Friday Fives: Top Five Nostalgic Christmas Gifts for Leaderhelps Readers – 2015

The goal of the Friday’s Five lists is to provide a wide variety of interesting lists, from the common to the offbeat. Today’s list probably falls in the latter case.

And needs some explanation…

If the research so far is correct, the average age of a reader is about 45. Further, consumer behavior suggests that a person’s perceptions of favorite toys is established when they are about 10 years old.

So, if you are the typical reader you were 10 years old sometime around 1980.

Now let’s talk about Christmas. Yes, I know it’s still a few weeks away but I love thinking about it. So, if you are in the market for a memorable nostalgic Christmas gift for someone your age, perhaps start back in 1980.

What follows are the top five selling toys from 1980 with purchase information if you’re considering a creative 2015 Christmas list.

 #5 – Mork and Mindy/Dukes of Hazzard Action Figures

Television action figures were hot in 1980 and the ones that led the way were from two of the most popular television shows that year. Mork and Mindy (1978-1982) introduced Robin Williams to the world – and the phrase “Na-nu Na-Nu”. The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-1985), the second rated show of the year behind only Dallas, also was the source of one of the most popular Christmas gifts in 1980.

Purchase Reference

#4 – Atari 2600

Video games like PacMan, Space Invaders and Asteroids were taking the nation by storm in 1980. And the Atari 2600 game system brought those games, along with many others, home. Originally released in 1977 as the Atari VCS (Video Computer System), the best selling unit of its time. (Although, in 1980, Mattel’s Intellivision was giving it a run for its money.)

Purchase Reference

#3 – The Strawberry Shortcake Doll Collection

While you may consider “dolls” to be an item for the 60’s, they actually were at the height of popularity in the 80’s with such toys as Cabbage Patch Dolls and Teddy Ruxpin. But it was the Strawberry Shortcake line that dominated the 1980 Christmas season.

The original design of Strawberry Shortcake was actually for a 1977 American Greetings card line. In 1979, Kenner licensed the character and released the first Strawberry Shortcake doll, which by 1980 was wildly popular and had expanded into a full line.

Purchase Reference

# 2 – Kenner’s Star Wars Figures (Empire Strikes Back)

It shouldn’t be any surprise that Star Wars led the way in toys in 1980 and it’s no surprise that the figurines are back in full force this Christmas. In 1980, it was The Empire Strikes Back that had boys wanting Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader and girls hoping they were unwrapping Princess Leia.

Purchase Reference

# 1 – The Rubik's Cube

When Hungarian sculptor Ernő Rubik invented the “Magic Cube” in 1976, it’s unlikely he knew that what would become Rubik’s Cube would become one of the best selling toys in history. And while some Barbie fans might argue that point, there’s no doubt the cube is the best selling puzzle game in history. In 1980, it was under more Christmas trees than any other toy.

Purchase Reference


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