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Various Top Selling Christmas Toys Through the Decades


Every year, Christmas shopping becomes a whole new experience for families all over the world. In fact, Christmas traditions in general are constantly changing and evolving. You only need to look at the most popular Christmas gifts of the past few decades to see just how huge the change has really been.

From all-time classics to passing fads, we’re used to seeing weird and wonderful things come and go over the festive season. Chances are that if you’ve made it to Santa’s good list at some point in the past, you’ll have found at least a few of these waiting for you under the tree:

1910s — Teddy Bears

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Teddy bears have been around in one way or another forever. In reality, they were actually introduced commercially in 1906 by a company in Germany. After which, they became a global craze that’s continued ever since.

1920s — Yo-Yo

Remember that yo-yo renaissance that took place in the late 80s and early 90s? Well, it was right back in the 1920s that the first commercial yo-yos hit the market. Before this however, the origins of the humble yo-yo date back to around 1,000 BC.

1930s — Shirley Temple doll

A far bigger hit here in the US than elsewhere, the dimpled, curly-haired Shirley Temple doll was an absolute superstar success story in 1934. Despite only being six years old at the time her namesake in the real world had already starred in more than 20 movies.

1940s — Slinky

Even today, the simple Slinky never fails to amaze and entertain adults and kids of all ages. Something of a toy and a science lesson rolled into one, total global sales of the Slinky to date have comfortably surpassed 300 million.

1950s — Mr. Potato Head

This iconic toy was designed and created by an inventor and a father, who figured if kids weren’t interested in eating vegetables, they might show more interest in playing with them. Like some of his counterparts in the list, Mr. Potato Head has been re-launched countless times over the years in all manner of different forms.

1960s — G.I. Joe

While the very first iterations of the G.I. Joe action figure may have been slightly on the crude side, he nonetheless sparked a global toys revolution. Comics, action figures, TV series’ and even blockbuster movies – all credited to this once-humble little guys.

1970s — Star Wars action figures

When Star Wars first hit cinemas in May 1977, it wasn’t expected to be nearly as popular as it turned out to be. Fully capitalizing on the opportunity, Star Wars action figures soon hit the shelves – some originals being worth hundreds of thousands of dollars today.

1980s — Cabbage Patch Kids

These little guys came out of nowhere to become an overnight success story – one that was also repeated much more recently. During their first year alone, more than 3 million were sold/adopted, generating billions for the company that came up with the idea.

1990s — Beanie Babies and Tickle Me Elmo

Stuffed toys once again hit the headlines during the 1996 Holiday Season, when the new Tickle Me Elmo and super-squishy Beanie Babies took the world by storm. Both of which remain extremely popular across quite a lot of the world today.

2000s— Nintendo Wii

Last but not least, the Nintendo Wii well and truly broke the mold when it introduced an all-new motion-based control system in 2006. The fact that it was also family-friendly and surprisingly affordable made it the hit of the season, ultimately selling more than 100 million units while it was in production.

Keep yourself in Santa’s good books this year and there’s no telling what might turn up under the tree on Christmas day! Look out for your video message from Santa Claus to see what he may hint at for your present this year.

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