Gift nostalgia: 10 top 1997 holiday toys and their 2017 equivalents



Michelle Stein

posted in Products

As a millennial parent, it’s interesting to see popular toys from the 90s making a comeback. From the Tamagotchi, to a special edition of the Super Nintendo system, to a new and improved Furby, seeing modernized versions of my childhood favorites hits me directly in the nostalgia (which I’m guessing is exactly what manufacturers are counting on). This holiday season is no exception.

For parents looking to bond with children over favorites of decades past, here’s a look at 10 top holiday toys from 1997, alongside similar (but decidedly improved) products that are available today. Come. Take a walk down memory lane with me.

1. 1997: Barbie Sun Jammer. OMG, I always wanted one of these as a little kid. But my parents, apparently, couldn’t justify the cost. (And I can’t say I blame them.) I did have a friend who owned one; so I got to live out my Barbie Jeep dreams at her house. The battery never lasted very long, anyway.

2017: Power Wheels Barbie Cadillac Escalade. Whoa, Barbie has really upgraded in the past 20 years. Bonus: This one has an mp3 jack, a working radio and a parental control setting. So shiny. And expensive.

Image via Toys R Us

2. 1997: Tickle Me Elmo. It’s 20 years later, and I can still remember that laugh. This cackling toy was sold out everywhere during the 1996 holiday shopping season. But it was still hugely popular by the time 1997 rolled around.

2017: Tickle Me Elmo, still! That’s right, one of the most popular toys of the 90s has been redesigned for today’s generation.

Image via Amazon

3. 1997: Tamagotchi. Tamagotchi arrived in the U.S. in 1997, igniting a digital pet frenzy that holiday season. Although they were nearly impossible to keep alive for more than a couple of days, these devices were beloved by a whole generation of children.

2017: New Tamagotchi! In observance of the 20th anniversary of the release of Tamagotchi in the U.S., limited quantities of smaller versions of the 90s favorite are now for sale. Not that your kids will really care. But hey, at least parents can relive their childhoods.

4. 1997: Diddy Kong RacingI spent countless hours on my Nintendo 64 trying to beat this blasted game. But alas, I never did. (Mario Kart was way easier.)

Image via Flickr/George Tremoulis

2017: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo Switch). The Nintendo Switch is one of the hottest game systems this holiday season. Which means this latest version of Mario Kart is probably in high demand, as far as racing games are concerned. And I’m guessing the graphics might be just a little better than Diddy Kong Racing.

Image by Nintendo/

5. 1997: Nano Pets. If my memory serves me correctly, I had a Nano Baby and a Nano Puppy. Check out the 1997 commercial, below. Enough said.

2017: The 20th anniversary Tamagotchi is still probably as close as you can get to these gems.

6. 1997: Playstation. The original Playstation is infinitely crappy by today’s standards. But it was pretty high-tech for its time. In fact, it pretty much kick-started the CD-ROM revolution in the world of gaming.

Image via Flickr/Michel Ngilen

2017: Playstation 4. I don’t even know where to begin, here. Aside from “Playstation,” there really is no comparison.

Image via Amazon

7. 1997: Giga Pets. There was a kitty, baby T-rex, chimp, dog, alien, frog and more. “Don’t forget your Giga Pet!”

 2017: Again, the 20th anniversary Tamagotchi would be your go-to if you really want some old-school, digital-pet-poop-scooping action.

8. 1997: Nintendo 64. This game system was my childhood. Mario Kart, Goldeneye 007, Diddy Kong Racing, Super Smash Bros., Banjo Kazooie, Super Mario 64, Mario Party — all of these were fantastic games that I spent entirely too much time playing.

Images via Flickr/Farley Santos

2017: Nintendo Switch (or the SNES Classic) If you don’t already have either of these game systems in your possession, it might be impossible to snag one by the holidays. They’re sold out everywhere!

Image via Amazon

9. 1997: Goldeneye 007. OMG, this was one of our go-to games every other weekend when my step-siblings would visit their dad at my mom’s house. (Big, blended family bonding time and all.) This first-person shooter game was groundbreaking and immensely popular, even if the graphics/gameplay options were severely limited by today’s standards.

Image via Amazon

2017: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Confession: I know nothing about shooter games of the current generation; so maybe this is a terrible comparison. But I’m guessing this one is hyper-realistic and awesome. (Maybe not so much for the younger kiddos.)

Image by Toys R Us

10. 1997: Beanie Babies. These glorified dust collectors (unless you had those fancy, plastic cases) were so freaking popular. Had I kept my extensive collection, I could very well be a millionaire by now. Or not.

Photo via Flickr/Dominique Godbout

2017: Beanie Boos. or Hatchimals or other ultra-collectible items. The Ty brand lives on today through Beanie Boos and the like — although they’re not nearly as popular as they once were. Hatchimals might compare more to the Beanie Baby craze because kids are currently crazy about everything Hatchimal-related.

Image via Toys R Us

It’s crazy to see how much has changed in 20 years; technology has made leaps and bounds since Tamagotchi were all the rage. And yet, after all these years, much remains the same.

What holiday toys from 1997 do you remember the most?

Featured image via

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The post Gift nostalgia: 10 top 1997 holiday toys and their 2017 equivalents appeared first on BabyCenter Blog.


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