Top-Selling Christmas Toys of the 1980’s

Here are the top-selling toys of the 1980's, the decade where toys transformed from Rubik's Cubes to Game Boys.

Everything old is new again, even with toys.

Rubik’s Cubes, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Nintendo. If you grew up in the 1980s, there’s a good chance you begged to find at least one of these things under the tree Christmas morning.

The ’80s were an era with one of the highest child populations in American history, with the youth of the ’60s finding themselves parents at a time of national prosperity. The economic impact was felt in many ways, but for toy manufacturers, it meant one thing: sales.

1977’s Star Wars had proven that an extensive toy line tied to a movie could make millions. Cartoons, normally played on Saturday mornings, were created with the direct purpose of selling lines of action figures, dolls, video games, bedsheets, clothing, and anything else that could be merchandised.

It was the last era of the toy business being purely physical properties. Video games were believed to be a passing fad by the mid-’80s due to once-unstoppable Atari’s series of bad business choices. Doubters in the future of screen-based fun were silenced when the first Nintendo systems become a juggernaut of kid’s universes, a trend that continues today with the newest consoles.

Now, nearly thirty years later, we can look back at the top toys of the ’80s with nostalgia, but many of the properties can still be found in toy aisles today. Transformers are now blockbuster movies, Ghostbusters get reboots, and Nintendo continues to dominate gaming.

Everything old is new again, with a new generation of parents buying memories for their children.