As I’ve watched my kids carefully pen their Christmas lists this year, I’ve been reflecting back on my own childhood, and all the excitement I felt as Christmas approached! Christmas was the chance I had to really shoot for the moon, and I always dreamed big with my list. Here are 20 gifts that I was hoping to find under my Christmas tree back in 1980-Something.

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20 Christmas Gifts I Longed for in 1980-Something

#1: Watchimals

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Who do I talk to about bringing these back? Just seeing these pictures sends my heart into a hopeful flutter. I wanted the dog version (not pictured) and Santa did not disappoint!

#2: Pound Puppies

80's Christmas Gifts

The absolute cutest thing I had ever seen. They tugged at my heartstrings sitting there on the store shelf peering out of their cardboard dog houses with their big puppy-dog eyes. I actually DID wake up to a “Pound Puppy” one Christmas morning, homemade with love by my Grandma (she even stitched the signature “PP” heart on its backside). While I was slightly disappointed at the time, it remains one of my favorite treasures today.

#3: Popples

Soft, lovable creatures that could turn “from a fluffy ball into a furry friend…and back again!” There was something oddly satisfying about tucking the popple into its ball form and flipping it back out again—the closest thing we had to a fidget spinner in the 80’s.

#4: Garbage Pail Kids

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Garbage Pail Kids have to be the most bizarre trend to ever sweep the halls of elementary schools—-and I wanted them all.

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#5: Mall Madness

It was the mall with it ALL, and since I was too young to be hanging out in the actual mall, this seemed to be my next best option.

#6: Slime

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Some things never change.

#7: Trolls

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Trolls were addicting. The action figures were fun, but the pencil toppers were even better. Embarrassingly, I think I was more excited about the recent Trolls movie than my young children.

#8: Micro Machines

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Having “Motormouth” John Moschitta as the spokesperson for MicroMachines was a brilliant move on the part of Galoob (now part of Hasbro). I spent countless recesses with my friends trying to nail the wording of the commercials, which sounded like a load of nonsense until the classic “and remember, if it doesn’t say Micro Machines, it’s NOT the real thing.”

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#9: Skip-it

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My parents could hardly keep up with my Skip-It habits. I would literally wear the things OUT. I always had the basic model, but the deluxe version (that had a meter to count your skips!) was at the tippity-top of my Christmas list!

#10: Nintendo

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Show me someone who didn’t have a Nintendo on their Christmas list in the ’80s and I’ll show you a liar. If Santa brought you the much coveted Nintendo you were quickly the envy of all the neighborhood.

#11: Nintendo Power Pad

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It wasn’t long after the Nintendo hit the market that the Power Pad followed. Santa came through for me once again! It wasn’t even a full week after Christmas before my brother and I figured out that you didn’t actually have to break a sweat using the power pad—kneeling beside it and using our fists to do all the hard work worked jusssst fine.

#12: New Kids on the Block ANYTHING

While concert tickets were at the top of my list, I would have happily settled for a life-sized cardboard cutout of Donnie. Don’t judge.


Kristi is a frizzy-haired mother of four, living the dream in Austin, TX. When she is not writing, she can most likely be found exploring the hiking trails in Austin, or pursuing her other life passion . . . tacos.