Retro Christmas: opening presents

Retro Christmas toys

It is chaos on Christmas morning as the children discard wrapping paper in a an attempt to uncover what Santa has left for them. In this picture, right, there is a Matchbox Motorway 'M2' set.

Scalectrix 1960s

Model racing cars were always a favourite Christmas present for boys. Here, in the photograph on the left, father, son and uncle get down to some serious racing with a Scalectrix set from the 60s. I wonder how much the popularity of these Scalectrix and other slot car racing games were boosted by the adults wishing to play with them. It was much less acceptable for grown men to play with toy racing cars in the 60s, than it is today. However, there were already slot car racing clubs for adults in the early 60s.

Other favourites from the sixties and seventies included Mecano, Spirograph, Sindy, Action Man, Etch-a-Sketch and the Space Hopper.

You may remember some of these favourites from the past:

Toys from the 50s

  • Meccano
  • Sooty Songster Xylophone
  • Muffin the Mule puppet
  • Dinky cars
  • Dan Dare style ray gun
  • Driving test game
  • Hula Hoop
  • Scalectrix from 1958
  • Scrabble
  • Austin J40

Toys from the 60s

  • Action Man (toy of the year 1966)
  • Spirograph (toy of the year 1967)
  • Sindy doll
  • Barbie doll
  • Dalek toys, based on Dr Who and the Daleks
  • James Bond 007 Aston Martin
  • Matchbox cars with 'Hot Wheels'
  • Diana for Girls Annual
  • Triang pedal car - 'Royal Prince'

Toys from the 70s

Toys from the 80s

  • Rubik's Cube
  • Star Wars based toys
  • My Little Pony
  • Cabbage Patch Kids
  • Transformers
  • Pound Puppies
  • Pictionary
  • Trivial Pursuit
  • Sylvanian Families
  • BMX bikes
  • Nintendo Game Boy

Toys from the 90s

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Thunderbirds Tracy Island
  • Power Rangers
  • Buzz Lightyear
  • Teletubbies
  • Furby

Christmas gifts for grown-ups

Christmas gifts say much about the giver and receiver, but what do gifts from the past for adults say about how we lived?

Your memories of Christmas past

"trying with no success to find 1950's toy iron approx 4 inches long with cream base and black handle - all in one - more shape of gas heated/early electric iron - as opposed to flat iron. Would have been 1952 /53 approx'. Can you help- purchased in uk." margaret pattison

"One Christmas in the late sixties, I got a Wizz Fizz Soda Fountain and a Betty Beauty Parlor. I already had a Susie Smart and Chatty Cathy. I still have my orginal Barbies." Debra Sparks

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