Great Christmas Toys Of Yesteryear: A Focus On The 80s and 90s
If you’ve ever had the chance to watch Toy Hunter on TV, you’ll know full well how even the most obscure toy from a few decades ago could have a value far beyond what you would expect. Renowned toy dealer Jordan Hembrough, who hosts the show, always does his best to be fair to those he buys toys from as he travels the East and West Coasts of America.
The price paid for rare toys made many years ago up to the more recent past is mind-blowing at times. Some of these figures and other collectibles were released by manufacturers in the lead up to Christmas in the hope of maximising sales. Quite often they proved to be a sell out and became the must-have toy for that particular year.
In the 1980s and 90s there were many toys that fit this bill, so we will take a look at a few of the names that made the biggest impact when it came to the ultimate gifts to buy kids during these decades. Some were all singing and all dancing creations with flashing lights and attention-grabbing features, while others made more of an understated entrance yet still had the same effect on children and toy collectors.
The Star Wars phenomenon
The first three Star Wars films may have been released in 1977, 1980 and 1983 respectively, but the legacy of the action figures dominated the first part of the decade with more than 300 million sold by 1985.
While there was no one Christmas release which stood out, many children – and indeed adults –of the Eighties remember having Star Wars toys on their list year after year.
These weren’t the only toys kids clamoured for in the Eighties though, with others of note including the Rubiks Cube, Lego Train Set, BMX bikes, My Little Pony, Ghostbusters and of course Transformers – Optimus Prime really was the toy to own back in 1985, with well-documented shortages of this model.
The Rest of the Eighties
The 1980s weren’t just about Star Wars and Transformers for guys though, with the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series proving popular toys between 1982 and 1988. For the female audience, the She-Ra character proved a hit in 1985.
Cuddly toys were certainly all the rage during this era, with Cabbage Patch Dolls, Care Bears, Pound Puppies and Wuzzles also making their way under the Christmas tree ready for excited little boys and girls to open.
The Nineties arrived with a bang and the invasion of the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. These were another Christmas toy that proved elusive for many parents on the hunt for the number one toy of that year.
A year later the Nintendo Game Boy handheld games system was launched with the craze for portable consoles well and truly underway.
An article on Christmas toys that has more than a passing mention to the Nineties shouldn’t leave out the Power Rangers toy line which followed on from the popular children’s TV show. Back in 1993 these really were sell-outs.
The rest of the decade wasn’t quiet on the toy front either, with Toy Story, Teletubbies, TY Beanie Babies and Tamagotchi amongst the best sellers certainly worth a shout out.
Back to the present
As we return to the present day, it looks like last year’s hit, the new version of the Furby with interactive technology, is all set to dominate yet again. According to toy store Hamleys, Furbys are still the toys kids are desperate for as the festive season approaches.
Many of the kids who remember the popular 80’s toys acknowledged in this post will now be parents themselves, so will understand full well the need to get the best toys in nice and early – to avoid the mad rush.
Whatever you do end up deciding to get your little ones this Christmas, it is worth planning ahead and being fully prepared for this exciting time. With around two-thirds of people now opting for artificial Christmas trees which really do look and feel like the real thing, you could get your order in early and save the hassle of going out and choosing one.
Don’t forget your decorations and Christmas lights either, as there are certainly plenty of options to brighten up your home and bring in the cheer this Christmastime.
Christmas Trees and Lights have provided an insight into how Christmas presents have changed over the years.