Friday's Top Ten: Christmas Gifts of My Youth

Classic Repost for Christmas

With this being the Christmas season, what better way to start it off than with a Christmas Gift Top Ten. Now, I know there are a lot of folks that will feel me on this list because many of will recall these gifts with fondness. There is nothing better than waking up Christmas morning to find at least one great gift under the tree. We didn't have a lot of money, but my grandmother made Christmas special and these are the greatest gifts I've ever received.

10. GI Joe w/Kung-fu Grip: If you didn't have one of these action figures then you weren't really trying to play war. My brother and I built dirt mountains in the field to play. The best part was trying to resuce my sister's Barbie from the enemy. But she was always killed by a fire cracker and smoke bomb. This is how I found out that Barbie dolls don't burn as easily as you would think. We'll bypass the punishments I received for destroying my sister's dolls.

9. Tonka Trucks: The perfect gift for boys that enjoy seeing how destructive they could be with their toys. I never broke a Tonka truck and it certainly wasn't for lack of trying. They make the perfect gift. It really got fun if you got the tractor, dump truck and crane. I loved my trucks and kept them for years.

8. Six Million Dollar Man Action Figure: This was such a cool toy. I loved how he came apart and had the little robotic arms and legs. He had his own space ship as well. It was the eye that made him special. He had a hole in his head to let the light shine through one of his eyes. When you covered the hole with a finger, it looked as though is eye was flashing. Mine dated Barbie until she was killed in the war.

7. Electric Train Set: For those of you with sons, buy them an electric train set. It is one of the best gifts you can give to a kid. My grandmother purchased the train set for Christmas and then picked up buildings and other items for the town as the year went on. My train set connected with the race set so we would race the cars and run the trains and see which car would get smashed by the train. It's a great gift and could lead to a nice hobby to enjoy for years to come. My son will definitely have one.

6. Race tracks: This went right along with the train set. They aren't as fun as you would think they should be but for some reason I still love them. The more expensive the track the faster the cars can go before falling off of the track. The good ones had a lap counter as well. They didn't last long but for the time that we had them, it was the best thing going.

5. Atari 5200: It is a sorry game by today's standard, but in those days it was the most advanced thing we had ever seen. My cousin was the first in the nieghborhood to get one and we would play for hours. Football was our favorite game. He ran the same pattern on me... #1 - #5. That combination killed me. It was a quick slant pattern and I could never stop it. He'd let me stay close for three quarters then blow me out in the forth. Boy, he was cruel.

4. Green Machine: The greatest big wheel ever invented. Oh, the red and yellow big wheels were all right. But the ballers rolled with the Green Machines. Riding them is different since you guide them from the back. The weren't faster, but they just looked way cooler than anything on the play ground. If not for my size... and shame, I'd buy one for myself.

3. Electric Football: To this day I don't understand how these doggone things work, but they were a must have for any Christmas list. My best friend and I would play but for some reason my quarterback would always spin in circles. There was no way to pass the ball so you just had to hope the running back broke down the sidelines. My best friend tried to melt one of the players and his mother walked in on us. Boy, she tore his but up. I left. But she called my grandmother and she sent me back down the treat to get my butt spanked. Bad memory - great gift. I just might purchase one for myself.

2. Hand Held Football: So they were on dashes and dots. It was a great game. You could always tell if the person was in the midst of a big gain by the way they hit the buttons. All you would see is the game shaking and their thumb moving up and down on the buttons. It made different sound depending on what happened. We played in class - just open your desk, turn the sound offf and go at it. It's a game that we could play for hours.

1. Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots: Hours and hours of fun. A little violent consider that the goal was to knock the opposing robot's head off. But this is by far the best game ever invented. It is one of the few games that lasted well into the summer. We took it on every trip and we even had tournaments. Frankly, every boy should have one. I might go purchase one for the house. Maybe I can battle Jaimie over who will clean the litter box.

Ok, those are mine. What's yours?

 

55 Responses to Friday's Top Ten: Christmas Gifts of My Youth

  1. Berry Says:
    Aw shucks...I just did my list of things I would do if I could be a kid for a day so I might have to follow it up with this one. :-) I'm an original Big Wheel kind of gal. Doing 360s after flying down a hill with the tassels on the handles blowing in the wind! Aw, those were the days.
  2. James Manning Says:
    Thanks for the visit Berry. The big wheels are too cool for words. Remember how you cuould just pull up the brake and spin? The only thing that replaced a big wheel was a Huffy with the big cushion seat.
  3. Jo Says:
    That's really odd... I desperately wanted every single thing on your list when I was a kid. Does this mean that there weren't any other toys out there??
  4. James Manning Says:
    Hey Jo,

    No, these were just the most popular. You could always get a slinkey or a Chia Pet
  5. Jaimie Says:
    I know nothing of such toys. I'm a girl (except the Big Wheel. I loved my Big Wheel).
  6. Anonymous Says:
    1. Smurf Big Wheel (which my neighbor took apart and used for parts for his dune buggy)

    2. My Little Ponies

    3. Strawberry Shortcake Dolls

    4. Cabbage Patch Kids (when i was young, we were broke, so my best friend and I demolished the next door neighbor's garden trying to find them in the heads of lettuce she was growing.. needless to say, we were very dissappointed, and got in BIG trouble)

    5. ATARI - Frogger

    6. The mud and the grapefruit tree in the back yard made for hours of fun... we dug to China, dug moats and floated grapefruits in them...

    7. Cardboard (for breakdancing)
  7. James Manning Says:
    Cardboard? That's funny
  8. bold as love Says:
    James,
    You forgot the Evel Knievel stunt cycle. That damned thing jumped better than Evel did. It was affordable, lasted forever, worked just as well on the drive way as well as it did in the house on the floor, Hell I loved it.
    Later'
  9. James Manning Says:
    Bold, you are right, I did forget about that. It deserves to be on the list.
  10. Jack's Shack Says:
    Aw man, I remember those especially my Steve Austin action figure. Loved it.
  11. Naro% Says:
    Bold Killed it with the Evil joint, I still got mines!!! I always break it out before a ride!!! Once again James you had me looking for my six million dolar man family album pics (I had the footie PJ ones with the iron on Lee majors in front)!!!!
    Nice post!!!
  12. NewYorkMoments Says:
    I can identify with the Atari, but...the rest of your list really made me realize what a girlie girl I was. (No one would believe it!) I'll never forget the Christmas when I was 8, and Santa brought for my younger sister everything I had asked for that year. I'm STILL convinced that he got the gift tags mixed up that year!
  13. Little Miss Chatterbox Says:
    Gotta love Atari. And being a girl like some of the others have mentioned the others weren't on my list. I'm trying to remember what else would've been on my list. I usually got ripped off because my parents didn't believe in getting you stuff off your list. But I remember I liked Miss Piggy stuff a lot. And since there were only boys to play with in my neighborhood we played star wars figures a lot instead of Barbies :-).
  14. Mr. Grey Ghost Says:
    Great post!

    This one really took me back esp. the race tracks and the 5200 (you're right that was a MUST-HAVE back in the day)/
  15. Chance Says:
    Chance: You bring back old memories to me also jay I remember all of those items it was a lot easier to have fun as a kid back then too.

    I wish you a happy new year Jay (james) I will see on the blognet in 2006.

    Peace Bruh!

    Chance
  16. Anonymous Says:
    JM, a little violent, but very memorable. I would ditch the train, and race car tracks(bad memories), and replace them with a football, and Star Trek Space Ship.

    The Thinker
  17. Johnnie Says:
    Man, you got me waxin' all nostalgic about me and mom's two-bedroom apt. in SE DC, with our 4.5 foot silver Christmas tree sittin' atop the coffee table.

    I don't know how old you are, but some of the items in your list seem to be from my era, but you left off the best toy a boy of the 60s could have...

    Major Matt Mason!!!! Remember him? That moonwalker gizmo he used to ride in was tight!

    The Hot Wheels track and cars and first bike (no-speed, pedal brakes only) were also very memorable gifts I received as a child.
  18. James Manning Says:
    Johnnie,

    I recall the hot wheels race tracks. Those were tight. I'm a product of the 70's so some of the toys you put down are before my time but I'll check them out.
  19. Jaimie Says:
    I've always loved Barbie. I don't know why, but I have. And my dollhouse, of course.
  20. MEP Says:
    I'm trying to think of my favorite Christmas present and all I can think of that I REALLY liked was this doll that looked like a baby and made crying noises. I left it in my sister's playpen once and my mom thought it was my sister! Ha!

    I think my favorite x-mas present was actually one my sister got. She got a Betsy Wetsy and I was jealous. It was a baby doll that peed the water that you fed it from a bottle. So cool when we were little.
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    I remember I got Ewoks play tree house...
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