Over the years, various toys have topped the list in children’s letters to Santa Claus. These gifts have sent parents panicking to buy that year’s must-have toy for their child. Which of these did you own?
Mr. Potato Head: In 1952, the world was introduced to Mr. Potato Head – the first toy to ever be advertised on TV. Back then, kids stuck plastic eyes, ears and a mouth onto an actual potato and it wasn’t until 1964 that a plastic body was included with the toy. Mr. Potato Head received renewed popularity in the 90s and 00s after appearing as a moody, sarcastic character in the Toy Story movie series.
Interesting trivia: Mr. Potato Heads used to also carry a pipe, until 1987 when he became a “spokespud” for the American Cancer Society’s anti-smoking campaign.
Pet Rock: People like trouble-free pets. This pet did not need to be fed, walked or cleaned up after. This pet was a rock, which sold like crazy during the Christmas season of 1975, making its “inventor” a millionaire. Why people paid money for something they could find in their backyard, I cannot figure out.
For the person in your life who has everything: buy them the modern-day version, a USB pet rock. It plugs into your computer, is compatible with any operating system, and draws no power. In fact, it does nothing!
Cabbage Patch Kids: Short supply and high demand caused “doll mania” to strike America in 1983. Fights broke out in toy stores as parents scrambled to purchase a Cabbage Patch Kid for their child (or for themselves). One man even flew from his hometown of Kansas City to London just to procure a Cabbage Patch doll for his daughter.
But what is a Cabbage Patch Kid? They are kids born in a cabbage patch and adopted by real boys and girls all over the world!
Pokémon: The Japanese pocket monsters first appeared in a Nintendo video game, then as an animated TV series, a trading card game, and in toys, books and other media. Pokémon products featured under the Christmas tree of every kid of the late-90s, and many parents complained about having to spend exorbitant amounts of money on overpriced toys featuring Pikachu and friends.
Not-so-fun fact: One episode of the Pokémon cartoon series contained strobe lighting effects that caused 635 Japanese children to have epileptic seizures.
Tamagotchi: Another 90s craze originating from Japan, 70 million of these pocket-sized eggs have been sold worldwide. A Tamagotchi is a virtual pet that the owner takes care of from the moment it is born to the moment it dies. They usually require more care and attention than a Pet Rock.
Watch out: Some kids develop an unhealthy emotional attachment to this toy.
Wii: Nintendo’s Wii set itself apart from rival consoles with its sensory controller that detected movements from the player’s physical hand gestures. People of all ages enjoyed titles such as Wii Sports and Mario Kart. The Wii also popularized the use of exergames such as Wii Fit, turning video games into an active experience.
The Wii’s sometimes physically demanding games have caused some players to experience a form of tennis elbow called “Wiiitis.”
iPad: The Apple iPad is this year’s most-wanted toy, with kids as young as six putting it on their Christmas lists. The iPad has a huge range of features for movies, music, games, ebooks and internet browsing. An iPad can do almost anything, but your kid might just want to play Angry Birds.
What do you think? Would you rather your child grow up in an era of Mr. Potato Heads and Cabbage Patch Kids? Or are your comfortable having them own video games and iPads?