A festive flick through some Top 10s about Christmas during the 1980s: what presents did children open, who was top of the pops at Christmas and more importantly what did we sit down to watch after eating those festive dinners, whilst carelessly munching on the After Eights!!
For a start here are the top Christmas Gifts Santa delivered during the 1980s.
The Top Christmas Gifts of the 1980s
Here's a little gem for you to kick things off - in 1980 the top selling gift was a Rubik's Cube (used to love mine) costing about £1.50, in 2010 the top selling gift was an Apple iPad costing about £350!!! (Talk about inflation!!!)
So, 1980 the start of the decade, all we wanted for Christmas was the latest craze, a Rubik's Cube. "Designed in 1974 by a Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture, Erno Rubik. It was originally called the Magic Cube and was licensed to be sold by the Ideal Toy Corporation in 1980." (Wikipedia) It was a craze that swept the world, and since its international launch in 1980 over 350 million cubes have been solved.
[nerd alert: there are 43 quintillion different combinations, apparently]
In 1981 the top selling gift was The Lego Train Set - you just can't beat Lego!! The first Lego Train sets were introduced in the 1960s, however the 1980s saw a revamp of the design, the tracks changed colour to dark grey from blue and the 12-volt transformer changed to support utility functions in a more streamlined style with control switches that docked alongside the transformer, following the design style of increasingly streamlined model train controls of the time.
[nerd alert - Lego is the world's biggest manufacturer of tyres and by 2011 annual production was 381 million tyres, more than twice that of other major tyre manufacturers including Bridgestone, Michelin and Goodyear!!]
In 1982 everyone wanted a BMX bike - just so you would be the coolest kid on the block.
BMX started in the early 1970s when children began racing their bicycles on dirt tracks in Sothern California, drawing inspiration from the motocross superstars of the time. The size and availability of the Schwinn Sting-Ray made it the natural bike of choice, since they were easily customized for better handling and performance. BMX racing was a phenomenon by the mid-1970s and children were racing standard road bikes off-road, around purpose-built tracks in California.
[nerd alert - the first BMX World Championships were held in 1982]
By 1983 a more 'girlie' gift topped the Christmas Wish List - yes indeed, it's those Cabbage Patch Kids - a line of soft sculptured dolls created by 21year old art student Xavier Roberts. He utilized the quilting skills he learned from his mother and the historic technique of "needle molding" to develop his own line of fabric sculptures. He called these hand-stitched, one-of-a-kind, soft fabric sculptures "The Little People".
His Little People were not offered for sale, but were "adopted" each with their own individual name and birth certificate. Many other soft sculpture dolls dating back to the 1800s were created using similar needle molding techniques, but the execution of Xavier's own design has been certified to be unique and copyrightable as a work of art.
The Little People were first offered at arts and crafts shows, then later at Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland, Georgia. The doll brand went on to become one of the most popular toy fads of the 1980s and one of the longest-running doll franchises in America.
The name change to Cabbage Patch Kids was made in 1982 when Xavier's company, Original Appalachian Artworks, began to license a smaller version of the hand made creations to a toy manufacturer named Coleco. An abbreviated version of the discovery legend was reproduced on every Cabbage Patch Kids product from 1983 onward.
[nerd alert: to date roughly 115 million dolls have been sold worldwide!]
Yes, believe it or not Transformers are not new 'Robots in disguise', they have been around for a while and did top the Christmas Wish List for 1984 - and then they were actually cool!
The Transformers (retroactively called Generation 1 or G1) started as a joint venture between two companies: Hasbro of America and Takara of Japan. After an idea to rebrand and sell Takara's Diaclone and Microchange robot toys as a whole new line with a new concept behind it, Hasbro unknowingly would wind up creating what would be one of its longest-running franchises.
In contrast to today's franchises, which tend by design to run 12 to 18 months, Generation 1 was essentially an unbroken line from 1984 to 1991; its logo and packaging format only underwent one major change in that time.
[nerd alert - Optimus Prime has been around since Generation 1]
Admit it, someone reading this has probably got a Care Bear hidden away somewhere - because in 1985 these were the most wanted toy for Christmas.
The Care Bears are a group of multi-coloured bear characters created by American Greetings Corporation, LLC in 1981, through its Those Characters From Cleveland research and development division, for use on greeting cards. The original artwork for the cards was painted by artist Elena Kucharik. In 1983, Kenner turned the Care Bears into plush teddy bears. The Care Bears appeared in TV specials called The Care Bears in the Land Without Feelings (1983) and The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine (1984). They then had a television series from 1985 to 1988, and three feature films: The Care Bears Movie (1985), Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation (1986), The Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland (1987).
Each Care Bear comes in a different colour and has a specialized insignia on its belly that represents its duty and personality. This insignia was known as their "tummy symbol." However, the movie Care Bears: Oopsy Does It! renamed them "belly badges." Adding to the Care Bear family are the "Care Bear Cousins", which feature a lion, rabbit, penguin, raccoon, monkey, elephant, pig, dog, cat, and other such animals created in the same style as the teddy bears
[nerd alert - over 40 million bears were sold between 1983 and 1987 and over 70 million have been sold since the relaunch in 2007]
The toy, however, was not without controversy. In April 1987, 19-year-old Leonard Falcon was shot and killed in Rancho Cucamonga, CA by a sheriffs deputy after witnesses saw him and several friends playing with it, mistaking the toys for real guns. The deputy who shot him quit his job soon afterwards. According to some sources, the negative publicity associated with the incident contributed to Worlds of Wonders bankruptcy and dissolution the following year.
The Lazer Tag brand name was acquired by Shoot The Moon Products of Pleasanton, CA, after Worlds Of Wonder ceased operations in late 1990. Since then, the brand name has been licensed to Tiger Electronics from 1996–1998 and to Hasbro from 2004–present under the Nerf banner.
In August 2012, Hasbro released an all-new Lazer Tag line, which allows users to integrate their iPhone or iPod Touch units with the blasters. The provided apps convert the smartphones into HUD units, which display power levels and update players' gaming progress on an online leaderboard. Gaming experience is further enhanced with unlockable attacks and gear.
In 1987 we all craved a Koosh Ball - a toy ball made of rubber filaments (strings) attached to a soft rubber core. The number of Koosh balls sold is estimated to be in the millions.
The ball consists of about 2,000 natural rubber filaments, and has been released in a variety of color combinations. A variation was the Koosh Kins line of Koosh balls with cartoon faces and hands. Koosh Kins was made into a comic book mini-series by Archie Comics, where they kept their cartoon-like appearance.
Koosh balls are often used with QuickStart tennis exercises to help children develop motor skills.
Koosh balls are currently manufactured by Hasbro, and the brand has recently expanded into different product lines starting with Koosh Galaxy. The new line consists of toy blasters that fire foam balls similar to the original Nerf ball, and includes a cross-promotion with Angry Birds Star Wars
In 1988 who did we want to call? Not Santa this year, but those Ghostbusters.
The Real Ghostbusters Toy line was created by Kenner from 1986 through 1991. It was mostly related to the Animated Series, however the Ecto-1a and ECTO-Charger where both related to the Ghostbusters II Film.
As we approached the end of the 1980s, the top selling toy everyone wanted in 1989 was Nintendo's original GameBoy - where SuperMario and Tetris ruled supreme.
It is the first handheld console in the Game Boy line, and was created by Gunpei Yokoi and Nintendo Research & Development 1—the same staff who had designed the Game & Watch series as well as several popular games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Redesigned versions were released in 1996 and 1998, in the form of Game Boy Pocket, and Game Boy Light (Japan only), respectively.
The Game Boy is Nintendo's second handheld system following the Game & Watch series introduced in 1980, and it combined features from both the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game & Watch. It was originally bundled with the puzzle game Tetris.
As part of the fourth generation of gaming, the Game Boy competed with the Sega Game Gear, Atari Lynx, and the TurboExpress. Despite these other handheld consoles, the Game Boy was a tremendous success.
[nerd alert - GameBoy and its successor GameBoy Colour have sold in total 118.69 million units worldwide and upon its release in the United States it sold its entire shipment of 1 million units within a few weeks!]
Note - most information about the products has come from Wikipedia - the list itself has come from metro.co.uk
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