MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This time of year can be stressful, with all the planning, decorating and shopping. But for parents, there may not be anything more stressful than the pressure to buy the latest “It” toy.
While Black Friday anticipation seems to be growing with each passing season, holiday toy rushes have been going on for years.
Believe it or not, the holiday toy craze started way back in 1952. Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head were the first toys advertised on TV. The strategy worked, resulting in sales of more than 1 million.
A few decades later, and the world was all about Pong. It took the nation’s youth by storm in 1975, selling more than 150,000 that year. Pong was an adaptation of the arcade game, and made $40 million in one year.
Just four years later something called Atari captured the nation, but in the 1980s, it was all about dolls.
The Cabbage Patch Kids craze ended in a lot of cuts and bruises for parents. In December 1983, the dolls made the cover of Newsweek.
The big problem was that they were in short supply with a very high demand. Once the dust settled, close to 3 million Cabbage Patch dolls were sold in the first six months they were on the market.
In 1996, the Tickle Me Elmo was a hot commodity. Tyco didn’t think the rather expensive doll would be so popular, but by the team Christmas rolled around, some were selling for up to $2,000 online due to the demand. To date, more than 10 million of them have been sold.
And just two years ago, Zhu Zhu Pets raced on to the toy scene. The hamsters were under $10, so they were quite affordable but very hard to find. They also ended up online, selling for up to $250. A total of 10 million of them were sold in 2009.