Remember These? 6 Favourite Christmas Toys From Our Childhoods
As Christmas creeps down the chimney, we take a look back at the toys we HAD TO HAVE as kids in the '70s, '80s and '90s. Did your favourite make the list?
GOGO My Walkin Pup
The year was 1990.
Cranes were tearing apart the last remnants of the Berlin Wall, Saddam Hussein ordered his helicopter squadrons into Kuwait City, and in Corvallis, Oregon, a Year 1 student fell in love with an animatronic dog.
"Oh no!" her father cried after a sip of orange juice, holding aloft a newspaper article at the breakfast table one dark, damp and cold December morning.
"Looks like GoGo is sold out."
Indeed, the pup had flown off toy store shelves amid the canine-robot craze sweeping primary schools around the nation -- the toy was now on backorder, with new shipments not expected until well into January. Two weeks out from Christmas, Santa and his elves were SOL, as they had outsourced a large portion of their seasonal labour contracts to Hasbro, my father explained.
I was not getting the toy, and this held dire and life-long consequences for my ability to ever again experience joy.
Christmas inevitably came, and while our seven-foot Noble Fir tree was aglow in colourful lights, glittering ornaments and sparkling tinsel in the family room, and my brother rushed in pajama-clad feet to see and touch all the brightly wrapped boxes beneath, and the smell of freshly baked apple cinnamon coffee cake filled the air -- the morning was an exercise in gloom and futility.
When all the presents had been opened, the last of the wrapping paper littering the garish orange carpet, my worst fears were confirmed: GoGo was not under the tree.
I sucked up my disappointment and forced a smile, thanking my family for the presents -- which likely featured socks, if I know my mother -- and began the slow retreat to my bedroom.
But then -- a true Christmas miracle. One last box materialised.
"Must have been hidden behind the couch," Dad said.
My shaking hands tore through the paper and, lo-and-behold: GoGo!
"Santa must have gotten yours early," Dad smiled.
It's difficult to impart the pure and distilled happiness of a child holding their most longed for and prided Christmas toy.
Unfortunately, batteries were not included, and Santa had forgotten to throw in a spare set. No matter -- Dad, ever resourceful, borrowed some from an old alarm clock, and in a few short minutes, girl and robotic dog were united.
I'm told kids these days pine for smartphones and iPads, while generations past may have longed for tin soldiers, Matchbox Cars or pogo sticks... but the joy of Christmas toys is timeless and universal.
I asked my colleagues which toys held a special place in their childhood memories -- here's a short trip down nostalgia lane.
My Buddy/Kid Sister doll
The one that got away.
Mom and Dad deemed 'Kid Sister' a touch on the creepy side, possibly giving off Chucky/Children Of The Corn vibes; alas, there was no 11th hour Christmas miracle.
Teen talk Barbie
"I wanted a talking Barbie SO bad," Rashell said.
"Unbeknownst to me, my parents were struggling financially at the time, so I didn't get one.
"But looking back on it I think it worked out for the best, as you can see..."
Tin Can Alley
For Myles, Tin Can Alley, a target shooting game using a light sensor, also remained elusive.
"I never got it," he said.
"I saw one on eBay a month ago and was very tempted to buy it for myself.
"At the time it came out I thought the technology behind it was so futuristic. (It was the 1970s).
"Now it just looks like a piece of plastic crap."
For Katie, instead of Christmas joy, Furby spelled childhood trauma.
"I found it hidden in the cupboard in the lead up to Christmas and I was SO excited!" she said.
"On Christmas morning, I excitedly unwrapped my present from Santa, and found the furby under the wrapping.
"That's how I found out The Big Man was a lie. Didn't use the Furby. Still heartbroken."
"I was obsessed with this diary for months when I was a kid," Alex said.
"I was just absolutely set on getting on one to protect my innermost thoughts and feelings.
"Got it for Christmas, played with it for a week and never picked it up again.
"I was the kid that I now hate."