It doesn’t matter how far back through the decades you go, each Christmas season has had it’s “must-have” hot toy that all the kids wanted. Cabbage Patch Kids dolls were hot in 1983, but Davy Crockett coonskin caps were just as hot in 1954. We’re going to be taking a look back at the hottest toys for Christmas’s through time, and we’re starting with the 1940’s.
Little Golden Books
Little Golden Books published it’s first twelve books. 1.5 million copies were sold in the first 5 months alone.
Lionel Paper Trains
After being forced to halt production to their normal metal trains due to the war, Lionel offered a paper train for the holiday season. In its Model Builder magazine and its Railroad Planning Book, Lionel urged boys and their dads to start planning their post war railroad now.
Chutes and Ladders
Produced by Milton Bradley, Chutes and Ladders created a fervor among kids everywhere.
Slinky, the toy that can walk down stairs, was the novelty hit of the 1945 Christmas season. It’s invention was a complete accident, and came about when engineer Richard James was considering using springs as anti-vibration devices.
With steel shortages of the war years over, Lionel returned to full production of it’s metal trains. New products included locomotives that puffed real smoke, remote-control coupling systems, and a water tower with a removable spout.
The Wannatoy Coupe, with it’s deco-style, bright colored bodies, is barely remembered today, but almost a million of them flew off the shelves during the 1946 Christmas season. Since they were sold for just $0.25, kids had these in every color.
Tonka trucks in bright colors were an instant hit with kids everywhere. Early releases included the Steam Shovel, Crane and Clam, and the Lift Truck and Cart.
Ginny was an eight inch doll made of plastic. Although Ginny had the same pudgy shape that some of her owners did, her fashion sense was top of the line. She was also one of the first dolls to have her own line of separately sold clothing. Ginny retailed for $1.98, and came with just shoes, socks, and panties. The various outfits sold in the $1 to $2.98 range.
The Binny & Smith company already had a mega-hit on their hands with crayons, and added another hit for the 1949 Christmas season with Silly Putty.
Milton Bradley’s Candy Land game debuted and instantly became a top selling board game just in time for Christmas.
The board game Clue became available in America from Parker Brothers.
The idea behind the game Cootie, was to be the first to assemble your multi-colored bug. Who wouldn’t want their kids to open this preset on Christmas morning and scream, “I got Cooties!”
Now, move forward in time and check out The Hottest Christmas Toys Through the Decades: The 1950’s