Kids are fickle creatures that are easily swayed by flashy TV adverts and what their friends tell them. It is on this basis that the magical holiday of Christmas is built. To celebrate, here’s a look at some of the presents we all lost our shit over when we were more impressionable.
A pocket full of pogs was all it took to promote you from playground zero to playground slightly less than zero back in the day. You were still playing with pogs after all. Everybody had those daft tubs that they carried there pogs around in and everywhere you looked Year 6s were hustling younger kids out of their pogs. It didn’t take long for the non-regulation pogs to circulate, and before you knew it, Dave Matthews had a slammer that looked like a fucking buzz-saw and the whole thing was over. I’m still not entirely sure how to play pogs, but I knew I needed them for Christmas as everyone knew mo pogs was greater than or equal to mo respect.
This little fucker right here. Furby was the Christmas toy that everybody had to have but nobody knew that the fuck it was. It was creepy as all hell, turned itself on in the middle of the night to tell you it loved you, and apparently picked up police radio frequencies. Harrowing. Furbys died a quick death in the mid 90s, but there’s unsettling rumours that they’re set to make a comeback this year, and they’re going to be more annoying than ever with full tablet support and unwanted DLC. They also look like you’re tripping the fuck out on acid. Marvellous.
As soon as you stepped onto this rolling swag-wagon you could feel the respect from your piers sky-rocketing. You knew your parents really loved you if you got one with a lightening stripe on it, making you the envy of the entire cul-de-sac. Never mind the reality that these things looked stupid as hell and nobody could ever do anything other than go in a straight line and occasionally jump off a curb.
To the shops and beyond! Buzz Lightyear will forever be remembered as the toy that damn near killed Christmas in 1996. If you got one of these then your parents probably killed somebody to get it for you. The only thing better than getting a Buzz Lightyear action figure was getting his dope-ass space ship too.
The best thing about the ultimate Japanese fad toy was that there were so many different varieties to adequately show off your quirky personality. I had a dinosaur one called Jake because I don’t have much of a personality. Apparently, these things were meant to gauge how good a parent you would be when you grew up. Mine shit itself to death. Never let me breed.
Getting a Nintendo 64 for Christmas was like the Buddhist equivalent of dying and being reincarnated as Godzilla. You were immediately somebody not to be fucked with. You demanded ultimate respect among your friends as lord and master of the cartridges, decreeing that ‘It wasn’t fair. It’s my game, so I win.’ That was until your dad put it on top of the wardrobe in a bid to get you to do something other than play it. Fuck you dad, you don’t know what’s best for me.
Power Rangers were the shit, no more so than when they morphed together into the Frankenstein’s monster of kids TV, Megazord. My next-door neighbour had an original, legit Megazord that I used to go over and watch him play with because he was a prick and wouldn’t let anybody else touch it. One day my mum got me a cut-price ‘Super Ranger’ Megazord. I filed for adoption soon after.
Tickle Me Elmo
This prick taught a generation of kids that tickling your way out of life’s problems was an acceptable thing to do. Mix in that positive message with a fuzzy, red smile and a gleeful giggle, and you’ve got yourself one happy child. Unfortunately, you can’t tickle your way out of crippling student debt. That shit does not wash with student loans.
If life has taught us anything, it’s that shooting your younger siblings repeatedly with militarised jets of water will never get old. The only downside was the lengthy reload period which left you open to a quick soaking, or your dad with a dowsing you with a bucket of water. I know you’re trying to be a part of my life dad, but throwing a bucket of water on me is not ‘joining in.’
“But Mum, they’ll be collectible!” was pretty much the only way we got so many of these at Christmas. And after sinking a few hundred pounds into them, we only really had two or three we cared about. Mine was an original shiny Charizard. It took a years worth of birthday and Christmas presents to get it, and I loved it intensely for about a week. I think it’s worth around £5 now. Totally worth it.