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Top Christmas Toys of the Nineties

What toys did every child dream about finding under the christmas tree on Christmas morning during the nineties? As part of our ByGone Christmases we take a look!

Did the elves make enough of the most popular toys or was the stock room in the North Pole left with a stack of unwanted toys. Santa can have no excuses as after all he gets to see the ‘Please can I have….’ lists long before we parents do and the elves always get a heads up about how many top toys are required.

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During the 1990’s the style of toys that kids really wanted, (not the ones we think they want) started to change.  Technology toys really started to become top of many Christmas lists and toys with strange names (are we showing our age here?) came onto the shelves and virtual pets became a must have.

As the century began kids everywhere were kung-fu kicking all over the place as they emulated their green, shell backed TV hero’s, Leonardo, Michelangelo,Raphael and Donatello better known as the sewer living, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT). Twelve months later kung fu kicking had became a thing of the past and silence reigned supreme on Christmas morning 1991 as children everywhere were glued to the Nintendo Game Boy, which until it was discontinued in 2003 sold over 118 million of these handheld game devices worldwide.

Although high-tec toys continued to be popular it was a secret, highly camouflaged island that became the biggest Christmas seller in 1992. Thunderbirds’ Tracy Island playset became so popular that kids tv show Blue Peter demonstrated how to make their version using straws, pipe cleaners and washing up liquid bottles – good though I’m sure it was I’m pretty sure kids were happy to find the ‘real thing’ nestled safely under their tree on Christmas morning.

In both Christmas 1993 and 1994 parents searched far and wide as Santa had under estimated the popularity of Power Rangers, (remember the 1996 American Christmas move ‘Jingle All the Way as Arnold Schwarzenegger in his own inimatable style searched for this must have toy for his son’s Christmas?). So popular were the Power Rangers figures that in the UK a ‘one figure per customer’ was imposed.

Never far from the top of many Christmas lists, both Barbie and Action Man continued to be popular during 1995 but it was flat, circular discs that took the top spot. Pogs, which are cardboard discs printed with a selection of images that included toys, movies and famous people (UK Prime Minister of the day Tony Blair had his face on a Pog) and many others.Pogs and Slammers reigned supreme at Christmas 1995.

Who would have thought that in 1996, with all the high-tec toys now on the market, that a red, soft toy would be the Christmas No.1? Elmo, a cute character from the children’s tv show ‘the Muppets’ who when squeezed three times in a row began to shake and laugh hysterically became the most wanted toy in the UK. Tickle Time Elmo was in such high demand that parents spent way over the RRP to get their hands on one, with some really desperate parents spent up to £1,000 on sites such as Ebay, as stores around the country ran out of stock.

Tinky Winky, Dipsy, La-la and Po swept aside the competitors to become joint Christmas 1997 winners. As the Teletubbies said Eh-oh! and welcomed children to teletubby land, Tamagotchi fans waited and watched as their ‘egg’ hatched. Homework was set aside as their keychain-sized virtual pet needed to be fed, played with, and given medicine, if required, on time or it might die. Many schools banned Tamagotchi’s from class as pupils contined to care for their ‘pet’ and pay no attention to what they were being taught.

Christmas 1998 saw the sales of Furbies fly through the roof. These furry little electronic toys, who talked in their own language (Furbish), burst onto the UK market during 1998 and in that year sold a whopping 1.8 million, with a further 14 million the following year.Programmed, to speak less and less Furbish and more and more English as they “grow”. Unlike any toy on the market Furbies were like stuffed toys that talked, played games and generally interacted with both their owners and other Furbies.

As the 1990’s drew to a close Pokemon trading cards became the most sought-after trading cards in history and kids everywhere carried them with them wherever they went.

What toys do you remember under your Christmas tree in the 1990’s? Share with us in our Bygone Christmases below.

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