When it comes to what kids want for Christmas, it usually has a lot to do with whatâ€™s most popular and highly-marketed on television. Kidsâ€™ wants are largely focused on the media with commercials, internet ads, and content marketing. When children see things that look fun, popular, and exciting, they want to take them home. It also helps if the gifts are unique and personalized.
There are always trends in holiday gift giving that start with the most commercialized products. Itâ€™s always interesting to look back at what were once the greatest gift ideas compared to what children want now.
With this list, you can see what kids have wanted most for decades. Take this walk down memory lane as you think of what to get your kids this Christmas.
1983: Cabbage Patch Kids
Created in 1978, these little dolls came with their own name and individualized adoption certificates. They were basically the American Girl dolls of the 80s.
The 1986 TV animated transformers series and 2000 live-action franchise starring Shia LaBeoff actually got their start based on the incredible popularity of this Hasbro toy.
1985-19:86 Teddy Ruxpin
The tech of this teddy bear was revolutionary for the time. It was one of the first animatronic toys that told stories through a cassette tape that was inserted into its back. The eyes and lips moved in sync with the story. In the age of VHS and cassette tapes, what kid wouldnâ€™t have loved that?
1987: Koosh Ball
As random as it sounds, this ball made of rubber strings was the number one stocking stuffer of the year. It kept kids entertained for hours.
This was the number one seller of the 1988 holiday season. The year it came out, Nintendo sold 7 million game systems. It wasnâ€™t the first gaming system, but it was new and exciting with brand new game cartridges and characters that people still love today.
1989: Game Boy
For those who donâ€™t remember the popular handheld video gaming console of the 90s, this was a pocket version of the Nintendo gaming system. It became the best-selling electronic game device of all time, and still holds that record.
1990: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Toys and Super Nintendo
Unlike transformers, these action figures became popular after the film came out, not before.
1991: Super Nintendo
The super Nintendo, a new and improved version of the original, became the best-selling console of the 16-bit era.
1992: Barney Doll
Believe it or not, kids once loved the big purple dinosaur. It usually came with a cassette box set of the series.
This was the first portable audio cassette player and recorder. It was used in concept in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York in 1992. It actually became such a popular Christmas toy the following year that Hasbro had to remove their advertisements during the holiday season because they couldnâ€™t possibly keep up with the demand.
1994: Power Rangers
These action figures were based purely on the characters from the popular TV show. Those who were kids during this time period are probably the reason weâ€™re getting a Power Rangers reboot in 2017.
1995: Beanie Babies
Some of these collectible toys filled with tiny beans rather than stuffing are now worth hundreds of dollars.
1996: Tickle Me Elmo
Surprisingly, the Tickle Me Elmo, a toy from a Sesame Street character that laughs and vibrates when squeezed, sold out almost immediately. By the end of the year, the company had sold almost 1 million dolls.
This handheld virtual pet clipped to your belt loop. You had to feed it and take care of it. This was the most confiscated toy in middle school because kids would try to sneakily feed their pets the middle of class.
Itâ€™s considered a creepy gremlin now, but in 1998, 27 million units of this talking furry toy were sold. Surprisingly, an updated version of this toy was among the most popular toys sold in 2013.
Thanks to the invention of PokÃ©mon Go this year, these stuffed toys, game boy cartridges, and trading cards are gaining popularity as a Christmas toy in 2016 as well.
2000: Razor Scooter
There were no motors on this thin scooter that replaced the bicycle as a popular holiday toy.
Tweens loved this doll â€“ it had a big head, big eyes, and a very skinny body. It outsold Barbie as the number one doll, but parents were concerned that the toys were too provocatively dressed for kids, and the popularity died off quickly.
Beyblades came from a Japanese toy company. Itâ€™s basically a set of spinning tops decorated with Japanese-style graphics.
This robotic toy sold a whopping 1.5 million units in the second half of 2004. The toy is still around today, but itâ€™s had some unique structural improvements.
2005: Xbox 360
Many people probably still remember the craze that surrounded this gaming console. It sold 5.5 million units in the first six months on the market.
2006: Playstation 3
Not to be outdone, Playstation came out with a brand new version of their gaming console a year later to compete with the Xbox.
2007: Nintendo DS
This modern version of the Gameboy used a touchscreen to play many of the same games as the original portable gaming device.
2008: Nintendo Wii
The late 2000â€™s were a good time for Nintendo, which sold 10 million units of their Wii by the end of 2008.
2009: Zhu Zhu Pets
Hailing in the age of robotics, these plush robotic toys were fun for kids to chase around and command.
The popularity of Appleâ€™s favorite tablet hasnâ€™t died after six years on the market. They continue to release new updates, making it one of the most popular tech Christmas gadgets of all time.
2011: LeapPad Explorer
Since all kids wanted for Christmas was a tablet and parents wanted a safer version to give to them, LeapPad came up with their own version that has games for kids without access to other apps.
2012: Wii U
This updated version of the Nintendo DS had parents waiting in line for hours to get one.
2013: Big Hugs Elmo
It appears that large, plush talking toys are still very popular, and Tickle Me Elmo hasnâ€™t gone out of style.
2014: Elsa Doll
On the wings of the ever-popular Disney movie Frozen, little girls are still begging for Elsa dolls for Christmas. In 2014, the high demand for the dolls was so surprising to manufacturers that they were short on supply.
2015: BB-8 Toy Droid
The robot from the number one box-office movie of 2015 is remote controlled. The initial supply for this Disney toy sold out in a single day.
2016: Hatchimals and NES Classic Mini
The NES Classic Mini is a gaming console that comes pre-loaded with your favorite classic Nintendo games like Super Mario Bros and Ninja Gardens. However, these NES Classic Mini gaming consoles only came in short supply, and theyâ€™re already sold out in many locations.
So, there are two favorite toys on this list. Hatchimals is an interactive toy that hatches right in front of you, and then learns to repeat what you say, walk, dance and play games.