The Bestselling Christmas Toys of the 70s

Every festive season sees one ‘gold dust’ toy that cleans out all the shelves! Here are the bestselling Christmas Toys of the 70s!

1970 – Nerf ball


NERF has been churning out fun toys since 1969, starting with the NERF ball – the world’s ‘first indoor ball’. NERF stands for Non Expanding Recreational Foam, and its early-70s balls were advertised on TV by none other than The Monkees! In Christmas 1970, it was the must-have gift for every girl and boy.

1971 Mastermind

This puzzling game of coloured pegs was a sensation back in the Christmas of ’71. A code-cracking challenge, it required patience and problem solving, and probably wouldn’t go down too well with the kids of today.

1972 – Uno

When it comes to card games, Uno has been a family favourite for over 40 years! Colourful and fast paced, it’s had several face-lifts and modifications over the decades, but that classic original version was a big Yuletide hit in 1972.

1973 – Shrinky Dinks

Still available on the toy store shelves today, Shrinky Dinks made their first big splash in the Christmas of 1973! It’s an activity set where outlines of characters and animals come printed onto polystyrene sheets. Children colour them in, cut them out, and then ask mum or dad to bake them in the oven. They come out shrunken, hardened and ready for playing with or decorating bedroom doors, walls or even diaries!

1974 – Dungeons and Dragons

One of the most popular fantasy tabletop role playing games to this day, Dungeons and Dragons first hit shelves in 1974, and it was on many people’s Christmas wish list! Since them, in has spawned novels, comic books, films and TV shows!

1975 – Othello

A game of disks that are black on one side and white on the other, Othello is a board game of strategy for two players! Though it’s based on the traditional game Reversi, which dates way back to the 1800s, it was 1975’s bright green re-imagining that saw it to the top of kids’ Christmas lists across the land.

1976 – Magna Doodle

Similar to the Etch A Sketch, which came out 16 years earlier, the Magna Doodle was a toy for little creatives that love to draw (bought by parents who were likely tired of scribblings on the carpet). Essentially, it’s a magnetic drawing board, which comes equipped with a magnetic stylus; breaking free of the Etch a Sketch’s. Instead of shaking it clean, there’s a knob that you swipe from side to side, and it erases the picture, ready for your next masterpiece.

1977 – Star Wars

1977 saw the release of Star Wars: A New Hope, which was the most commercially successful film to date. So when Christmas rolled around that year, it was no surprise that Star Wars toys were top of the list on the letters to Santa Claus. With insufficient stocks, lots of kids received an ‘Early Bird certificate’ on Christmas morning, which they could later redeem for 4 action figures. Netflix has an amazing episode covering the Star Wars phenomenon in their series The Toys that Made Us.

1978 – Hungry Hippos

Hungry Hungry Hippos - bestselling Christmas Toys of the 70s

A game that’s instantly recognisable now, the Hungry Hippos first came out to feast in 1978. Essentially a game of, ‘who can push this button the most times in the shortest amount of time?’, up to 4 players compete to gobble up marbles with the snapping plastic jaws of their hippo characters.

1979 – Strawberry Shortcake

A lovable character with rosy cheeks and a mop of red hair, Strawberry Shortcake first appeared in 1979; featuring on the likes of greetings cards. It wasn’t long before a doll was launched, and it soared to the tops of Christmas lists!

There’s your lot! All of the bestselling Christmas Toys of the 70s.

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