It's so hard to buy a present for kids nowadays.
Everything needs batteries that are sold separately, or some piece of technology to plug into, and even if you manage to find just the right thing, it'll break when you take it out of the box.
If you remember toys that kids could really play with, then you'll get a kick out of these pages from 50s toy catalogs. They're chock full of great memories.
We may not have had PlayStations or computers back then, but we knew how to have fun and use our imagination, and these toys were great for that. Even if you weren't born back then, everyone can appreciate a simpler time when parents bought things their kids really loved to play with, even if they were a little dangerous!
Remember Roy Rogers, that famous TV cowboy who would sing, ride and rope up the bad guys on his trusty horse Trigger? He was at the height of his popularity in the 1950s, and it's easy to tell from all of the toys with his name on them.
Boys would dress up like Roy,
play with toys based off all his fun adventures,
and even wear the special Roy Rogers brand watches. Oh, and make sure to get the Roy Rogers clock for your bedroom too.
Other big cowboy shows had their own toys too, like Wagon Train. Boy, it sure took a long time for them to get to California!
Plus, no cowboy was worth the spurs on his boots unless he had his own bb rifle - one that really fired!
It seems hard to imagine today, when parents are so overprotective of their kids, but air rifles and bb guns used to be a big hit with boys of all ages. Boys would save up their allowance for weeks to buy the famous Red Ryder carbine.
Back then, the whole family got in on the fun.
Parents nowadays would throw a fit if they saw an ad like that! And you can bet they wouldn't put this little beauty under their Christmas tree either...
But there were lots of popular toys back then that kids still love to play with. Fisher Price was a big name in toy making back then and it still is. They were one of the first companies to make toys out of plastic, but most of the fun pieces below are made of wood.
These were designed to last, not break once you opened the box!
Companies were proud of their workmanship back then, and bragged that their toys were built to last, like these play sets.
As nice as these were, nothing compared to waking up on Christmas morning, running downstairs and seeing a brand new red bicycle under the tree.
And remember spring horses? These things would last forever - I know because my family still owns one!
The great thing about growing up back then was kids would still play outside, and when the neighborhood kids got together for a game you had to be ready.
But if you weren't very athletic, the next best thing to playing with your friends was the great sports games you could buy back then.
That baseball stadium game is still impressive today! And who can forget table hockey, a real classic. The fact is there were lots of really fun games to play back then, because of course all the best games are the old ones.
Monopoly, Scrabble, Sorry, remember spending a whole afternoon playing these? Plus there were some great games you can't buy anymore. Uranium Rush looks really cool, and check out those Dragnet and Superman board games!
Or maybe you liked making crafts when you were kids? Those rainy days when we stayed inside and opened a box with a fun activity inside were so memorable. Look closely at this ad for an old favorite....
That's right, it's Mr. Potatohead! He was the first toy to be advertised on TV, maybe you still remember the ad? The original toy didn't come with a potato body, so your parents had to buy one for you. They didn't start making the plastic bodies until the 1960s.
We know boys were obsessed with cowboys and rocket ships, but what did girls play with back then? Well, Barbie wasn't around yet, but little girls have always loved to play with dolls. And these ones knew a few tricks even Barbie hadn't learned, like talking!
And look at all the different dresses you could buy for them!
There were also lots of little toys that let girls play "housekeeper," which doesn't seem that fun, but I guess it's all up to your imagination.
The toy catalogs also included some children's clothing. We know it's been a long time, but looks have really changed in the past 60 years. For one thing, nowadays you definitely shouldn't call children's clothes "saucy."
And not many young boys wear housecoats.
But footie pajamas are still popular!
And the cute "face hats" at the bottom of this ad are due for a comeback!
Finally, the 50s were a time when technology was changing fast, almost too fast for toys to keep up with. The space race blasted off at the end of the decade, and toy makers raced to keep up.
If you loved music, your parents might have bought you a phonograph player for your room. Look closely and you'll see all the classics it could play, like Frosty the Snowman and recordings of your Little Golden Books.
If you wanted to listen to new hit music, you might have begged your parents to shell out a lot of money for a transistor radio. So small it could (barely) fit in your pocket! What an incredible gadget.
Yes, there were lots of nifty experiments in the toy section back then. Some ended up being really memorable, like the View-Master.
Other toys were less successful. I mean honestly, do you remember the Electronic Brain? It apparently knew 400 patterns, but it would be forgotten way sooner than the classic toy trains on this same page.