The History Of Popular Toys At Christmas From Teddy Bears To iPod Shuffles — GIFS
When it comes to holiday shopping, nothing is more stressful for me than picking out toys for younger family members. How am I, an ancient twentysomething, supposed to know what's hip these days?! Looking back at the history of popular toys only further proves that the trends change drastically from year to year, leaving us older shoppers flailing around the American Girl Doll store wondering if Samantha is still the one everyone wants or if she's been replaced altogether by whatever those weirdly terrifying electronic skateboard things Justin Bieber seems to be a fan of are.
Of course, there's loads to be grateful about in regard to the toys of 2015. Even the process of shopping for them is improving, with Target and other stores removing gender-based signs in their kids' sections. Still, it's hard not to have the feeling that deep down the toys you grew up with were actually the best of all time. The Frozen Sing Along Elsa Doll 2015 ain't got nothing on 1998's Bop It Extreme and virtual reality goggles will never provide the same type of extreme fun that came with a Razor Scooter. To celebrate the season of giving and all the awesome presents of our past, here's a look back at the most popular toys in history, from the simple dolls in 1910 all the way to the high-tech gadgets of 2015.
1910s: Raggedy Ann Dolls & Teddy Bears
According to Wired, the Teddy Bear was one of the most popular toys in the first decade of the 20th century, hitting the market shortly after then-president Theodore Roosevelt's famous hunting trip. Another big seller was the Raggedy Ann doll, which was sold alongside Johnny Gruelle's book series with the same name.
1920s: Radio Flyer Wagon, Chemistry Set, & Yoyo
As TIME reported, educational chemistry sets, adventuring Radio Flyer Wagons, and skill-building yoyos were all huge hits in the 1920s. It was the decade of doing, apparently.
1930s: Pop Up Books, Finger Paint, & Red Ryder BB Guns
Modern day kids are likely more familiar with Red Ryder's appearance on Ralphie's list in A Christmas Story, but the BB gun became popular all the way back in the 1930s, according to TIME. Other hit toys included pop up books and sets of finger paint.
1940s: Bubble Solution & Slinkys
The '40s were certainly a simpler time, though to this day nothing quite beats the satisfaction of watching your Slinky make it all the way down the stairs. Those oversized springs and bubbles made their way to the tops of Christmas lists during the decade.
1950s: Mr Potato Head, Matchbox Cars, & Silly Putty
The gruff character from Toy Story first made a splash in the toy industry in 1952 and, alongside Matchbox cars and Silly Putty, was one of the biggests holiday wishes for the decade.
1960s: Easy Bake Oven, Etch-A-Sketch, Troll Dolls, & Legos
The '60s were a big decade for iconic toys, with Easy Bake Ovens, Etch-A-Sketches, Trolls Dolls, and Legos all becoming majorly popular, according to education fundraising company Believe Kids. Heck, all four of those were still on my list in the 2000s!
1970s: Battleship, Atari, & Barrel Of Monkeys
Arguably the first major video game system, the Atari caught everyone's attention in the 1970s, making it the first high-tech gift on this list. Not everyone was an e-gamer though, with Battleship and Barrel Of Monkeys also being crazy popular.
1980s: Rubik's Cube, My Little Pony, & Care Bears
It's not really such a surprise that the toys of the '80s were largely bright and colorful. My Little Pony, Care Bears, and the Rubik's Cube all shone at the top of Christmas lists during the decade.
1990s: Beanie Babies, Tickle Me Elmo, & Tamagotchi
They may not have turned out to be worth as much as our parents had hoped (unless you held on to your purple Princess Di bear) but Beanie Babies undoubtedly brought loads of joy to the kiddos who got them in their stockings. Tickle Me Elmo and Tamagotchis were also big hits in the '90s.
2000s: Razor Scooters, Gaming Systems, & Bratz Dolls
Any late-'90s-early-'00s kid could tell you that the Razor Scooter was basically a requirement growing up. Sure, they beat up your ankles real bad, but how cool you looked zooming down the street made up for it. According to Business Insider, wish lists in the 2000s also saw PS3s, Wiis, and xBox 360's galore, plus the decade marked the heyday for iPods and Bratz Dolls.
2015: Toys That Hook Up To Your Tablets & Smartphones
While the most popular toys of 2015 may not look super different from the playthings of the past, like [think]cut dolls and Legos and board games, there's one crucial component to the updated versions: They have to connect to a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, according to Forbes. How else are supposed to share your high scores on Facebook?
Images: Min Liu/Bustle