For Christmas, Here's Something A Bit More Light-Hearted: A Timeline of the Top-Selling Christmas Gifts... Ever.

OliverC 2011/12/25 01:49:45

A Timeline of the Top-Selling Christmas Gifts... Ever.

timeline top-selling christmas gifts

A year-by-year look back over the last eight decades at the must-have
presents that sent parents a-tramplin'.

Let's Rock Elmo
Courtesy of

2011: Let's Rock Elmo (Hasbro)

The Big Deal: Elmo doesn't just laugh his ass off like
he did 15 years ago or babble incessantly like he did in 2008. This time, the
character that never fails to captivate toy-market watchers (one of whom
actually calls this "virtually the only exciting product" of the season) applies
a more mature instinct: He's a bona fide rock star, albeit a very polite one.
Let's Rock Elmo comes with a mic, tambourine, and drum set (anything more than
percussion costs extra) and can launch into versions of "What I Like About You"
and "It Takes Two." There are a few frightening video demonstrations out there, if you

The Weird Part: That Elmo is back yet again. And that he
pairs surprisingly well with a certain adult singer-songwriter.

Apple iPad
Photo: Ben

2010: Apple iPad

The Big Deal: Really, were there any other contenders? It's
the first of its kind — a slim tablet that lets 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 are just a touch away. And
don't get us started on that gorgeous LED display.

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

2007: iPod Touch (Apple)
Courtesy of

2007: iPod Touch (Apple)

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."

2006: Playstation 3 (Sony)
Courtesy of

2006: Playstation 3 (Sony)

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

The Weird Part: Legend has it one man on an advance line at
a 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.

Xbox 360
Courtesy of

2005: Xbox 360 (Microsoft)

The Big Deal: 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
sixty-nine days before its launch. Customers lucky or savvy enough to recognize
the potential profits of Microsoft's dilemma cashed in, as forty thousand units (or 10
percent of total supply) ended up on eBay within a week.

2004: RoboSapiens (WowWee)
Courtesy of

2004: RoboSapiens (WowWee)

The Big Deal: What's a RoboSapien, you ask? Why a
remote-control, fourteen-inch-tall humanoid capable of performing sixty-seven
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.

Bratz Dolls
Courtesy of MGA

2001: Bratz (MGA Entertainment)

The Big Deal: Ah, Cloe, Jade, Sasha, and Yasmin. They're the
original quartet of ten-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
, 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).

2000: Razor Scooters (Razor USA)
Courtesy of

2000: Razor Scooters (Razor USA)

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
looks like a total zero. John Mayer celebrated this in a short film about his
songwriting process.

1998: Furby (Tiger Electronics)
Courtesy Tiger

1998: Furby (Tiger Electronics)

The Big Deal: Who wouldn't want a furry robot that can talk
and blink its eyes? Indeed, who wouldn't want one so badly that they'd be
willing to pay a huge markup? After retailing for $35, Furbies skyrocketed to
$100 a pop, not to mention "collector's items" like "tuxedo Furby" and "biker

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

Courtesy of Bandai

1997: Tamagotchi (Bandai)

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.

Beanie Babies
Courtesy of Ty Inc.

1995: Beanie Babies (Ty Inc.)

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.

Courtesy of Playskool

1992: Barney Talking Doll (Playskool)

The Big Deal: Barney & Friends was aimed at a younger
crowd that somehow found it irresistible to watch a man in a dinosaur suit 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."

1989: GameBoy (Nintendo)
Courtesy of Nintendo

1989: GameBoy (Nintendo)

The Big Deal: The first eight-bit handheld video game system
to utilize cartridges, GameBoy went anywhere and didn't force you to play the
same 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.

1985: Care Bears (American Greetings/Kenner)
Courtesy of American Greetings /

1985: Care Bears
(American Greetings/Kenner)

The Big Deal: The rare successful line of toys inspired by
greeting cards — really — these plush teddy bears didn't become a smash until
their 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.)

1984: The Transformers (Hasbro)
Courtesy of Hasbro

The Transformers

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

The Weird Part: Before this decade's Michael Bay calamities,
there was the 1986 animated movie featuring the vocal talents of Orson Welles,
who shrewdly died eight months before the movie premiered.

1983: Cabbage Patch Kids (Caleco)
Courtesy of Caleco

1983: Cabbage Patch Kids (Caleco)

The Big Deal: Here's how their Web site puts it: "One day, a
young boy named Xavier Roberts wandered into a magic cabbage patch hidden behind
a beautiful waterfall. He discovered busy little Bunnybees sprinkling cabbages
with magic crystals. Suddenly, all sorts of different kids and babies peeked out
of the cabbages!"

The Weird Part: Few toys have inspired this kind of
stampede. While the shoving has died down over the years, CPK continue to go
strong and are now one of America's longest running doll lines.

1980: Rubik's Cube (Ideal Toys)
Courtesy of Ideal Toys

1980: Rubik's Cube (Ideal Toys)

The Big Deal: 'Twas another Christmas delight from the other
side of the Iron Curtain. A professor at Budapest's Academy of Applied Arts and
Design, Erno Rubik often built geometric models. One of them (a 27-piece cube)
started being marketed in Hungary in 1977 and by 1980 was frustrating millions
of Americans.

The Weird Part: It's been said there's one correct answer
and "43 quintillion wrong ones" to this puzzle. So it was quite a feat when
Northeastern University researchers found a way to solve it in 26 moves in 2007,
instead of the 27 previously believed necessary.

1959: Barbie
Courtesy of Mattel

1959: Barbie (Mattel)

The Big Deal: Good ideas are one thing, but it helps if
you're married to the co-founder of Mattel. Inspired by a doll she saw on a trip
to Germany, Ruth Handler created Barbara Millicent Roberts. And with the help of
ads aimed at kids instead of their parents, billions of dollars followed.

The Weird Part: Some say that Barbies lead to girls seeking
unrealistic bodies, but researchers have calculated that if Barbie were an
actual woman standing 5'6", her figure would be an in no way implausible

The Slinky
Courtesy of poof-slinky.com

1943: The

The Big Deal: While marine engineer Richard James was
devising a spring to hold shipboard marine torsion meters steady, one fell from
his desk and proceeded to spring end over end across the floor. When stairs also
proved no obstacle, toys stores came calling.

The Weird Part: As if applications in the music, military,
and space industries weren't enough, James had to go and take a fan's suggestion
for the Slinky Dog in 1952. Hundreds of thousands of units later (including a
1995 Christmas craze based on the Toy Story character), and it's still making
the Chia Pet look bad.

1936: Monopoly (Parker Brothers)
Courtesy of Parker Brothers

1936: Monopoly (Parker Brothers)

The Big Deal: Charles Darrow patented the real-estate
adventure in 1935, and Hasbro claims that approximately 750 million people have
partaken, making it the most played board game in the world — Guinness says so.

The Weird Part: Once and for all, the little guy with the
monocle is not Mr. Monopoly; he is named Rich Uncle Pennybags. Let's get it
right, people.

Duncan Yo Yo
Courtesy of Duncan

1929: Yo-Yos (Duncan)

The Big Deal: After hotel bellhop Pedro Flores attracted a
crowd playing a traditional Filipino game with an object on a string during his
lunch break, he started the Flores Yo-Yo Company. (Incidentally, "yo-yo" means
"come-come" or "come back.")

The Weird Part: While the designed hasn't changed — two
equal-sized pieces connected by an axle to loop the string — marketers have
built in a five-year cycle to make yo-yos popular again when kids forget about
it. Because toys, no matter how classic, can always be forgotten.

Read More: http://shopping.yahoo.com/articles/yshoppingarticl...

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Top Opinion

  • Link 2011/12/25 14:29:19
    LOL... I guess in the 50's, 60's and 70's, there were no popular toys... Why? Kids were too busy playing with their Own Dingalings (My dingaling, your dingaling, I want you to play with my dingaling...)??

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  • Ms Missy 2011/12/28 22:35:59
    Ms Missy
    funny thing is most of these are still around in some way shape or form.
    I actually got a few beanie babies for Christmas this year lol
    wise the owl
  • Awesome... Ms Missy 2012/01/06 21:17:17
    I got a furby! But it came off of eBay
  • ruthannhausman 2011/12/26 23:39:53
    I grew up overseas (Army brat) in weird places (hardship tours) and so we were always behind the 8 ball on most of the fads. By the time we got into them, they were over with in the States. I really don't remember too much about what kind of toys we played with. Isn't that a strange thing? I remember our pets more. Like the monkey and the wild boar. Now that was something to reflect on!
  • Caroline - fan of Audubon 2011/12/25 17:08:17
    Caroline - fan of Audubon
    Some things are so unique and never go out of date. I never did figure out the Rubik's Cube, still working on it until I die. Lol
  • OliverC Carolin... 2011/12/26 00:05:36
    Took me about 35 minutes
  • OliverC OliverC 2011/12/26 00:06:07
    That's how long it took to get the stickers peeled off and put back in the right order.
  • Carolin... OliverC 2011/12/27 00:54:36
    Caroline - fan of Audubon
    Oh shyte! you got me on that one. lolol
  • OliverC Carolin... 2011/12/27 01:40:39
  • Carolin... OliverC 2011/12/27 01:47:21
    Caroline - fan of Audubon
    Where can I buy one of those? Do the stickers come in a separate box?
  • OliverC Carolin... 2011/12/27 04:18:07
    Nope, it's strictly "do it yourself" The hardest part is peeling the stickers off without tearing them.
  • Carolin... OliverC 2011/12/27 18:41:53
    Caroline - fan of Audubon
    In that case, I should solve the puzzle in about 35 minutes.
  • Carolin... OliverC 2011/12/27 00:53:35
    Caroline - fan of Audubon
    Then you must have a Rubik mind. Oliver.
  • Link 2011/12/25 14:29:19
    LOL... I guess in the 50's, 60's and 70's, there were no popular toys... Why? Kids were too busy playing with their Own Dingalings (My dingaling, your dingaling, I want you to play with my dingaling...)??
  • OliverC Link 2011/12/26 00:07:27
    No, then children could actually play outside without being taken away and their parents being arrested for "neglect".
  • Link OliverC 2011/12/26 00:24:19
    LOL... true that... I do remember the days
  • OliverC Link 2011/12/26 01:00:09
    Those were the good ol' days. I remember every saturday morning my mom would tell me "get your ass out that door and don't let me see you until bedtime." I spent most of every summer without her having the slightest hint of where I was.
  • Link OliverC 2011/12/26 01:03:12
  • Awesome... Link 2012/01/06 21:18:31
    There's lots of awesome toys in the 70's lots of them are better then the toys today!
  • Link Awesome... 2012/01/06 22:32:41
    True that... we still had to do what we used to call "IMAGINE".. a thing they have no clue about today...
  • Awesome... Link 2012/01/06 23:38:37
    True I imagine all the time cause I have to. Even on the computer
  • Mikel_mad2002 2011/12/25 12:13:42
    I never bought those when they came out although I did buy my daughter a Ferby, but that was for her birthday in 2000. My big think as a kid in the 60s was Major Matt Mason- Mattel's man in space
  • OliverC Mikel_m... 2011/12/26 00:04:32
    Oh god, I had practically that whole set. Major Matt, Sgt Storm (red suit), blue suit guy, orange suit guy (never really knew their names), Capt. Lazer (the giant), the moonbase, space crawler, space sled, XRG-1 re-entry glider, the whole nine yards. I could probably just about finance a college education on what that crap's worth now, if I still had any of it.
  • Mikel_m... OliverC 2011/12/27 23:19:56
    I had most of those two as well as Doug Davis in the gold suit and Calisto, the man from Jupiter
  • Matt 2011/12/25 11:46:33 (edited)
    People are getting both trampled and murdered for a pair of $150 Air Jordans !

    Air Jordan shoes
  • Mikel_m... Matt 2011/12/25 12:14:25
    Sad isn't it
  • Matt Mikel_m... 2011/12/25 15:19:59
    Not one single pair is made in America, either. Capitalism is very expensive here.
    Indonesia: 30% of Nike�s total business costs goes to payoffs for Indonesian generals, government officials, and cronies.
  • lee Matt 2012/01/09 18:59:42
  • ~TheDreamer~ 2011/12/25 06:20:30
    OMG I remember wanting a Ferbie, and a Gameboy, and a Tomagotchi, and Beanie Babies!! LOL...I loved my Ferbie!!
  • Charu ∞ijm♥∞ 2011/12/25 04:59:07
    Charu ∞ijm♥∞
    I stood in line till 4am Christmas morning to get my daughters there Cabbage Batch dolls then I had to rush home like heck to get them under the tree before they woke up! NEVER AGAIN!!!
  • jubil8 BN-0 PON 2011/12/25 04:57:48
    jubil8 BN-0 PON
    I remember my first Slinky.

    This was fun. Thanks.

    Merry Christmas.
  • Awesome... jubil8 ... 2012/01/06 21:19:46
    I remember getting a slinky too. My stupid brother broke it :(
  • jubil8 ... Awesome... 2012/01/07 16:29:56
    jubil8 BN-0 PON
    They always seemed to kink up after awhile, no matter how nice you were to them (slinkies, that is, I don't know whether your brother was kinky). :)
  • Foxy Warrior Guru 2011/12/25 03:30:43
    Foxy Warrior Guru
    I had a Furby. That thing was frikkin scarey!
  • Charu ∞... Foxy Wa... 2011/12/25 04:56:43
    Charu ∞ijm♥∞
    So did my daughters....freaked them out too!
  • Foxy Wa... Charu ∞... 2011/12/25 06:58:58
    Foxy Warrior Guru
    Especially when the batteries started to go and it started talking to itself in the middle of the night, sounding like something from the Exorcist. brrrrr.
  • Charu ∞... Foxy Wa... 2011/12/25 07:17:57
    Charu ∞ijm♥∞
    OH MY GOSH CHILD Did you ever bring the memories! ROTFL Sorry not laughing at you just the memories you brought back in our house. :) Thank you
  • Awesome... Foxy Wa... 2012/01/06 00:00:18
    I have a 2005 one I make sure it's eyes are closed when I turn it off so it wont stare at me at night
  • Foxy Wa... Awesome... 2012/01/06 00:40:16
    Foxy Warrior Guru
    I actually HAD one of the ones that said "Go f**k yourself." (and yes, it actually did say that.) One of my ex's stole it from me when we broke up.
  • Awesome... Foxy Wa... 2012/01/06 15:26:41
    Wow :o Too bad

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