The Most Wonderful Time of the Year…for TOYS!
December 22, 2013

The Holidays.

Nothing else compares to this time of year…the amazing array of Christmas lights, the smells of warm cinnamon and pumpkin, the lively spirits and the season of giving … and especially as a child of the 80s, the season of getting.

Of course, the disclaimer – since then, I have certainly learned that it’s much more rewarding to give than to receive, which most of you know from my relentless self-promotion.  But nothing quite compares to toynerd memories of sheer joy from the cornucopia of licensed properties that dotted the landscape during the holiday seasons of the 1980’s, and filled every Christmas list I had at the time

… and, maybe, my current list, too …

It’s hard for me personally to realize that 30 years have passed since the days of the thick, heavy, and glorious Christmas Catalogs produced by Sears and Montgomery Wards.  I remember pouring over the pages for literally hours, strategically circling the items and cross-referencing my Wish List, then visiting the holiday toy displays in places like La Belle’s, K-Mart, and Lionel Playworld in an effort to ensure the correct toys were clearly prioritized by my parents and the images of the specific items were burned into their memory. (You can see lots more of these amazing catalogs here:


1984 G.I.Joe toys from Montgomery Wards Catalog, modified image courtesy of

My local Toys By Roy store at Paradise Valley Mall in Arizona was a frequent stop all year long and generously accepted my father’s credit card; but during the holidays, the store was almost magical.  On either side of the store’s entrance were two large display cases, which often highlighted new arrivals and the hottest toys at the moment. These displays took on a life of their own, and often included intricate dioramas of the latest Star Wars, Masters of the Universe, and G.I. Joe action figures.  Even though I can see them so clearly in my memories, I really wish I’d taken photos of them.  All of these fantastic catalog images are the only remaining reference to some of those amazing efforts.

1984 Star Wars toys from Montgomery Wards Catalog, modified image courtesy of

1984 Star Wars toys from Montgomery Wards Catalog, modified image courtesy of

I still vividly recall the Christmas where I received my first Masters of the Universe figures – He-Man, Skeletor, Trap-Jaw, and Castle Greyskull. Many, many more MOTU would follow over the course of the next few years.  The Christmas I received the Slime Pit was really memorable, as I remember putting nearly every figure I had in that thing over the course of four hours.

And yes, I actually received Eternia for Christmas as well … and I still have it.  And some of the old slime residue is still in the moat.



Christmas mornings filled with G.I.Joe, Transformers, & Super Powers were some of the best.  And of course, the unforgettable Christmas of 1985 and the USS Flagg.  M.A.S.K., MEGO, Voltron, SilverHawks, Visionaries, Sectaurs, Bravestarr, even The Other World figures by Arco … all of these made appearances at my house over the years.  Man … what a spoiled kid. Sheesh.

1985 Transformers toys from Sears Catalog, modified image courtesy of

1985 Transformers toys from Sears Catalog, modified image courtesy of

So anyway … I would love to read some of your own Christmas toynerd memories, and see your vintage holiday toy photos, so post ’em in the comments section below.  I’ll dig up some of my own and post them as well.

And of course, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!

Ryan "TheSuperfly" Prast
Current designer, future artist, eternal manchild, Ryan "The Superfly" Prast uses his toynerd acumen to delve deep into the profound nuances of life. With a penchant for tiny plastic men and nostalgia of times past, he also enjoys panelology, obscure cultural references, tomfoolery and/or shenanigans, conspiracy theories, and watching his Cubs flush another season down the toilet. And he always keeps his fork when there’s pie.
Read other articles by Ryan "TheSuperfly" Prast.





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