A Century of Christmas Gift Staples

As we celebrate an unprecedented Christmas that focuses more on video calls than shared dinners, it’s understandable to get a little nostalgic about the years gone by. While classic Christmas music and beloved movies can bring back the magic to some extent, they still leave a lot to be desired to create the full holiday experience.

Since presents are a big part of the holiday season, reminiscing about Christmas gifts of the past can fetch you the missing piece of the puzzle. The best part? You don’t need a time machine to take you down memory lane. Instead, all that you need is a well-placed list of gifts that lets you hop on this ride.

To help you recreate the Christmas charm, here is a quick overview of the most popular Christmas presents of the last 100 years. With a little music here, some Christmas cookies there, you can easily live through a lifetime of Christmases in just a few minutes.

1920s – Chanel No. 5

The Roaring Twenties are oddly reminiscent of the current times, where the end of the dreadful Spanish Flu started a decade of over the top celebrations. But instead of flapper dresses and expensive liquor that are often associated with the era, the Christmas gift of the decade was the Chanel No. 5 perfume.

1930s – Monopoly

Known for bringing families together only to break them apart with arguments over fake properties, monopoly doesn’t need any introduction. But while the feuds only last a few minutes, the fond memories stay for a lifetime. Seeing its current importance in family bonding, it makes sense that the board game was the most sought after Christmas present in the 1930s.

1940s – Tupperware

If you give anyone a Christmas present full of plastic bowls in the current day and age, you may not hear the end of it for at least until the next Christmas. But in the 1940s, the then-iconic Tupperware was the hottest gift of the season. Strange in the present? Definitely. Out of touch for its own time? Not at all.

1950s – Frisbee

Call it the era of plastic, if you may. But the decade that followed had another iconic yet unusual gift come through in the form of frisbee. While it may have looked like a misplaced lid of a Tupperware box, the toy drew out significant praise from the recipients at the time.

1960s – Legos

At least Legos boasted of more distinct shapes than a frisbee, which earned them the rightful spot of the top Christmas present of the 1960s. For what it’s worth, they are still one of the primary gifts around Christmas time. If you have not purchased a present in time, buying an intricate Lego set can act as your saving grace.

1970s – Polaroid Camera

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Moving on from the age of plastic toys, the polaroid camera unleashed a time of stray photographs and scattered memories. Since the camera let people express their fondness for other subjects in a never-seen-before way, it’s no surprise to see that it became the top Christmas present of the decade that called for the need of individual expression.

1980s – Nintendo

Before there was PS5, there was the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). While the age-old console may not have the same hyper realistic graphics of the former, it offered enthralling games that are still the talk of the town. The interesting part? It was not the only time that the company would wear that crown.

1990s – Pokemon Cards

While the ‘90s were not as simple as the years that preceded them, the Christmas reign of Pokemon Cards suggests otherwise. Whatever you might say, these cards stirred such a trading sensation that it still rings true for many other digital and physical card games that exist today.

2000s – Nintendo Wii

Remember when we said Nintendo wasn’t done ruling the Christmas gift charts? With Nintendo Wii, the company marked its first return to the list. The handheld+console sensation took the gaming market by storm at the time. But it still retains the title of one of the most selling consoles of all time.

2010s – Nintendo Switch

What would a list of Christmas presents be if not for Nintendo? With the Nintendo Switch, the gaming legend marks yet another return to all-time hits of the Christmas season. If the Internet-breaking popularity of Animal Crossing: New Horizons this year is anything to go by, Nintendo or its future properties aren’t done with this distinction yet.

With the mention of these gifts, you can easily recreate the Christmas magic in your mind. If you have a little extra money to spare, you can even treat yourself to one of these items to get into the holiday spirit.

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