Judging by all the displays I've seen in all the big box stores this week, Christmas is almost here. It got me thinking about what Christmas was like for me as a kid and some of the greatest gifts I ever got.
So here they are. My 10 favorite toys I got for Christmas as a kid. Let's count 'em down!
10. Stretch Armstong
The muscle man whose legs and arms you could pull practically forever and he wouldn't break. That is unless you leave him out on the front porch over the winter. I found him stuck to the floor in a frozen puddle of his innards. RIP Stretch.
9. Polaroid One Step Camera
Back in the 80's the only way to take an instant picture was with a Polaroid camera and even then it still took two minutes to develop. You can post a picture to Instagram in less time. I loved this camera though and somewhere I still have a picture I took with it of my brother holding an E.T. action figure.
8. Talking View-Master
You know what I never learned until I was 13? That View-Master pictures were in 3D but only if you looked with both eyes. For some reason I always closed one eye when looking through these. I got the Talking View-Master one year and it was awesome. It would tell the story with a little plastic record attached to the back of the reel. Big time technology then.
I saw Simon at a friends house and instantly wanted it. I had the original that was huge compared to the version sold today. I got to be pretty good at it too.
6. Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots
Another toy I saw at a friends house that I had to have. I got it for Christmas and my brother and I immediately took it to the kitchen floor to play. After the first hit where my brother's robot's head popped up, he slammed it down and it broke off and rolled across the kitchen floor. I never played the game again and held a grudge against him for years. When we were adults, he found it had been released again and bought it for me. Nice gesture, but when you're 40 it's not nearly as fun.
5. Domino Rally
I was always fascinated by big tumbling domino displays and wanted to build my own. Domino Rally showed up in the 80's and my dream came true, making it easy to set up my own tumbling dominos. I played with this for hours at a time mostly because I would keep knocking them down accidentally.
4. Dark Tower
Dark Tower was an amazing board game for its time. It was sort of like Dungeons & Dragons where you had to trek your way across four lands to collect keys to unlock a tower and conquer the beasts within to win. I wish I still had my game now because they are worth hundreds of dollars, especially if the tower still works.
3. Dungeons & Dragons Electronic Game
Speaking of Dungeons & Dragons, my parents wouldn't let me have the pen an paper version of the game because there was this whole fear in the 80's that it was linked to suicide. I was however allowed to have the electronic addition which was better anyway because I was the only one on my street interested in playing the pen and paper version. This one I could play by myself.
2. Star Wars Millennium Falcon
This gift was technically my brothers but this was easily the toy we both played with the most. It was huge too and probably the best original Star Wars toy ever made. Just don't ever put the Darth Vader action figure in the cockpit or you totally destroy the continuity of the Star Wars universe. (Yes we had arguments over that)
1. Atari 2600
Best. Gift. Ever. The Atari 2600 (or just Atari as everyone called it then) was the gift of the 80's. Video games at home! On your TV! The first game I played on it was Space Invaders and loved it instantly! From there our library of games grew every year. Donkey Kong, Maze Craze, Indy 500, Ptifall!, Pac-Man, Frogger, and on and on and on. Some of my best childhood Christmas memories are opening this up and all the games that came afterwards.
So what was your favorite Christmas toy? Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.