The Most Popular Christmas Presents Throughout The Decades

From decade to decade, Christmas gifts have changed a lot. In the 1950s, kids wanted nothing more than a Mr. Potato Head; then, in the 2010s, it was all about opening a PlayStation 4.

What about gifts in the other decades? Keep reading to learn!

1910s: Teddy Bears

After a political cartoon came out of Theodore Roosevelt and a bear, he and his wife decided to make “Teddy’s bear.”

A young boy holds his teddy bear
Kirn Vintage Stock/Corbis via Getty Images
Kirn Vintage Stock/Corbis via Getty Images

The stuffed animal became a massive hit in the 1910s and one of the most sought-after presents of the decade.

1910s: Rocking Horse

A popular children’s toy, rocking horses, were wooden sculptures attached to two curved rockers, similar to an adult’s rocking chair.

Outdoor Rocking Horse
Vintage Images/Getty Images
Vintage Images/Getty Images

The toy was popular in the 1920s, as woodcarvers could cheaply make the toy for their children.

1920s: Yo-Yo

While the yo-yo had been around for centuries, the toy didn’t arrive in the United States until the late 1920s.

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Larry Ellis/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Larry Ellis/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

When it made its appearance, everyone wanted to get their hands on the spinning wheel and string toy!

1920s: Steel Radio Flyer Wagon

The iconic red steel wagon Radio Flyer was very popular back in the 1920s when it was originally known as the Liberty Coaster in honor of the Statue of Liberty.

Boys With A Radio Flyer Wagon
Underwood Archives/Getty Images
Underwood Archives/Getty Images

While this wagon was created in the ’20s, it continued to be a popular present throughout many decades.

1930s: Shirley Temple Doll

Shirley Temple was one of the biggest stars in the 1930s (at least when it came to child actors). So, when a doll version of her cherub face and iconic curls hit the market, people were quick to purchase them for Christmas.

Shirley Temple Black Posing with Doll
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

According to The Spruce Crafts, a mint-condition Shirley Temple doll can sell for up to $2,000. It was worth $3 back in the day!

1930s: Bicycles

Honestly, bicycles never really go out of style as a Christmas gift.

Little girl on bicycle, children playing, Genoa
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

Even so, it was one of the most popular present options back in the 1930s, according to a report from the Ellsworth Reporter that year.

1930s: Army Men

Created in 1938, Army Men toys were olive green, tan, or gray and made of an unbreakable plastic material.

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Mark Boyd/Pinterest
Mark Boyd/Pinterest

They were sold in massive buckets, allowing for hours of fun.

1940s: LEGOs

Created in 1949, the little overlapping bricks known as LEGOs became one of the biggest gifts of the decade. And, as it turned out, the little toys did not lose their popularity over the years!

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John van Hasselt/Sygma via Getty Images
John van Hasselt/Sygma via Getty Images

As of 2021, LEGO is actually the largest toy company in the world!

1940s: Slinky

Amazingly, the slinky was quite popular upon its release in the early 1940s.

The Slinky
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

The tricks and pseudo-levitation the toy was able to do intrigued people, resulting in the first batch of 400 slinkies selling out in just 90 minutes!

1950s: Mr. Potato Head

When the 1950s rolled around, kids couldn’t wait to open their presents Christmas morning, hoping to see a Mr. Potato Head wrapped in paper.

Mr Potato Head
Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The toy idea was purchased by the Hassenfeld brothers in 1952, and by the end of its first year on shelves, Mr. Potato Head was the first toy to have its own commercial.

1950s: Hula Hoops

While hula hoops have been around since at least 500 B.C., the plastic versions people know today didn’t become popularized until the late 1950s.

Hula Champion
FPG/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Jim Nightingale/Newsday RM via Getty Images

When that happened, children wished to open on Christmas morning.

1950s: Play-Doh

Making its way into school classrooms in the mid-1950s, it wasn’t long before children wanted Play-Doh in their homes.

A Hasbro Inc. Play-Doh set is displayed at the Hasbro New Yo
Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Between its creation in 1955 and years later, in 2005, more than two billion cans were sold.

1960s: G.I. Joe

G.I. Joe dolls were a response to the Barbie doll, and, boy, did they take off.

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Ed Maker/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Ed Maker/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Created in the 1960s, these 12-inch tall action figures were all the rage with young boys.

1960s: Etch A Sketch

The Etch A Sketch was introduced in 1960 and became one of the most well-known toys of the decade.

A man plays with an Etch-A-Sketch screen
KAREN BLEIER/AFP via Getty Images
KAREN BLEIER/AFP via Getty Images

Sold for $2.99, the drawing toy went on to sell 600,000 units in the first year of production.

1970s: Star Wars Action Figures

Amazingly, after the release of Star Wars in 1977, the Kenner toy company hadn’t even begun production on toys. Instead, lucky children opened gifts on Christmas morning with vouchers!

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Zelda Ghastlie/Pinterest
Zelda Ghastlie/Pinterest

These vouchers were for a Star Wars toy when they were finally released in 1978.

1970s: Rubik’s Cube

Created in the 1970s, the Rubik’s Cubes became one puzzle every kid wanted in their lives.

The Toy Fair
Tim Whitby/Getty Images
Tim Whitby/Getty Images

Since its release, Rubik’s Cubes has become one of the most recognizable icons in popular culture.

1980s: Cabbage Patch Kids

Created in the late 1970s, the following decade saw an increase in Cabbage Patch Kids sales. By the end of 1983, three million had been sold!

Cabbage Patch Kids
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

They became to go-to Christmas gift of the decade, with numerous variations of the dolls being released.

1980s: Transformers

The Transformers franchise began in 1984 with a line of toys. The popular transforming toys could be manipulated from vehicles to large robots.

Optimus Prime's toys of various versions exhibited in a...
Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images
Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

Needless to say, the unique toy became widely popular, eventually sparking a comic book series, television series, and films.

1980s: Polly Pocket

The tiny Polly Pocket doll was designed in 1983 and quickly became one of the hottest toys by the end of the decade.

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Kerchie/YouTube
Kerchie/YouTube

Set in a small makeup-like compact with a house and accessories, Polly eventually appeared in films and television.

1990s: Beanie Babies

Parents would line up down the block in the 1990s, hoping to get the newest Beanie Babies for their children.

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Bill Greenblatt/Getty Images
Bill Greenblatt/Getty Images

In 1996, some of the babies were being retired, making them extremely hot commodities for collectors.

1990s: Game Boy Color

A handheld gaming console, the Game Boy Color hit shelves in the late 1990s, and it wasn’t long before kids were asking for the toy.

Game Boy Color Handheld Console
Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images
Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images

With a clear colored screen and duel-player capabilities, the Game Boy Color went on to sell a total of 44.06 million units in the Americas by the time it was discontinued in 2003.

1990s: Tamagotchis

A handheld digital pet, Tamagotchis became one of the biggest fad toys of the 1990s, with most kids asking for one of the electronic toys as a gift.

Différents modèles de tamagotchis
Xavier ROSSI/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Xavier ROSSI/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

The Swedish Retail Institute even named it the Christmas Gift of the Year in 1997.

2000s: Nintendo Wii

Nintendo pretty much made history in the 2000s, creating the Wii — a more affordable and active gaming console.

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YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images
YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images

Released in 2006, by the time Christmas rolled around, the company had sold a whopping three million consoles.

2000s: Bratz Dolls

The four original Bratz dolls, Yasmin, Cloe, Jade, and Sasha, were released in 2001 and quickly picked up steam with young girls, thanks to their large lash-lined eyes, glossy lips, and countless accessories.

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Ian West – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images
Ian West – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

Thanks to spin-offs and a subsequent franchise, Bratz grossed $2 billion in 2005 alone.

2000s: The Sims

While there are many spin-offs of the life simulation video game, the original Sims was released back in 2000.

The-Sims-Game-Cover
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

It was a high-selling item for Christmas and is considered one of the best-selling video game series of all time.

2010s: PlayStation 4

At one point in time, it was extremely difficult for people to find a PlayStation 4 on the shelves.

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SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Those parents lucky enough to snag one of the gaming consoles, without a doubt, made their children’s Christmas in the 2010s.

2010s: PAW Patrol Toys

The animated television series PAW Patrol, starring Ryder and his team of search and rescue dogs, was released in 2013 and quickly became popular amongst kids.

DreamToys list 2017
Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images
Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images

As a result, Christmas was all about Paw Patrol toys and apparel in the 2010s and even the 2020s.

2020s: Baby Yoda Toys

After the release of The Mandalorian in 2019, people were all about Baby Yoda (Grogu).

Disney's Star Wars merchandise stuffed toys depicting Grogu...
Chukrut Budrul/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Chukrut Budrul/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The popularity of the little Star Wars character made anything and everything with its face on it a hot commodity for Christmas, including toys and apparel.

2020s: PlayStation 5

Immediately upon its release in 2020, the PlayStation 5 was in limited supply.

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Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images via Getty Images
Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images via Getty Images

It was the hottest gift of the year, with everyone wanting to get their hands on the ninth generation gaming console.