Tickle Me Elmo is one of the most recognizable names when it comes to the Christmas Toy craze. When it came to the little laughing doll kids couldn’t get enough and parents were rushing to make sure they could have one.
But Tickle Me Elmo wasn’t the only toy with outrageous demand.
From Care Bears to iPods, here are our Top 8 Christmas toys to cause a scene.
Tickle Me Elmo
In 1996, Elmo caused a sensation among parents that resulted in them searching for his plush toy toy. With just the touch or squeeze of your hand or arm he could shake, vibrate and repeat his giggle.
Parents across the nation went crazy over a $30 red puppet called Tickle Me Elmo with a tickling habit, sparking a shopping frenzy in toy stores where parents would fight over one of these sought-after toys.
Ron Dubren came up with his toy after witnessing children at a park tickle each other until they broke out into giggle-fits, which sparked the idea to create a doll that laughed when it’s owner tickled it. Working with an engineer named Greg Hyman, the two developed a monkey, outfitted with a chip that did just that. Ron then began to present the idea to toy companies, getting denied over and over again.
Tyco Preschool Toys finally took on the project in 1994 and rebranded it Tickle Me Elmo after realizing it would work best with Sesame Street characters like Elmo. Although Tyco nearly switched it for Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil instead, due to failing to secure plush toys of these characters; ultimately they settled on Elmo instead.
All in all the Tickle Me Elmo doll sold over 1 million units from July of 1996 up until the Christmas season, with the doll taking off in popularity after it was shown on the Rosie O’Donnell Show. While the item retailed for just under $30, the market was wild for the toy with some being sold for well over $1000 per doll.
The Tickle Me Elmo doll is still one of the most remembered Christmas toy crazes ever to hit the shelves.
While the original is hard (and expensive) to find, there is an updated Tickle Me Elmo Doll available to purchase
The Care Bears made their debut in the early 1980s as a line of greeting cards designed by American Greetings Corporation. Recognizing the potential appeal of these cute and cuddly characters, the company, in collaboration with toy manufacturer Kenner, launched a line of Care Bear plush toys in 1983.
The Care Bears’ popularity quickly skyrocketed, captivating the hearts of children and spawning an animated television series, movies, and a plethora of merchandise. The core concept behind the Care Bears was their ability to spread love and positivity. Each bear had a distinct belly badge representing a unique caring characteristic, such as love, cheer, friendship, or bravery.
The Care Bear toy craze took the toy industry by storm. Children and collectors clamored to get their hands on these adorable teddy bears. The exact number of Care Bears sold during their heyday is difficult to pin down precisely, as sales varied across different countries and markets. However, estimates suggest that over the course of their initial popularity, tens of millions of Care Bear toys were sold worldwide.
In the United States alone, during the peak of the Care Bear toy craze, it is estimated that approximately 40 million Care Bears were sold between 1983 and 1987. This staggering number of units sold not only solidified the Care Bears’ place in pop culture history but also propelled the franchise to the forefront of the toy industry.
The Care Bears’ popularity was not limited to the United States. These lovable bears resonated with children and adults across the globe. In Canada, the Care Bears achieved significant success, with sales totaling several million units. The trend continued in the United Kingdom, Australia, and various European countries, where the Care Bears became a must-have toy for children of all ages.
While the initial wave of the Care Bear toy craze eventually subsided, the impact of these iconic characters endured. The Care Bears remained a beloved part of popular culture, with subsequent generations discovering and embracing the franchise through reboots, merchandise, and nostalgic references.
Care Bears are still beloved by children around the world and there are many varieties still for purchase.
In the realm of interactive toys, few have captured the hearts and imaginations of children quite like Teddy Ruxpin. This lovable bear-shaped doll, equipped with animatronics and cassette-based storytelling, became an instant sensation in the 1980s.
The Teddy Ruxpin doll was conceptualized and developed by Ken Forsse, an American inventor, and founder of Alchemy II. The doll was first introduced to the public in 1985, amidst an era of emerging technological advancements and increasing demand for interactive toys.
What set Teddy Ruxpin apart from other toys of its time was its innovative combination of animatronics and storytelling. The doll had moving eyes and a mouth that synchronized with pre-recorded audio cassettes. When a cassette was inserted into Teddy Ruxpin’s back, he came to life, captivating children with his animated facial expressions and enchanting voice.
The Teddy Ruxpin doll was accompanied by a series of storytelling cassettes known as “The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin.” These cassettes featured engaging narratives set in the fantastical world of Grundo, where Teddy Ruxpin and his friends embarked on exciting adventures. The audio was complemented by colorful illustrations in storybooks, creating a multi-sensory experience for children.
Upon its release, Teddy Ruxpin quickly captured the imagination of children and became one of the most sought-after toys of the 1980s. Its interactive nature and captivating storytelling abilities resonated with both children and parents, propelling it to unparalleled popularity.
Teddy Ruxpin’s popularity was not limited to the United States; it became a global sensation. In the first year alone, over one million Teddy Ruxpin dolls were sold. By 1987, the sales figure had skyrocketed to a staggering $93 million, solidifying its place as one of the most successful toys of its time.
Teddy Ruxpin’s impact extended beyond the realm of toys. It was featured in various television shows, books, and even an animated series. The doll’s success paved the way for advancements in interactive toys and influenced the development of subsequent animatronic characters.
Unfortunately for consumers, the Teddy Ruxpin doll hasn’t been updated since a 2018 release. You can still find these dolls online, but they will cost you!
The Talking Barney doll, based on the lovable purple dinosaur character from the popular children’s television show “Barney & Friends,” made its debut in the mid-1990s. Manufactured by Playskool, the doll was designed to interact with children through programmed phrases, songs, and cheerful conversations.
Barney’s educational and entertaining nature was a key factor in the doll’s appeal. The character, known for his positive messages, catchy songs, and focus on early childhood education, had already won the hearts of children and parents worldwide through the television show. The Talking Barney doll allowed children to engage with their favorite purple friend in a more personal and interactive way.
During a particular Christmas season, the Talking Barney doll experienced a surge in demand that surpassed all expectations. The unexpected surge in demand for the Talking Barney doll caught both retailers and manufacturers off guard. This resulted in a shortage of supply, intensifying the frenzy and prompting parents to go to great lengths to secure one for their children.
There is an updated version of this doll for sale, manufactured by Te Quiero toy company.
The Talkboy burst onto the scene in 1992, thanks to its prominent role in the holiday blockbuster “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.” The film’s protagonist, Kevin McCallister, used the Talkboy to create mischief and misdirection, showcasing its various recording and playback features in hilarious and memorable ways. The Talkboy quickly became an object of desire for movie fans who longed to own a real-life version of this fictional device.
The Talkboy, manufactured by Tiger Electronics, was essentially a portable cassette recorder designed for playful audio manipulation. It allowed users to record their voices, modify the speed or pitch of playback, and even play pre-recorded phrases to imitate different characters. The device featured a built-in microphone, a control panel for playback functions, and a distinctive extendable microphone that became its defining feature.
The Talkboy’s unique blend of novelty, functionality, and association with a beloved movie propelled it to instant popularity. Demand for the device skyrocketed, and it quickly became a must-have item for children and fans of “Home Alone 2” alike. Its appearance in the film served as a powerful endorsement, leading to widespread recognition and the status of a cultural phenomenon.
Exact sales figures for the Talkboy are hard to estimate, as they varied across different markets and timeframes. However, it is widely recognized that the Talkboy achieved substantial success, selling one million units in its first 45 days. The combination of its appeal as a toy and its tie-in to the popular film franchise contributed to its remarkable sales performance.
Following its initial success, the Talkboy saw various iterations and re-releases in subsequent years, including a Talkboy Jr. targeted at younger audiences. Additionally, the Talkboy’s popularity spawned a range of imitations and similar devices from other manufacturers, further cementing its place in pop culture history.
The Talkboy hasn’t been recreated recently, but there is a handful of voice recording toys out there for sale that most likely owe their origins to the Talkboy.
The Robosapien was created by WowWee, a Hong Kong-based company specializing in innovative consumer robotics. Launched in 2004, the toy represented a significant leap forward in the development of interactive robotic companions for children. It combined cutting-edge technology with a humanoid design, allowing it to mimic human movements and perform a range of engaging actions.
The Robosapien boasted an impressive array of features that set it apart from other toys of its time. It had multiple motors and sensors, which enabled it to walk, run, and perform fluid movements. It’s articulated limbs and gripper hands allowed for interaction with objects, while its built-in infrared sensors facilitated autonomous behaviors and obstacle detection.
What made the Robosapien truly special was its ability to engage with its human owners. The toy responded to voice commands, hand gestures, and even programmed sequences of movements. This interactive playability created a sense of companionship and allowed children to personalize their experiences with the Robosapien, making it feel like a unique robotic friend.
As the holiday season approached, the Robosapien started garnering attention through word-of-mouth recommendations and media coverage. News outlets, television shows, and influential toy reviewers raved about the toy’s lifelike movements, making it an enticing option for gift-givers seeking a unique and technologically advanced present.
One of the contributing factors to the Robosapien Christmas craze was its limited availability. WowWee deliberately created scarcity by releasing limited quantities, heightening the toy’s desirability and fueling a sense of urgency among consumers. This strategy, combined with the toy’s captivating features, created a perfect storm of high demand and limited supply.
The scarcity of the Robosapien further intensified its popularity, leading to a surge in the secondary market. Resellers took advantage of the craze, offering the sought-after toy at inflated prices. This phenomenon only added to the frenzy surrounding the Robosapien, as consumers scrambled to secure the prized robot for their loved ones.
The WowWee company has continued to innovate and currently has a Robosapien Remix for sale that has been highly reviewed.
In the world of video gaming, few console releases have garnered as much excitement and anticipation as the Xbox 360. Microsoft’s successor to the original Xbox, this gaming system unleashed a new era of immersive gameplay, cutting-edge graphics, and online connectivity. In this article, we delve into the highly anticipated release of the Xbox 360, its groundbreaking features, and its lasting impact on the gaming industry.
On November 22, 2005, the Xbox 360 made its debut, ushering in a new generation of gaming. The console’s release marked a significant leap forward in terms of hardware capabilities, graphical prowess, and online functionality, revolutionizing the gaming experience for millions of players worldwide.
The Xbox 360 boasted impressive technological advancements, including a custom-designed IBM PowerPC processor, a dedicated graphics chip, and 512MB of RAM. This powerful hardware allowed for stunning high-definition graphics, realistic physics, and enhanced artificial intelligence, immersing players in richly detailed virtual worlds like never before.
The console’s sleek and modern design captivated gamers, featuring a concave shape and a striking white exterior. The introduction of an integrated hard drive, wireless controllers, and a user-friendly interface further enhanced the gaming experience, providing convenience and ease of use for players.
A key element that fueled the Xbox 360 Christmas craze was the introduction of Xbox Live, Microsoft’s online gaming service. With Xbox Live, players could connect with friends, engage in multiplayer battles, and download additional content, adding a social and competitive dimension to gaming. The robust online features of the Xbox 360 elevated the console’s appeal and extended its longevity.
To further heighten the appeal of the Xbox 360, Microsoft offered a strong lineup of launch titles that showcased the console’s capabilities. Games like “Call of Duty 2,” “Project Gotham Racing 3,” and “Perfect Dark Zero” provided immersive gameplay experiences that captivated players. Additionally, the console’s expansive game library catered to a wide range of genres and preferences, ensuring there was something for everyone.
Microsoft’s marketing efforts played a crucial role in generating excitement around the Xbox 360. The company executed strategic advertising campaigns, creating buzz through television commercials, print media, and online promotions. The marketing strategy, coupled with positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations, built anticipation and fueled the desire to own the console.
The Xbox 360 need was further intensified by limited availability and supply constraints. Microsoft struggled to meet the overwhelming demand for the console, leading to shortages in retail stores. This scarcity created a sense of urgency and competition among consumers, driving the craze to new heights.
The Xbox 360 release was a cultural phenomenon, solidifying the console’s place in gaming history. It became the “must-have” item during the holiday season, sparking long queues, online battles, and intense searches to secure a unit. The Xbox 360’s success not only redefined the gaming landscape but also left a lasting impact on subsequent console generations, influencing design, online connectivity, and the emphasis on immersive experiences.
Microsoft has continued to push gaming forward, currently selling the Xbox Series X, its most powerful gaming console to date!
Apple iPod Touch
The iPod Touch has become synonymous with technological marvel and portable entertainment. Since its initial release in 2007, this sleek and versatile device has consistently sparked a Christmas craze among consumers. In this article, we delve into the captivating history of the Christmas craze surrounding the iPod Touch, tracing its origins, milestones, and the reasons behind its enduring popularity during the holiday season.
Apple introduced the iPod Touch in September 2007, expanding its iconic iPod lineup to include a revolutionary touch-based device. Inspired by the success of the iPhone, the iPod Touch offered a similar user experience without the phone capabilities. Its sleek design, expansive display, and multi-touch interface provided users with an immersive and interactive digital experience.
The iPod Touch’s ability to store and play music, videos, and photos quickly captivated consumers. The device became a portable entertainment hub, allowing users to carry their favorite music, TV shows, movies, and photos in their pockets. The allure of having an extensive media library readily accessible during the festive season made the iPod Touch a perfect Christmas gift.
As the world led up to Christmas, the iPod Touch became the must have Christmas gift. In the final quarter of 2007, Apple sold over 1.7 million units of the iPod Touch. While this was an astonishing number at the time, Q4 of 2008 almost doubled it! This helped pave the way to the iPod touch being one of the most successful Christmas gifts ever.
While getting your hands on an original can cost as much as $100,000, there are still some versions of the iPod Touch that are for sale on the Amazon Renewed Store.
What's the Next Tickle Me Elmo?
As the holiday season approaches, anticipation builds for the unveiling of the next must-have item that will capture hearts and make its mark under the Christmas tree like the Tickle Me Elmo doll did in the1990s.
Whether it’s the latest tech gadget, a trendy fashion accessory, or a unique experience, everyone eagerly awaits the revelation of the next big gift sensation. In a world of ever-evolving innovation and consumer trends, the question lingers:
What will be this year’s coveted item that brings joy and excitement to gift recipients?
Stay tuned as we explore the possibilities and unveil the next big Christmas gift that will surely spark delight and anticipation during the festive season.