Let's face it, they don't make toys like they used to. The 1990s was a golden age for Christmas mornings, with so many brilliant toys to enjoy. So, from our collective memories, here are ten toys we'll always love from Christmas past.
1. Everything the Power Rangers ever had
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers assaulted popular culture in 1993, becoming a worldwide phenomenon with its epic tale of teenagers who had secret magic ninja powers, all told through badly-dubbed Japanese sentai footage. And there were toys – mainly megazords.
The megazord was a set of five individual toys (zords) that all joined together to make one much bigger, much cooler toy. So once you owned one, you had to buy all the others too. And at that point, you kind fo had a collection, so you bought the Dragonzord add-on, and the Dragon dagger, and... It kind of became a problem.
2. Bop It
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Bop It bopped its way on to the scene in 1996, with the simple idea that kids have buckets of energy and they need ways to use it all up. This solid plastic stick would shout instructions at you to 'bop it' (punch the toy), 'pull it' (try to pull the end off) or 'twist it' (er, twist it). We think this toy generated more tears from elbowed and accidentally-smacked siblings than any other toy ever invented.
Furbies still haunt my dreams.
My little sister owned one, which in the middle of the night would wake up and screech its haunting sing-song melody of vaguely human-like speech and scare the daylights out of everyone in the house. These things never stopped. Many a Furby suffered an unexpected 'accident' at the hands of siblings and parents.
And they're back.
4. Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles
The Turtles (called the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles in Ireland, because Ninja Turtles were too violent) were big in the 90s. Really big.
They had a TV show, live action movies, a rapping musical, and toys. Hundreds of toys. We can't really pick one here because there were so many, and everyone had their favourite.
My own personal cherished memory was of the Pizza Thrower. No, it makes no sense why pizza would defeat armoured soldiers.
No, I didn't care.
5. Stretch Armstrong
Stretch Armstrong stretched. That was his thing, and he's been doing it since the 1970s, when he first appeared.
For a toy that's basically a rubber bag filled with corn syrup, that's pretty impressive!
For some reason, pulverising a little man-shaped doll and stretching him to breaking point never got old.
Not sure what that says about the youth of the day.
6. The Game Boy (Color)
Sometimes it's hard to remember that video games only really took off on home consoles in the 1990s. So when Nintendo released the Game Boy in 1989 people were a little bit blown away.
Eight years later, they updated to the Game Boy Color, which was almost like carrying around a Super Nintendo. But the real stars of this system were the games – from Tetris to Zelda, to Links Awakening and, eventually, the game that started Pokémon, this little thing gave more hours of enjoyment than almost anything else.
The original grey bricks were indestructible, too – I've still got mine in the attic.
7. Mr Frosty
Mr Frosty, he's such fun, / he makes drinks for everyone! went the advertising jingle. This was one of those classic late 80s ads that was still running in Ireland in the early 90s.
It utterly convinced watching children that making crushed ice drinks at home was going be super cool! Except that you needed your dad to help turn the grating thing, which couldn't be, you know, sharp or anything because of safety. But it didn't matter because you made them yourself.
Usually out of whatever was lying around once the three packets of flavouring that came with it ran out.
8. Polly Pocket
Small, easy to lose and not the most thrilling of toys, Polly Pockets were huge in the 90s for some reason. Having a Polly Pocket was very important for social status though because even though she was tiny, what she wore was very 'trendy', thus making her owner the envy of her friends – that is, if you squinted hard enough to see the details.
This thing was sold by Home Alone 2. Completely. In fact, it wasn't even a toy when the movie was made – everyone wanted one so much that they actually turned the prop for the movie (which didn't work) into a real toy.
Every boy needed one, mesmerised as we were by visions of manipulating grown-ups to our every whim with its magical voice-changing abilities. Of course, that never, ever worked, but they were simpler times, when changing your voice to sound deeper was enough entertainment for hours a day.
10. Beanie Babies
Beanie Babies were squarely marketed at girls, and, like the Power Rangers, the marketing was all based around collecting them.
They all came with their own names, and creating a beanie baby community was an important status symbol back in the day. The upshot of this was that 90s girls arrived at their teenage years with piles upon piles of animal-shaped bean bags.
What happened to them all?