Nostalgia Looms Large in 2020’s High-Profile Holiday Toys

Everything old is new again — literally, in this case

Hot Wheels
Extreme collector Bruce Pascal received his first Hot Wheels car at the age of seven and has been collecting ever since.
Logan Werlinger/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

What are the hot holiday toys for 2020 going to look like? Based on a new report in The Washington Post, it seems very likely that the kids of today may well be getting the same kinds of toys their parents did when they were kids. Has the pandemic ushered in a new wave of toy-related nostalgia, or is something else responsible?

Exploring this phenomenon for the Post is Abha Bhattarai, who notes that “Barbies, Hot Wheels and Legos are big sellers” for this year. Relative to last year, sales of the Tonka Mighty Dump Truck are up 250%. They’re not the flashiest of toys, but it turns out that many of them have endured for a reason.

Jay Foreman, the chief executive of toy company Basic Fun, argued that family members are looking back to their own childhoods when they seek our toys for their children or grandchildren. “Parents and grandparents are not watching Nickelodeon or YouTube to see what’s new,” he said. “They’re buying toys they know: Barbie Dreamhouse, Tonka Mighty Dump Trucks.”

But that’s not the only way that the pandemic has played a part in this shift in toy-buying habits. Bhattarai notes that many of these classic toys encourage “open-ended play” — something which may be vitally important to a parent supervising their child while simultaneously working from home.

Classic toys aren’t the only long-running products that have seen an upswing lately: the article also points to Monopoly and Jenga as games that have seen an increase in sales this year. Maybe it’s as true for toys as it is for other things — the classics never go out of style.

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