The Most Popular Christmas Gifts Through The Years

By: Keilany Ligons

Every year there’s one thing that everyone breaks their backs trying to buy to put under their tree. One thing that every kid won’t stop talking about until they open it Christmas morning. One thing that sells out as fast as it gets stalked. One thing every parent spends the entire year saying they won’t buy, only to buy it anyway just to get their kid to leave them alone. Here’s the most popular gift of each year since 1995, that brought as much joy to the person receiving it, as stress to the person who had to buy it.

1995 – Beanie Babies

Fun Fact: People reportedly have offered up to $1,000 for the rarest versions of Beanie Babies, especially the ones with manufacturing flaws.

Other Popular Gifts: POGs, Sky Dancers, PlayStation

1996 – Tickle Me Elmo

Fun Fact: There were bids, disputes, fistfights, black market sales, and even stampedes over this doll in its craze during 1996. In the following January, People’s Magazine published a story about the chaos, including a Walmart employee who “suffered a pulled hamstring, injuries to his back, jaw and knee, a broken rib and a concussion.”

Other Popular Gifts: Buzz Lightyear, Foam ‘N Color Barbie, Lisa Frank merchandise

1997 – Tamagotchi

Fun Fact: An English pet cemetery owner named Terry Squires set aside part of his cemetery for dead Tamagichi. People from all over the world would mail him their Tamagotchis and he would perform burials for them.

Other Popular Gifts: Batman figures, GoldenEye 007, Nintendo 64

1998 – Furby

Fun Fact: The National Security Agency banned Furbies from their Maryland base due to the concern that the toys would record and repeat confidential information.

Other Popular Toys: Bop It, ProYo, Laser Challenge

1999 – Pokémon

Fun Fact: The rarest Pokémon cards are the Pikachu Illustrator Card. Only 4 exist and are worth as much as $100,000.

Other Popular Gifts: Scalextric AFX Vertigo Set, Nintendo Gameboy Camera, Tyco Rebound

2000 – Razor Scooter

Fun Fact: Over 5 million Razor Scooters were sold within the first six months of its release.

Other Popular Gifts: Tekno Robotic Dog, Barbie Airplane, Finger Skateboards

2001 – Bratz Dolls

Fun Fact: The dolls caused controversy among some parents who believed the dolls were bad influences to girls and claimed they wore makeup that was “too heavy”, and clothes that were “too skimpy” compared to Barbies. This also led to the question of whether or not the controversy had more to do with the diversity of the dolls’ ethnicities and curvy bodies compared to Barbie’s beauty standard.

Other Popular Gifts: Rapunzel Barbie, Xbox, Bob The Builder

2002 – Beyblades 

Fun Fact: Beyblade also had a 3 season long show and a manga that ran from 1999 to 2004.

Other Popular Gifts: FurReal Pets, Lord of the Rings figures, LEGO Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets

2003 – Robosapien

Fun Fact: Over 1.5 million Robosapiens were sold this holiday season.

Other Popular Gifts: Nokia N-Gage, Electronic Hulk Hands, Hokey Pokey Elmo

2004 – Nintendo DS

Fun Fact: The DS were known to be very durable. Many people all over the world have tested this, putting it in extremely hot and cold temperatures and putting it in water, only for the device to still function properly.

Other Popular Gifts: iPod Mini, The Sims 2, Digital Camera

2005 – X-Box 360

Fun Fact: More than 70 million Xbox 360 consoles have been sold worldwide.

Other Popular Gifts: iPod Nano, Star Wars Lightsabers, iPod Transmitter

2006 – Playstation 3

Fun Fact: This is another entry on this list that caused chaos during its release. There were several incidents of riots, muggings and robberies, fights, shootings, and stampedes over this console.

Other Popular Gifts: Tickle Me Elmo (2006), Wii Sports, Barbie Princess Genevieve Doll

2007 –  iPod Touch

Fun Fact: The iPod Touch is the most popular iPod model.

Other Popular Gifts: Guitar Hero III: Heroes of Rock, Barbie Girls, Spotz

2008 – Nintendo Wii

Fun Fact: The motion sensor technology that made the Wii so popular with gamers was originally offered to Microsoft and to Sony. Both did not like the idea and declined.

Other Popular Gifts: High School Musical Dance Mat, iPhone 3G, Tickle Me Elmo

2009 – Zhu Zhu Pets

Fun Fact: The toys got an animated tv show adaptation called The ZhuZhus in 2016. 

Other Popular Gifts: Ben 10 Action Cruiser, Battle Strikers, Monopoly City 3D

2010 – iPad 

Fun Fact: At the time of its release, the iPad was Apple’s biggest product launch, selling 1 million units in less than a month.

Other Popular Gifts: Toy Story 3 DVD, Nerf N Strike, Tangled toys

2011 – Nintendo 3DS

Fun Fact: At its time, the 3DS controlled as much as 68.3% of the handheld gaming market.

Other Popular Gifts: LeapPad Explorer, Let’s Rock Elmo, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure

2012 – Wii U

Fun Fact: This was the first Nintendo console that supported HD graphics.

Other Popular Gifts: Skylanders: Giants, LEGO Lord of the Rings, Furbies

2013 – PlayStation 4

Fun Fact: On November 13, 2013, the PlayStation 4 sold one million units within 24 hours.

Other Popular Gifts: Big Hugs Elmo, Xbox One, Disney Infinity

2014 – Elsa Dolls

Fun Fact: Along with its movie dominating the box office, Frozen dominated the toy industry, being the biggest part of Disney’s 4 billion dollars in merchandise sales.

Other Popular Gifts: Skylanders: Trap Team, Sims 4, LEGO Minecraft

2015 – Star Wars Remote Control BB-8

Fun Fact: The BB-8 droid sold out on its first day, and sold over a million that year.

Other Popular Gifts: LEGO Millenium Falcon, Drones, Hoverboards

2016 – NES Classic Edition

Fun Fact: The NES classic had a short running time. Nintendo stopped making the console 5 months after its release. When it returned again in 2018, it was discontinued again that same year.

Other Popular Gifts: Hatchimals, Paw Patrol toys, Moana toys

2017 – Nintendo Switch

Fun Fact: The Switch is the world’s first hybrid console, being able to switch back and forth from the small console to the TV screen.

Other Popular Gifts: Fingerlings, LOL Surprise Dolls, Fidget Spinners

2018 – AirPods

Fun Fact: AirPods can be used for up to 5 hours with one charge.

Other Popular Gifts: Red Dead Redemption 2, Black Panther toys, Baby Shark Toys

2019 – Elsa Dolls (Again)

Fun Fact: Frozen 2 made 1.5 billion dollars in the box office, making it the highest grossing animated film of all time

Other Popular Gifts: Nintendo Switch Lite, Marvel toys, some other third thing

2020 – PlayStation 5

Fun Fact: 13.4 million PS5s have been sold since its release

Other Popular Gifts: Baby Yoda toys, Mandalorian toys, Oculus Quest

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