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What Holiday Toys Do You Remember?

Barbie's life was short, since we preferred boy's toys over dolls. How about you?

The holidays are upon us. The malls swell with traffic, all the cars cramming into their asphalt slots, as shoppers file into the stores, armed and ready for battle with their credit cards.

I don’t like getting mauled at a mall, so I usually shop online if I can.  I’d rather click and pay and wait for that arrival day when the gifts come home. It saves me a lot of time and aggravation.

When we were young, there was no online shopping. Our parents had to shop at May Company, JC Penney, Sears and a few other places to buy us toys, clothes, and sometimes a few items we usually hated.  Sometimes they’d frequent some of the stores along Ventura Blvd.  I seem to recall a toy store in Studio City, but I don’t recall the name.

Most of the gifts we received were wonderful. Our family didn’t have much money, so anything new was a real treat.  Items that were shiny made our pupils pop.

My favorite Christmas gift was my first two-wheel bicycle, which I got when I was about eight.  It was Kelly green, which was fitting since I’m Irish. Teresa’s was the same color.  Training wheels dangled from the sides of the bike until we were coordinated enough to finally get them removed.

I’m sure we pedaled all over town, down to places like Kit Kraft on Ventura Place, Thrifty’s on the corner of Ventura and Laurel Canyon, and sometimes up to Carpenter.  These Schwinn bikes were heavy and indestructible –perfect for wild kids like us.

I also loved my skateboard, which I rode religiously when we were around ten. Back and forth we’d go along our potted driveway, sometimes hitting a crack and being hurled into the bushes. That never mattered. We’d just dust ourselves off and continue.

One year, someone bought us a metal robot that lumbered across the living room. That was cool too, with Teresa and I emulating the robot when we’d be outside playing. No doubt, we were watching the Jetsons on TV during that time.

My least favorite gift was the Barbie Doll my mom got us when we were around eight.  Why my mother thought we’d like this gift is beyond me.  We soon turned Barbie into a grenade, hurling her head and limbs across the gully, and using her torso to dig up dirt clods in the back yard.

At least she didn’t make the mistake of buying us an Easy-Bake Oven.  We probably would have blown up the house.

What holiday gifts do you remember? Feel free to share your memories here on the Patch.

 

teresa mcgrath December 11, 2012 at 02:49 PM
great mary...a big cardboard box and tires were non-gifts we had fun with...the trikes, then green bikes with training wheels, and then knock-off schwinns, called steyr from england, were the faves....we loved the plastic cowboy-cowgirl/horse/army/dinosaur figures and mr potato head too...the robot was especially great...the little gold piano we played endlessly, and the tape recorder in our teens...mary, remember the huge nun dolls we each received? we didn't mutilate them, but kept them dressed up in their habits, fearful of destroying roman catholic icons...the beatles cards, baseball cards, and '45's our older brothers/sisters grew tired of....tiddly winks with buttons, and jacks/pickup sticks...the wooden logs....we wanted an erector set, but mom couldn't afford it, so played with dennis' set...our 10th xmas was chacha, the cockapoo....very special
Mary McGrath December 11, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Oh, what memories Teresa! Thanks for sharing all this great stuff...
Barbara Krause December 11, 2012 at 03:49 PM
I felt that the best holiday gift ever was when my parents bought us a Lionel electric train around an oval track with little people and signals. Not only was it enjoyable entertainment for my sisters and me it was the first time that I realized that mom and dad saw us as more than just girls since this was something for kids in general.
Richard Niederberg December 11, 2012 at 04:08 PM
The Toy Store was Buddy Brown's.
Richard Niederberg December 11, 2012 at 04:18 PM
What I soon discovered, was that clothing, including socks and underwear, and other items my parents would buy me, my brother, and three sisters periodically, became Holiday presents, to be opened in front of everybody. It was fun anyway.
Mary McGrath December 11, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Right, Buddy Brown's! Thanks Richard...
teresa mcgrath December 11, 2012 at 11:18 PM
yes, the socks and underwear...lionel trains, how cool...someone on fb mentioned blocks, silly putty, and of course chinese checkers, parcheesi, etc...buddy brown, yes richard!
Betsy Cutter January 11, 2013 at 07:42 PM
My sister got dolls; I got chemistry sets and Ouija boards, LOL. My favorite gift was an acoustic guitar from Sears when I was 14. The only christmas gift I ever really hated was a jockey cap I got when I was 13. I wanted brown suede and they gave me one that was an ugly, ugly red plaid. I never wore it and I'm sure they wondered why. I also remember my dad dragging me to different shoe stores because my mom and I wore the same size and if they were comfy on me, they would be the same for her. I tried on some amazing shoes that I wasn't considered old enough to wear! Buddy Brown Toys - the best place! Was there a Tandy Leather store someplace? I can't remember. Love this thread!
Mary McGrath January 11, 2013 at 07:51 PM
I had a Ouija Board until I was in my early 20's...Not sure where it came from, but I thought it might be possessed or something, so I gave it away. We experimented with one about 4 years ago, and some the answers were quite illuminating. But, I've heard they're dangerous, and can invite evil spirits...
teresa mcgrath January 11, 2013 at 09:01 PM
chemistry sets, much better....there was a kit kraft hobby store on ventura pl...like mary, love ouija boards, and used them frequently back then...not lately...allegedly there are spirits in my duplex, but i haven't seen/felt anything...others have...
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