CLOSE

 

via: esquire

As we approach the holiday shopping season, take a year-by-year look back over the last three decades at popular holiday gifts that sent parents a-tramplin.

Apple iPad
2010: Apple iPad

2010: Apple iPad

$499 – $699

The Big Deal: Really, were there any other contenders? It’s the first of its kind — a slim tablet that lets you seamlessly glide between movies, music, browsing the web, and Street Fighter beat-downs. With Wi-Fi and 3G, everything from racing simulators to magazines are just a touch away. And don’t get us started on that gorgeous LED display.

The Weird Part: You can use the iPad to do just about anything, but you’re probably going to waste all your time on Angry Birds, which has been purchased over 10 million times on Apple’s App Store.

Nook eReader
2009: Nook eReader

2009: Nook eReader (Barnes & Noble)

Starting at $149

The Big Deal: B&N’s e-book has a second screen while Amazon’s Kindle has just one; throw in its Wi-Fi and the Nook seems set for a Christmas KO. That said, Beta had a much nicer picture than VHS.

2007: iTouch (Apple)

iPod Touch 4th Generation, Starting at $275

The Big Deal: The first touchscreen and Web-enabled iPod went from annual fanboy fantasy to national must-have, largely because it came at a fraction of the iPhone’s price tag. Christmas? There’s an app for that.

The Weird Part: Apple’s profits took a slight hit when they had to deal with a lawsuit filed by an irate mother claiming her child’s iTouch burst into flames while in his pocket, igniting his pants and “nylon/spandex underwear.”

Playstation 3
2006: Playstation 3

2006: Playstation 3 (Sony)

PlayStation 3 Slim 160GB, Starting at $300

The Big Deal: Sony’s response to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 had a North American launch inspiring such anticipation that pre-sale units hit $3,000 on eBay (retail topped out at $599), while mothers and mouth-breathers alike camped out for days to buy one in person.

The Weird Part: Legend has it one man on an advance line at a Walmart discovered there would not be any PS3s left by the time it was his chance to make a purchase. So he did the only logical thing: he treated people ahead of him in line to coffee spiked with laxatives. He got one.

Xbox 360
2005: Xbox 360

 

2005: Xbox 360 (Microsoft)

Xbox 360 250GB Starting at $200

The Big Deal: Beating Sony to the punch? Check. Internet connectivity for Halo tournaments stretching from nerds in Taiwan to schoolchildren in Toledo? You got it. Enough supply to meet holiday demand? Not so much. Frenzy ensued.

The Weird Part: Xbox 360 started production a mere sixty-nine days before its launch. Customers lucky or savvy enough to recognize the potential profits of Microsoft’s dilemma cashed in, as forty thousand units (or 10 percent of total supply) ended up on eBay within a week.

RoboSapiens
2004: RoboSapiens

2004: RoboSapiens (WowWee)

Starting at $24

The Big Deal: What’s a RoboSapien, you ask? Why a remote-control, fourteen-inch-tall humanoid capable of performing sixty-seven preprogrammed actions and movements, including (but by no means limited to) break dancing, farting, and belching, of course!

The Weird Part: Prior to the resurgence of human movement with the success of Dancing with the Stars, humanity faced a sedentary period consisting entirely of RoboSapiens shaking their mechanical groove thangs on YouTube.

Beyblades
2002-2003: Beyblades

 

2002-2003: Beyblades (Hasbro)

Starting at $13

The Big Deal: In a classic demonstration of the power of synergy, Hasbro released these customizable “fighting” spin-tops in Japan simultaneously with a hit cartoon. World domination followed soon thereafter.

The Weird Part: Beyblade competitions quickly became a sensation, with the first one drawing eighteen thousand people. One need only YouTube the highlights of such an event to discover why this attracted more folk than the average heavyweight title fight.

Dr. Cool & Dr. Hot Bags
2001: Bratz Dolls

2001: Bratz Dolls (MGA Entertainment)

Starting at $10

The Big Deal: Ah, Cloe, Jade, Sasha, and Yasmin. They’re the original quartet of ten-inch “teenagers distinguished by large heads and skinny bodies.” While their June 2001 launch proved disappointing, by Christmas they were well on their way to generating billions.

The Weird Part: If the Bratz remind you of Barbie dolls, you’re not the only one. Mattel won a $100 million copyright suit against MGA in 2008 (though it should be noted that Mattel requested $1.8 billion).

Razor Scooter
2000: Razor Scooters

2000: Razor Scooters (Razor USA)

Starting at $40

The Big Deal: This was the year we decided we didn’t want to drive… or walk. What to do? Dodge children in the streets! The original Razor also won Toy of the Year for establishing itself as a “classic mode of transportation, like bikes and skateboards.”

The Weird Part: Only downside? Any grown man on a scooter looks like a total zero. John Mayer celebrated this in a short film about his songwriting process.

To See Esquire’s Full List, Click Here