Hot List for Christmas
Make a List and Check it Twice
article by Cindy G. Foust
I have three words to start this month’s column…time.slow.down. It seems like I just put my Christmas decorations in the attic and here I am, about to start dragging them out again. Unbelievable. But, time does march on, whether we want it to or not, and as we put the suntan oil and flip flops away, we find ourselves thinking about what to get our children for Christmas. With those thoughts in mind, I decided to treat this month’s readers to a little “peek” inside this year’s “toy must haves” in an effort to save a little time, and attempt to put you ahead of the proverbial eight ball. Well, it sounded easy enough (long sigh). As I began my research for the “2014 Hot Toy List,” several things, however, began to creep into my mind. For one, who is the actual toy expert? ToysRUs? Wal-Mart? The North Pole? In my day, we couldn’t wait for the J.C. Penney or Sears Wish Books to arrive in the mail, but I’m not sure either one of those retailers even sell toys anymore! Next, I wonder how much influence I might even have over our reader’s shopping lists, especially after the fashion finasco article (no, fiasco is not misspelled, it’s simply another Dr. Seuss-type word that sounds better than the original), because I am fairly confident I didn’t influence any of our readers to run out and buy yellow boat shoes. Finally, in comparing the different “hot lists,” I realized that toys today still have a little commonality with those some 40 years ago (I can see your eyes rolling, as I yet again put us in the time machine and take us back to circa 1974.) So rather than just write about the 2014 Toy Hot List, I decided it would be more fun to actually compare a few. It is my column, after all, and it does have to do with children…well, sort of. So time warp with me if you will, to 1974, when I was 8 years old, and reminisce about the popular toys of that year.
Number one would be the Mrs. Beasley (from Family Affair) doll. Yes, she had “rooted hair” so you could brush it; she said 10 different sayings; and yes, I had one. In fact, her carcass is in my attic, just needing a little TLC. If you were looking to buy one in 1974, you could have done so for $10.97. Comparable to Mrs. Beasley on the 2014 must haves is Disney’s Frozen Snow Globe Elsa doll, who also has “rooted hair” (I’m sorry, that is just a strange use of words to entice someone to buy a doll), and has 15 sounds and phrases (which you can get her to say in Spanish or English), a magical snowflake necklace, a light up dress, and get this, her necklace plays “Let It Go!” Folks, I’d start ordering this steal of a deal at just $34.99, because my shopping intuition tells me “anything Frozen” will be popular this Christmas.
Number two to make the short list from 1974 is Tonka toys construction trucks. Yes, these trucks were made with steel bodies, chip resistant paint and shatter resistant windshields. I hate to state the obvious, but “real trucks” we purchase these days don’t have those features. In 2014, the comparable sale that I found is the Mutant Mania Mutant Masher (say that three times fast). I’m sorry, but I think children’s truck manufacturers could learn a thing or two from those Tonka folks. For starters, how about that name? Mutant Mania Mutant Masher? And from what I can tell about this must have, it’s made of plastic and looks about as durable as a carton of eggs. However, it does have character ejector seats and for $19.99, you can have one of your own (I personally might look on E-Bay to see if anyone is selling a 1974 concrete mixer).
Third to make the list in 1974 was a Winnie the Pooh pop up box, which played “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” after you cranked him up. This had to be the steal of a deal because at $3.47, your child had one under the tree. From the 2014 wish list, I see a Transformers Stomp and Chomp Grimlock, and I have to tell you, I had trouble going to sleep after I looked at this toy. It looks like some