CurrencyFair’s Favourite Christmas Toys EVER!
Around this time of year, every year, nostalgia rules and childhood memories come flooding back. Brought on by witnessing the joy in the young folks’ faces as they unwrap this year’s bounty, we can’t help but drift back to our own childhood, and the presents we still remember, and may secretly still own.
With that in mind, we thought it might be nice to take a trip down memory lane with the staff of CurrencyFair! So, here are what some of our team remember about their favourite Christmas gifts, EVER!
Buzz Lightyear Ultimate Talking Action Figure.
Christmas ’96 was Toy Story mad. This was a brilliant toy, made better by a severe shortage (that my mam had thankfully anticipated), the jealousy of peers made this all the better. Despite its 30 cm size, I managed to smuggle this fella into mass on Christmas morning and showed him off with the most theatrical yawns possible (until I was inevitably caught and scolded in hushed, mass-appropriate voices).
It was in December 1991 (I was 4 years old) and my parents thought they were set as all my Christmas presents were bought.
But a week before Christmas, a new TV ad started promoting Photo Star: an amazing (obviously pink!) doll that danced when you took pictures of her! I was bewitched and couldn’t stop talking about it CONSTANTLY. My father then had to spend every evening of that week in toyshops trying to find one. It’s the only Christmas toy I still have (it’s in my attic!).
Well my favourite toy ever was a doll’s house that I got when I was 6. It came with all the furniture , a family and it even had real lights.
I played with every single day and loved it so much until….watching the movie Poltergeist, I saw the very same doll’s house flying across the little girl’s bedroom. I was about 8 and after that I couldn’t play with it anymore and I was convinced there was a poltergeist in my room and my parents eventually had to remove it from room because I was so freaked out.
It’s a pity as I really wish I had it now to give to my own girls !
One year, when all of my friends got an Action Man, I got something called Paul. Paul was like Action Man but slightly bigger and came in a disco outfit. Paul, and to an extent me, got banned from action man meet ups because Paul was slightly too big to fit into the action man helicopter and tank and I broke a friend’s action man helicopter trying to force him in.
Oh dear. We can’t find the exact model Adam is referring to, but all roads lead to one undeniable fact – “Paul” was Sindy’s boyfriend, Sindy being the chief rival to Barbie in the girly-doll stakes. BBC have an in-depth article on how Barbie Crushed Sindy.
The Sylvanian Families Cosy Cottage, I loved it soooo much that I took so many photos of them with my sister’s camera that she got for her Christmas gift. I classed this as my family of rabbits or teddy bears (I think I had a mixture of both). My mam wouldn’t let us get a real live pet, so these were my little pets…….so sad!
Spending the pivotal years between 3-7 in the US during the early 90s, GI Joe was everything; ‘Dial-Tone’, ‘Outback’, ‘Roadblock’ and the rest of the gang vs. Commander Cobra. Good times.
You might be surprised at just how popular GI-Joe was from the 60’s on in the US. Creators Hasbro were staunchly against the term “doll”, echoing the conservative machismo of the era, and insisted “action figure” was more suitable. Once the Vietnam War became a thing, they sought to distance their product from anything war-themed, so decided “Adventure Team” was a better name.
Comics, cartoons, films and even a computer game have kept this franchise strong and healthy for over 50 years.
Now, mine was waaay less fancy, I had only one train, one tunnel and a train station, but it was enough to make me celebrate like after Savicevic scored the 4th goal against Barcelona in the 1994 Champions League final.
I’d say I always loved travelling by train (that was before I saw the Irish railway prices) and trains used to mean holidays as well.
Volleyball was my favourite! MIKASA was the official FIVB game ball. I hate dolls and my favourite game was to destroy my sisters’s Barbies Ahahhaahhahaha!!!
My parents never knew what I really liked as a Christmas gift, they tried with everything. I loved to play ball in the garden, in the street, at school and in the house.
Volleyball addicted (I still am), my favourite cartoon was Mimi’ Aiuara, so when I got the official FIVB ball I felt like a champion, although I was only 10!
The gift that kept on giving (yet took almost everything).
My platform to European domination with the 96/97 Manchester United team with an inspired front two of Eric Cantona & Christian Vieri. Sleep deprivation took its toll on me in the aftermath of this gift but it was all worth it for that first European Cup glory.
Big yellow tea pot – an AWESOME toy, it had a garage in the bottom so you could park your car.
I loved this My little Pony ballet set, you could dress the ponies up and make them dance by twisting the side if the stage, but best of all it closed up and you could carry it to your friend’s house and play!! #besttoyever
Number one for Paddy is the Sega Mega Drive from “the 90’s”, with its 16 bits of number crunching awesomeness. Specifically, the games below were required to soothe a cranky Paddy on Christmas morning.
Alex was clearly a Lego fan, and was particularly enthralled by their battery-powered accessories.
“The combination of lego+light+sound was unreal”.
Also a fan of the brick, Oran stuck to the more traditional sets during his formative years. None of your fancy gimmicky electro-lego for this guy!
According to our CEO, hermit crabs were a popular item in Australia. Given they celebrate Christmas in scorching heat, it does make sense.
“These were all the rage back when I was a kid. I trod on mine though. It was quite traumatic.”
Continuing the “Christmas is so much better down under” theme, Ben suggested a slip-n-slide, which only increases our weather-jealousy.
It would be nice to spend Christmas frolicking in your garden or on the beach, but anybody spending this year in the northern hemisphere knows better. The ground tends to be slippy enough when the freeze arrives, adding more water and washing up liquid is possibly the worst idea we’ve ever heard.
Thanks anyway, Ben.
As a tech-savvy kinda guy, Dan naturally favours the mother of all gaming consoles, the Commodore64.
With a mind-boggling 64kb of memory, the anticipation while each game loaded from a tape was key to its, eh, anticipation.
Recent generations have no idea just what us 80’s babies went through to shoot aliens and/or jump up and down platforms collecting coins.
Tim recognises the impact the Nintendo Gameboy has had on mobile gaming, and gaming in general. For the first time in history, kids no longer had to pretend they enjoy talking to their parents and siblings on long journeys, instead retreating into an LCD world of wonder and two-button madness.
Another favourite of Tim’s is the BigTrack, one of the world’s first forays into mass produced remote controlled toys for kids.
“Awesome – FACT, and if you got the trailer too, well, you were literally in heaven.”
It was programmable too, meaning you felt on the cusp of technology. According to Amazon, “This retro and cool programmable educational toy is a six-wheeled tank with a front mounted blue photon beam headlamp used for firing.”
Before there were CDs, and even MiniDiscs, there was the humble cassette tape. Hitting the UK market in 1980, Sony’s Walkman revolutionised portable music. We all remember the fast forward and rewind fun to be had, as you prayed the batteries wouldn’t fail, or took the manual option and used a pencil to do the winding.
Wikipedia: The prototype was built in 1978 by audio-division engineer Nobutoshi Kihara for Sony co-founder Masaru Ibuka, who wanted to be able to listen to operas during his frequent trans-Pacific plane trips.
Ewa agrees this was a brilliant present, although we’re not suggesting she got the original 1980 version (pictured) for Christmas.
Aisling is yet another CurrencyFair team member who can’t decide on one single toy, so nominated two. And why not?
“The Scalextric because the year we got it we had no electricity on Christmas Day and Stephen’s day because of bad weather, so 27th of December was pretty epic chez Barrett. Polly pocket pyjama party set, because it’s AMAZING (and I still have it somewhere!)”.
Stella & Eoghan
Similar suggestions here, and both for the excellent Super Nintendo console, which first appeared in 1990 in Japan, not arriving in Europe until 1992.
Super Mario All-Stars brought all four games of the franchise on to one cartridge, offering hours and hours of fire-ball bouncing, green shell rolling, flag pole jumping fun. Eoghan claims he “probably got the most mileage out of this over the years”.
Donkey Kong heralded a new era of graphics for gamers. It featured almost-3D like effects, with smooth rendering and movements astounding all who played. The game itself wasn’t half bad, either.
Stella – “5 year old me used to really believe that ‘My Little Ponies’ lived in the clouds and I was often seen gazing upwards hoping to catch a glimpse. I was delighted that one finally materialised at Christmas. But if I’m honest my favourite ever Christmas present was anything my brother ever got. Why, because they were his of course, especially Donkey Kong Country!”
We’re not quite sure whether Geoff was playing the same version of the classic “Operation” that we all fondly remember.
“Operation was a personal favourite, although what sick mind came up with a game where you’re electrocuted if you can’t keep your hand steady is beyond me.”
That’s not the same version we’re familiar with Geoff – being electrocuted wasn’t part of the game we played!