A gift from a friend – a retro toy surprise

Gift Grapevine retro toys - a gift from a friend

Readers of this blog will be well aware of my love of toys and fondness for a childhood flashback. So it was with a little squeal I opened a package from one of my favourite bloggers – Hugzilla. She spotted a book that made her think of me and – because she is absolutely awesome – popped it in the mail so I could pour over the pages with childish glee.

‘Girls’ Toys of the Seventies & Eighties’ does not disappoint. It’s a compilation of toy pages from the legendary U.S. Christmas Wishbooks of Sears, Roebuck and Co. from 1970 to 1989.

Gift Grapevine retro toys - Girls Toys Sears catalogue

So many memories! So many questionable fashions! So many fabulous toys! It was hard to choose which toys to share but here are 9 highlights…


1971 – Hair Flair with Child-size Wigs and Falls

“Pick a pretty look for play.” Oh so stylish. You too could look like a mini Carol Brady.

Gift Grapevine retro toys - girls wigs


1971 – Mystery Date board game

Long before Tinder, there was Mystery Date. “Just for girls…try to assemble a groovy dating outfit for the mystery man behind the door. Four possible outcomes, 4 possible dates, but be careful… one man’s a drag.” It doesn’t specify whether he stole one of the outfits or he was just boring.

Gift Grapevine retro toys - Mystery Date board game


1974 – Miss America Costume

“Walk down the ramp in your long, white rayon gown and accept your full-length vinyl cape.” Because every little girl dreamt of a future wearing a vinyl cape.

Gift Grapevine retro toys - Miss America costume


1977 – Frosty Sno-Cone Machine

Oh how I wanted one of these as a kid! I think it was the super cute penguin plastic syrup bottle that sold it for me.

Gift Grapevine retro toys - Frosty snow cones


1980 – Little Professor

I featured this toy as a question on my Way Back Wednesday weekly post on Facebook last year and people went nuts – seemed like everyone owned one of these little maths calculators in the 80s!

Gift Grapevine retro toys - Little Professor


1983 – Barbie loves McDonalds

“Looks just like the real McDonalds!” Obvious product placement at its best. Ken goes all country and takes Barbie on a hot date to McDonalds. They’re still dating today but I’m assuming this is a period of their life they don’t talk about anymore. Or one that Barbie only brings up during arguments.

Gift Grapevine retro toys - Barbie and Ken at McDonalds


1984 – Cabbage Patch Koosas

What are these?! I was too obsessed with my own Cabbage Patch Kids to even know these existed. “They have dimpled knees and elbows, a belly button and even a tail! Includes collar, identification tag with space for registration papers.”

Gift Grapevine retro toys - Cabbage Patch Kids Koosas


1986 – Jem

Sure, there was Barbie and the Rockers but only Jem was truly outrageous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous.

Gift Grapevine retro toys - Jem


1987 – ALF watch

Yo Willie! This polyester oversized novelty watch was a favourite of Dave from Big Kid Little Kid who shared his gift memory of this watch (and how it made him scratch itch like crazy) last year.

Gift Grapevine retro toys - ALF watch


1989 – Jazzie

Barbie had a teen cousin and her name was Jazzie. “She’s the coolest teenager yet… and she has lots of friends! They wear the latest fun teenage fashions and hang out in the hottest spots.” Supposedly Burger King was a hot spot. Another fine example of product placement and getting them hooked while they’re young.


Gift Grapevine retro toys - Barbie cousin Jazzie


The catalogues had a heavy leaning towards girlie toys with kitchen sets, toy vacuum cleaners and many dolls to take care of. Although the pages of this book are in black and white, I’m guessing at least 70% of the toys were pink. I suppose this was a sign of the times however as I flicked through the pages I was pleased to see bikes, skateboards, chemistry sets and telescopes. And Star Wars. The early 80s featured lots of Star Wars toys!

A very big thank you goes to my generous bloggy friend Hugzilla for feeding my love of retro toys. This book now sits on our coffee table at home and a glance through its pages always makes me smile.

Did you own any of these toys?

What was your favourite toy when you were a kid?

What the hell is a Koosas?


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