This past weekend, I celebrated Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the official start of the holiday season with my family. We laughed, cooked, ate way too much food and went Black Friday shopping. Yes, we are those crazy people among the crowds of shoppers vying for a killer deal at 5 a.m. Part of the preparation for Black Friday shopping includes going through the newspaper, scouring the ads and planning which stores and which deals are a top priority. I am happy to report that my husband and I survived Black Friday (it was actually a relatively pleasant experience) and walked away with a Smart T.V., wireless printer, rice cooker and wet/dry vacuum cleaner all at amazing deals. We had a great weekend!
While planning for our shopping escapade, thumbing through the ads brought back memories from my childhood of putting together my holiday wish list. Was there anything that a kid put more thought into than making a list of toys to request for the holiday season? Certainly not school work. Certainly not chores. The process of creating a holiday wish list was quite involved. I still remember all the steps I took to ensure there was no question about what I wanted to see under the tree on Christmas morning.
It all started with the Thanksgiving newspaper. This massive, tightly wrapped bundle, that on every other day never interested my brother or me, was highly sought after on Thanksgiving morning. Why? Because it contained all the major stores’ Black Friday advertisements featuring the highly coveted toys of the season. Once us kids got our hands on the newspaper, we weeded out all the ads we wanted and left the rest for the adults. Yeah, ya’ll go ahead and keep Home Depot. The important ones for us were Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, K.B. Toys and, of course, Toys ‘R Us. Now equipped with our piles of thin, glossy advertisements, our skimming and scanning began.
Each of us, starting with a different ad, read through them once quickly before going back to make our selections. It was crucial to have an initial review to see what jumped out at us so we knew what was definitely making it on our wish lists. During our second and longer review of each ad, we would use a marker to circle the gifts we wanted for the holidays and fold down the page our selections were on. To make our requests clear, my brother and I cleverly used different colored Crayola markers so others knew what he wanted vs. what I wanted. On occasion, there were items (like remote control cars or SEGA systems) with two different colored circles around them. Hint, hint, mom and dad. We REALLY want these things. As we completed circling, we passed the ads to one another until we both were done.
Now, it was time to weigh our choices. Obviously, we couldn’t let people guess which items were at the top of our lists, right? We had to point it out. We did that by adding a star by items we had already circled. You can’t just star everything, though. It was important to restrict it to the top 3-5 toys. The toys that if not seen under the tree on Christmas morning, would destroy your world. I can tell you that most years the “star item” for me was a Barbie Power Wheels Jeep. No, I never got one. Yes, I am still bitter about it today. And goodness help you if your “star item” was the hot toy of the season. Can you imagine what went through people’s minds when they saw one of the following toys on your wish list (dailyinfographic.com)?
From the 1980s:
- Rubik’s Cube
- Transformers Optimus Prime
- My Little Pony
- Cabbage Patch Doll
- Teddy Ruxpin
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
From the 1990s:
- Nintendo Game Boy
- Beanie Babies
- Tickle Me Elmo
- Power Rangers
- Buzz Lightyear
If you owned any of the items on that list, you owe the giver a HUGE debt of gratitude. Surely they had to push their way through hordes of frantic people dying for the same toy. #youwerealuckykid Hot toy or not, once our ads were circled, starred and checked twice (good advice from Santa), we piled the slim booklets into a stack, delivered them to our parents for review and patted ourselves on the back for a job well done. Our holiday wish list compilation was complete.
This year, I decided to peruse through the toy sections of the Black Friday ads in celebration of the holiday wish list process I participated in as a kid. You know what’s crazy? So many of the toys I remember from my adolescence are STILL available today. Take a look below at all the toys I found in the 2017 Black Friday ads:
- Lite Brite
- Jumanji (how do kids today even know what this is without the movie?)
- Hot Wheels
- Razor Scooters
- Cabbage Patch Dolls
- Tickle Me Elmo
- My Little Pony
- Mr. Potato Head
- Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine (I actually owned this when I was young! Looks EXACTLY the same.)
It made my heart so happy to know that children today could be wishing and hoping for the same toy that was on my wish list over 20 years ago. In addition to noticing so many toys from past decades, reading the Black Friday toy advertisements allowed me to make a handful of observations that I would love to share with you all.
1. Bicycles are cheap
In the 80s and 90s, requesting a bike was a HUGE ask. It was far above the normal price for a holiday gift. Receiving a bicycle often meant that very few other gifts were expected. Guess what? I saw bikes in ads this weekend for $34! Can you believe that? My how times have changed…
2. Power Wheels still look awesome
As I mentioned before, a Barbie Power Wheels Jeep was the toy that eluded me during my younger years. Often times I have wondered, were they really even that great? What was a I really missing anyways? Kids in the ads today still look so freaking happy driving them. Imagine pulling away from your garage in a mini car with your shades on, picking up your neighbor for a spin around the cul-de-sac while feeling the wind in your hair… I know I can drive an actual car now, but Power Wheels still seem radical.
3. There will always be a hot toy
Before there was Hatchimals, hoverbaords and Furreal Friends, there was Game Boy, Tamagotchis and Cabbage Patch Dolls. There will always be a toy that they never manufacture enough of that will drive parents crazy.
4. Parents must be so thankful for online shopping
I can’t fully appreciate the holiday shopping my parents did in the 80s and 90s. If they wanted something, they had to physically GO to a store to purchase it. There was no way to even know if it was in stock before they went there (unless they called the store first). Also, they couldn’t bring us kids with them so they either had to do it alone or get a babysitter. Shopping was a commitment, man. And year after year they delivered. Cheers to shoppers from the 80s and 90s! We have it so easy today.
5. I am old
Before I took a gander at the toy sections, I was searching for deals for myself. You know what I got the most excited for? Clothes? No. Shoes? No. DVDs? No. I was most excited by the prices I found for… appliances. My younger self would be so ashamed. I did get a rice cooker for $7.99, though. #winning
There ya have it. My memories of putting together a holiday wish list. I would say that I hope children today have a similar experience, but I already know my niece and nephews make Amazon Wish Lists for Christmas. It’s a different era. Fortunately, I’ll always have the Black Friday ads in the newspaper to remind me of holiday seasons from the past. How did you all put together holiday wish lists? What was that one toy you HAD to have? Did you go Black Friday shopping? If so, what did you get? Drop a comment below and share your thoughts! Also, follow Miss Reminisce on social media. If I come across any great holiday deals, that’s where I will be sharing them.