(Photo by Len Trievnor/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

For last week’s 12-Inch Poll, we went back to the ’90s with a Millennial holiday wish list. This time, it’s all about Gen X Christmas toys.


I’d love to tell you that I’m basing this poll on some list I found on some pop culture website or what have you. But that’s not the case. I’m going purely off the dome here. There are times when research is required, sure. Like in this piece I put together on what MA towns might actually get a white Christmas. Then there are times when nostalgia edges out research. This is one of those times.


Sure, this whole exercise is inspired by my Millennial Christmas Toys poll. But the real inspiration comes from a short list of actual gifts I received for Christmas back in the ’80s. Oh, and I should probably remind you, by way of touting my expertise, that I am a bona fide member of Gen X. Born in ’77, baby. So the ’80s were my prime toy-receiving years for Christmas, which is the holiday my family celebrates.


Gen X Christmas Toys: 12 Favorites from the ’80s

If you’re a Gen Xer like me, you might have received a few of these for the holidays. Even if you didn’t, you were likely aware of them at the very least. Now, while I am just straight up going off the dome here, my memory isn’t what it used to be. Blame age, blame COVID, blame whatever. So apologies in advance if I’m off by a year or two with a gift or two.


I’ll just say this before we dive into the list: These are Christmas gifts from my childhood, and if you’re a Gen Xer like me, they’re probably from yours, too. So enjoy the nostalgia and vote for your favorite. Oh, and one more thing: here’s the link to eBay for when you inevitably start trying to hunt down some of these classic toys.

  • Nintendo Entertainment System

    The most sought-after home gaming console of the ’80s. It debuted in the U.S. in 1985 and if you were lucky enough to be born middle-class, you were likely privileged enough to find one under the tree.

  • SEGA Master System

    We didn’t have an NES in my house growing up. We got SEGA one Christmas in the ’80s. Which ruled, because we could play Nintendo at our friends houses and SEGA at home.

  • Cabbage Patch Kids

    Anyone else remember the news footage of parents literally rioting in stores during the Christmas season of 1983 to try and get one of these for their kids? Capitalism at its finest!

  • Rainbow Brite

    Hey, if you weren’t lucky enough to get a Cabbage Patch Kid in ’83, maybe you scored Rainbow Brite in ’84 or ’85.

  • Care Bears

    Marketing genius: take a Teddy Bear, change the color, stick a logo on its tummy. Lather, rinse, repeat. Rake in the dough.

  • Pound Puppies

    Is it me, or did these get so big that, by the late ’80s, Pizza Hut was giving out Pound Puppies with their Kid’s Meals?

  • Masters of the Universe

    Was there a bigger action figure craze in the ’80s than He-Man? Ask my brother and he’ll say “No!” Because he owned pretty much all of them!

  • M.U.S.C.L.E.

    Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere! Super collectable and super fun. One of my favorite Gen X toys.

  • Guts!

    Guts! were like M.U.S.C.L.E. for kids who were militarized at a young age. My brother loved ’em.

  • M.A.S.K.

    You might remember the TV show, but did you have the toys? We did in my house, and they were a blast to play with.

  • Laser Tag

    Laser Tag (and it’s cousin, Photon) became available at home in the mid-’80s. We were lucky enough to find it under the tree one year.

  • Hungry Hungry Hippos

    Board games have always been a holiday gift staple. But the way this one owned the ’80s was otherworldly.

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