25 Days of Christmas: Day 20 ~ A Century of American Christmases, Part IV (1990-2000)

Christmas in the 1990s

1990sThe 1990s brought an unsettling decade, as we coped with the first Gulf War and the bombings of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. On the economic side, however, the nation was booming, alongside advances in technology that brought the World Wide Web to homes and businesses, connecting people around the world like never before. Popular toys included Beanie Babies and Tickle Me Elmo, and a move from skateboards to Rollerblades.

1990s Christmas Budget

  • Sony Walkman – $69.99
  • Transformer toy figure – $15.00
  • Girl’s bicycle – $150.00
  • Hardcover books – $25.00
  • Music CD – $19.99
  • Cordless power drill – $95.00
  • Polar fleece scarf – $9.99
  • DVD Player – $525

New Century Christmas: 2000-2009

2000sAlthough the decade opened with the hope brought by the turn of the millennium, emotions turned to shock at the events of September 11, 2001 in the United States, with conflict ensuing in countries around the world. As the decade continued, however, further advances in technology, health, and environmental researched provided hope again – in the battles for wellness, quality of life, and climate change. Toys based on cartoon characters remained very popular, from Buzz Lightyear to Spiderman, along with ever-more-sophisticated computer-simulation games.

Christmas Budget; 2000 – 2009

  • Men’s sport jacket – $99.95
  • TV cabinet – $450.00
  • Portable MP3 player – $109.99
  • China candlestick – $35.00
  • Boys’ worsted sweater – $30.00
  • Toy sewing machine – $29.99
  • Toy automobile – $9.99
  • Railroad set – $34.00

(Jeffrey, Yvonne; The Everything Family Christmas Book)

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25 Days of Christmas: Day 19 ~ A Century of American Christmases, Part III (1960-1980)

Christmas in the 1960s

1960 tape recorderA pivotal decade, the 1960s were marked by the Civil Rights movement, the rise of the hippies, the Bay of Pigs, the Vietnam War, and the race to be the first nation to reach the moon. Postwar baby boomers began to transition from teenagers to adults against a background of toys that included Easy Bake Ovens, the Etch-a-Sketch, and GI Joe.

1960s Christmas Budget

Kitchen convenience was offered in style in the 1960s – never mind the refrigerator, check out the lazy Susans and the electric can openers!

  • Lazy Susan – $4.76
  • Electric can opener – $7.77
  • Ladies’ stretch slacks – $3.97
  • Aluminum Christmas tree and stand – $2.99
  • “Your kiddie’s Polaroid picture taken with Santa himself” – $0.49
  • Viewmaster stereo viewer in “rugged, shock-resistant plastic” – $1.75

 Christmas in the 1970s

1970sProtest against the Vietnam War increased as the decade opened; it would close with the capture of hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, after seeing the end of the war and the resignation of a president, North America families took to the highways in station wagons, sporting mood rings and playing with Rubik’s Cubes, skate-boards, and Matchbox cars.

1970s Christmas Budget

  • Stereo set with turntable and 8-track player – $199.95
  • AM radio mounted in headphones – $14.95
  • Lava lamp – $45.00
  • “25-function” calculator – $49.95
  • CB radio – $89.95
  • Bionic Man action figure – $6.65
  • Baby Thataway – $8.88
  • Ten-speed bike – $99.50
  • Evel Knievel stunt cycle – $9.95

Christmas in the 1980s

1980sThe beginning of the end for the Cold War marked the close of this decade, as the Berlin Wall fell in Germany. Here at home, the drive toward space continued with the first reusable space vehicle, the Space Shuttle, in 1981. Computers arrived in homes and schools, while video games such as Nintendo and Pac Man gained huge followings. Shoppers flocked to stores in search of Cabbage Patch Dolls, while other hot toys included Trivial Pursuit and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

1980s Christmas Budget

  • Microwave oven – $227.00
  • Videocassette recorder (1980) – $1,395
  • Videocassette recorder (1989) – $299
  • Garfield telephone – $44.70
  • Space Invaders video game cassette – $24.88
  • Care Bear – $13.99
  • Castle Greyskull, from Masters of the Universe Collection – $23.99
  • Lazer tag game kit – $29.99
  • Rambo Rocket water launcher – $14.96

(Jeffrey, Yvonne; The Everything Family Christmas Book)

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25 Days of Christmas: Day 18 ~ A Century of American Christmases, Part II (1930-1950)

Christmas in the 1930s

The Thirties were a time of great hardship for many people, as the Great Depression took hold of the continent. By the end of the decade, as World War II began in Europe, social programs and work projects such as those tackled by the Civilian Conservation Corps has been launched. Even the toys reflected the times: Board games such as Monopoly, which was introduced in 1935 became popular partially because they were less expensive than many other forms of entertainment.

1930sMonopoly

1930s Christmas Budget

The child’s red wagon in the list remains a staple of childhood play even today.

  • Satin mens pajamas – $10.95
  • Pullman men’s slippers – $4.00
  • Quart bottle of Monopole champagne – $5.00
  • Boy’s knickers – $1.49
  • Doll, layette, and basket – $4.94
  • Dollhouse – $5.00
  • Toy airplane – $0.65
  • Toy typewritter – $1.95

 Christmas in the 1940s

1940sWorld War II defined the first half of the 1940s, associated with images of Rosie the Riveter as women went to work to replace the men who left for the war. Television arrived later in the decade, as did the very first computer and the traditional American diner. Forties-era toys included the Slinky, Tonka trucks, and Silly Putty.

1940s Christmas Budget

  • Zippered rayon ladies’ robe – $6.98
  • Upright vacuum cleaner – $49.90
  • Electric iron – $2.49
  • Electric coffee maker – $6.98
  • Roller skates – $9.95
  • Magnetized soldier doll with American flag – $4.00
  • Tiddlywinks game – $0.39

Christmas in the 1950s

1950sTelevision became perhaps the greatest influence during the 1950s, bringing programs such as The Honeymooners and Father Knows Best into living rooms across the nation, first in black and white, than in color.  Rock and roll arrived on the music scene, as did a polio vaccine on the health front. Mr. Potato Head, Frisbees, and Barbie dolls made names for themselves in the toy department.

1950s Christmas Budget

  • Slide projector – $43.95
  • Men’s topcoat – $18.00
  • Quilted rayon and taffeta robe – $8.95
  • Pipe and lighter set – $1.94
  • Television set with life-size seventeen-inch screen – $229.95
  • Donald Duck xylophone – $2.65
  • Mickey Mouse train set – $1.59
  • Musical milk mug – $6.95

(Jeffrey, Yvonne; The Everything Family Christmas Book)

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