Being Modern: Must-have toys
Sunday 02 December 2012
An action Man figurine, an oven, a cuddly toy! No, not The Generation Game, but three must-have toys from the past 50 years that have come to dominate the Christmas run-up.
While that might not sound terribly modern, the fervour that has surrounded the term "must-have" certainly is. Sure, wannabe Galloping Gourmets might have been delighted to take possession of an Easy Bake oven in the 1960s; and marines-in-the-making might have been thrilled to receive a figure in fatigues in the 1970s.
But the reception that greeted Tickle Me Elmo in 1996, say – when hordes of manic mums and petrifying pops fought tooth and nail for the pleasure of taking a red fur-ball home –was never felt by any kid-friendly kitchen appliance or swivel-eyed fighting man.
So what happened? Cabbage Patch Dolls, that's what. In the mid-1980s, the strange chubby-faced cherubs were the subject of much tugging and shouting even as they emerged from stock rooms on to sales floors. And why did it happen? The ubiquity of its 150 brand extensions didn't hurt its desirability, that's for sure.
And so we progressed through the mystifying Pokémon, key-chain-pet Tamagotchis, burbling Furbies (above), Barbie basher Bratz – even the accident-waiting-to-happen Nintendo Wii, which, despite its higher price point, proved almost impossible to get your hands on in its early days, so high was the demand.
In the 1980s and 1990s, much of the mania was driven by TV ads, leading to chatter in the playground; but the past decade has seen every e-tailer creating its own top-10 lists for children to pore over as they write their letters to Santa. And we, the media, don't help, slavishly reporting each year on the Toy Retailers Association (TRA) "Dream Toys" list.
So what's everyone going to want this year? First on the TRA bulletin is, well, would you look at that? It's a Cabbage Patch Doll and second is a Furby! Plus ça change, etc. For more, consult the TRA website. Or a child psychologist for when you don't buy the little darlings exactly what they want. The latter will probably be cheaper.
Life & Style blogs
Ebola crisis: Cases pass 10,000 as almost 5,000 killed by disease in eight countries
Alexander Wang for H&M: Pumping video of the campaign filmed in London has been released
Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
Our gums are less healthy than Roman Britons', scientists claim
NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
- 1 Stem cells that can kill cancer have been engineered by scientists
- 2 Ricky Gervais and Dame Judi Dench back campaign to stop Thailand dog meat trade
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Queen's first tweet: Reply telling Her Majesty to 'f*** off' broadcast on BBC News
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior Software Engineer - C#, VB.N...