Eighties kid? Congratulations! You were born in the decade that brought us so many incredible stories; Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, The Terminator and Ghostbusters to name a few. But it was also a golden decade for toys. Here are the bestselling Christmas toys of the 80s…
1980 – Rubik’s Cube
First up, we have the best selling puzzle game of all time! The Rubik’s Cube has sold nearly 400 million units! In Christmas 1980, it was the must-have toy to find in your stocking; and millions of children – and adults – found themselves twisting and turning, and trying to complete the six colourful faces.
1981 – The LEGO train set
Trains and Christmas go hand in hand – maybe that’s why 1981’s hottest selling Crimbo toy was the original LEGO train set, which came with an electric motor! It would set you back £40 at the time.
1982 – BMX Bike
When children came down the stairs on the morning of Christmas ’82, it was a badly-wrapped stunt riding bike they most wanted to see stood up beside the tree! This was also the year that the first world championships were held by the newly-founded International BMX Federation.
1983 – Cabbage Patch Kids
By 1983, Cabbage Patch Kids had already been around for 5 years, but it’s this particular year that saw the peak of their popularity, and the arrival of the famous ‘Cabbage Patch Riots.’ This was a Black-Friday-level free-for-all where parents would fight each other, and snatch from children, in order to go home with the latest release!
1984 – Transformers
Following the success of the toys-to-TV-series transition of Masters of the Universe, it wasn’t long before the Transformers toy line, released in 1984, had it’s own animated show! And by the Christmas of ’84, most kids wanted to get their hands on the transformable action figures, so that they could act out insane battles between the good-guy Autobots and evil Decepticons.
For an interesting documentary about the history of Transformers through the ages, check out the TF episode of Netflix’s The Toys that Made Us!
1985 – Teddy Ruxpin
Teddy Ruxpin was one of the very first talking animal toys. Highly advanced at its time, it had a cassette tape on its back that relayed stories, and its lips synchronised to the audio! It was a huge hit.
1986 – Lazer tag
The closest thing to shooting deadly lasers at your friend’s chest, Lazer Tag was the most desired toy in the December of 1986. Complete with target vests and guns with blinking lights, you’d suit up and try to take a deadly shot at your pal. From this toy, a pastime grew; with Lazer Tag centres opening up all over the world, and still popular today!
1987 – Koosh Balls
A thousand rubbery tentacles wriggling outwards from a centre point. That’s pretty much a koosh ball. In 1987, they were the must-have Christmas toy! You can throw them around the house with minimal damage, you can squeeze them to gross effect, you can stretch them, you can play catch with them – they’re pretty versatile! You can now find them in can every pound shop across the land,
1988 – Ghostbusters Proton Pack
Bustin’ makes me feel good. And I’m not the only one! The 1984 Ghostbusters movie starring Murray, Akroyd and Ramis was an instant success and by ’88, the franchise had expanded to include a hit animated TV series. It’s with this cartoon that a new line of action figures was released – including a bunch of baddies that transformed from human form to ghoulish entities. In 1988, this new series of toys made it to the top of kiddie’s festive wish lists, with the strap-on Proton Pack ranking number one!
1989 – Optimus Prime
This was the year when the transformable action figure of Optimus Prime, the leader of the autobots, made his way to the top robots in disguise were most wanted by kids on Christmas morning! Who wouldn’t want a robot that transforms into a truck?
There you have it – the bestselling Christmas toys of the 80s!
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