all on earth. The 1970s introduced Star Wars action figures that sold out before Christmas, Pet Rocks, and the holiday tune Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer. The 1980s were all about the Walkman, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas. In the 1990s parents were desperate to get their hands on Tickle Me Elmo and Beanie Babies, and Home Alone became a classic holiday film.

Join guests such as Jillian Michaels, Leann Rimes, Kenny Rogers, Dascha Polanco and more as HISTORY travels through the past and reminisces about the most wonderful time of the year in "Christmas Through the Decades."

"Christmas Through the Decades" is produced for HISTORY by TV Dinner Productions. Karla Hidalgo and Christopher Martin serve as executive producers for TV Dinner Productions. John Verhoff and Stephen Mintz serve as executive producers for HISTORY.


Yes and no. Yes, we got the emotional aspect and the animals, families coming together, animation, cinematography and more. However, this time last year, nobody would have thought we'd be living through a worldwide pandemic which may have shifted what some brands might have planned.

However, it's clear that things like the coronavirus pandemic and Marcus Rashford's child food poverty campaigning efforts were worked into some of the adverts. It's probably most noticeable in John Lewis' 2020 advert which shows a chain of giving.

The campaign is in collaboration with food poverty charity Fareshare and parental support charity Home-Start. The campaign and advert is a way of raising awareness on disadvantages families by shining a light on the long-term need for kindness.

After what people have gone through in 2020, this has never been more needed. The majority of adverts in 2020 are all about reflecting on the world we live in today, the acts of kindness during these challenging times and drawing attention to families that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The adverts of Christmas future…

It's a little tricky predicting what we could see in 2021. Expect much of the same in terms of cinematography, animals, animation, families and feel-good moments. The sentimental storylines prove to be really engaging and hook viewers in - making that brand more memorable.

it also depends on what happens in real-life as we head into 2021. If we get back to normality, perhaps adverts will show what a tough year we've all had and come out of the other end.

If an advert emotionally engages with a viewer, it’s likely that they’ll tell someone else about it and encourage them to watch, which contributes to the millions of views. Another common feature is the use of hashtags, especially in the case of John Lewis and JD Sports.

This is a really smart method of marketing as it encourages viewers to get involved on social media. This gets others immersed in the discussion, they’ll also use the hashtag and this cycle helps brands dominate Christmas.

The tone of voice is also crucial and something which helps keeps brands within their guidelines and make them seem more human. Although they’re all retailers and businesses, the brands we’ve mentioned are now storytellers, entertainers and have people counting down the days until the annual Christmas advert is released.

Expect more of this in the future. Animations, humour, emotional storytelling, animals, young children, families, older people and pop culture references. Using a combination of these is what keeps viewers engaged and this proven recipe has already worked wonders, so it’ll continue to do so in the future.

And it’s easy to see why businesses have done this. Just look at how much emotion and storytelling is involved in these video adverts. Can they achieve the same results on a billboard, leaflet or a regular advert? Probably not. You can’t ignore the importance of video and it’s the type of content the majority now prefer.

To find out more about utilising video in your marketing strategy, how to get started and how to execute killer video campaigns all year round, make sure to grab your inbound video guide.


Watch the video: Χριστουγεννιάτικο Δέντρο από χαρτί. 3D Paper Christmas Tree. Pargie (May 2022).