From dolls with a passion for fashion to handheld digital pets, the wide landscape of toys is ever-evolving.
Looking back on the toys of our childhoods, (or the toys we’ve been running around trying to find our own kids), are they simply just nostalgic, or have any of them actually stood the test of time?
We take a look at some of the best-selling Christmas toys and find out. Take a trip down memory lane with the list below and see how many you can remember…
Buzz Lightyear – 1995
It’s unsurprising that a toy introduced as “the coolest toy ever” in the Disney/Pixar franchise Toy Story, became one of the most sought-after gifts in 1995. The 12” tall action figure came with karate-chop action, high-pressure space wings, a retractable helmet, voice simulator, and wrist communicator.
Buzz has since been revamped and re-released several times alongside each new movie instalment. He is also the Disney store’s best-selling toy of all time so take that, Woody.
Bratz Dolls – 2001
The original Bratz Dolls, Jade, Cloe, Yasmin, and Sasha, were released in 2001 and were touted as having “a passion for fashion.” Each doll came with snap-on accessories and mix and match separates, giving them all a unique style.
Bratz Dolls were seen as Barbie’s cool younger sister with their loud make-up and even louder outfits. Desire, an Instagram-based artist, has said that “the fact they released a black doll on their first launch and it wasn’t added in a later date means we weren’t an afterthought.”
Tamagotchi – 1997
What were you doing if you didn’t have a Tamagotchi?! A handheld digital pet, Tamagotchi’s needed cleaning, feeding, and playing with, however, if they were neglected they would die.
In the original version, the pet would die within half a day if it wasn’t attended to, leading to people taking their Tamagotchis wherever they went. Schools even started banning them as they became too distracting. In the years since, a phenomenon called “the Tamagotchi effect” began, which is the development of emotional attachment with machines or robots.
Hot Wheels – 1968
Hot Wheels were born in 1968 and were brought to life by Mattel co-founder Elliot Handler when he challenged his design team to create a toy car that was cooler and performed better than anything else on the market.
A dedicated team works on the creation of fantasy custom cars to the most recent models and as a result, Hot Wheels will always have a special place in the hearts of kids today as well as those of generations past.
Furby – 1998
Released in 1998 by Tiger Electronics, the Furby became the must-have toy of the late 90s. Heavily inspired by the Tamagotchi, the Furby’s three creators, David Hampton, Caleb Chung and Richard C. Levy set about creating an electronic toy that you could physically pet, and by the end of the toy’s first three years, 40 million Furbies had been sold.
The similarity between Furbies and loveable Gizmo from the Gremlins movies also resulted in the release of the limited edition Gizmo Furby, proving a real treat for movie fans.
Cabbage Patch Kids – 1982
Cabbage Patch Kids dolls are a line of cloth dolls first produced by Coleco Industries in 1982 and it was claimed that each Cabbage Patch Kids doll was unique. They had different head molds, eye shapes and colours, hairstyles and colours as well as multiple clothing options. Each doll came with a “birth certificate” strengthening their individuality.
You can even go visit the Babyland General Hospital and see the birth of a doll, as well as thousands of Cabbage Patch Kids dolls.
Gameboy – 1989
The original Gameboy, released in 1989, was an 8-bit handheld console that supported interchangeable cartridges, although its screen could only display games in four shades of grey.
The most notable launch game was Super Mario Land but since then the console has seen the likes of Tetris, Pokemon, The Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong. Now a vintage classic, the Gameboy will remain a staple of 90s nostalgia.
Barbie – 1958
Barbie officially debuted on March 9th, 1959 at the American International Toy Fair in New York City as a creation of Mattel co-founder Ruth Handler. Barbara Millicent Roberts, or Barbie, was the first mass-produced toy doll in the US with adult features.
In 2020, a range of new inclusive dolls was released that featured dolls with no hair, prosthetic legs, and vitiligo, with the aim that all children could find a doll that speaks to them.
Barbie has had over 200 careers including an astronaut, a doctor, and a rock star and she has run for president seven times. She is a true icon of our time.
Rubik’s Cube – 1974
The Rubik’s cube is a 3D combination puzzle game invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and architecture professor Erno Rubik, who initially wasn’t even sure it could be solved.
Mathematicians have calculated that there are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 ways to arrange the squares of the puzzle but only one of them is correct. The cube has been studied and played with for decades and remains a popular gift for all ages.
The current record for the fastest solve of the cube is an incredible 3.47 seconds by speedcuber Yusheng Du.
Lego – 1932
Lego originally started in Denmark as a carpenter that made wooden toys, stepladders, and ironing boards. Two years later the business took the name of Lego, which came from the Danish words “LEg GOdt”, meaning “play well.”
From 1964, people could buy full Lego sets which included all the parts and assembly instructions to build specific models. Later on, Lego introduced themes lines like space, western, pirates, and Harry Potter.
In 2000, The British Association of Toy Retailers named the Lego brick the “Toy of the Century” and as of 2018, Lego has sold 75 billion of its bricks across 140 countries. It’s safe to say that Lego has definitely stood the test of time.
So there you have it, 10 of the top best-selling Christmas toys of all time. I’m sure, for many of you, there will be a toy or two in there which will have left you feeling a sense of nostalgia.
Still looking for a timeless gift to give this Christmas? Our gift collection includes a range of beautiful, handcrafted items that will make the ideal present for that special someone. Find out more about us and take a look at our range today for ideas!
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