Every Christmas, there’s a mass wave of obsession amongst children over one common thing…something all their friends want, something all the commercials showcase as the must have.
And we’ve all seen the footage…parents who could be running from the plague, running towards that one gift they must grace their child with.
Well, in 1996, that toy was Tickle Me Elmo.
I may have only been 4 years old at the time, but I remember this cute and cuddly, somewhat obnoxious phenomenon.
And so does my colleague and friend, Kellene Stockwell. She remembers the 1996 Christmas craze fondly and shares how getting this toy gave her a badass reputation, but not in the way you might think…
My mother was always young at heart. So much so, she started to love Elmo – some days I swear even more than me – her only child!
So of course I wanted to buy back her love! And what better way than to buy her 1995’s (?) hottest toy – a Tickle Me Elmo. But living in Reno, I knew it would be a challenge! I thought I’d never see him, so I put him on my mental back burner.
A few weeks before Christmas I found myself inside Walmart (Northtowne Lane) looking for something dumb like a toothbrush. I turned the aisle and stopped dead in my tracks. Elmo. Dozens of ticklish red toys!
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Even more amazing?! No one was around me! No fighting, no arguing. Pure joyous silence.
I grabbed one and moved on. A stress free early birthday gift.
She proudly displayed Elmo underneath our family Christmas tree. Right there, amongst other gifts and dog toys.
My 54-year-old mother was so proud of her 20-year-old daughter!
And then it started. Stories. New stories of people physically fighting each other for this little toy. One news report showed a crowd huddled around a window at Cartier’s displaying an Elmo wearing a million dollar diamond necklace. Buy the bling, get the doll.
I distinctly remember turning my head to see the same toy just resting quietly under our tree.
Family members were amazed and shocked I got this thing. I didn’t have the heart to tell them I got him fight-free! I wanted to maintain my badass reputation!
I think it’s hilarious I stumbled upon this ‘hot’ toy. Ultimately I won back my mother’s love!
Until the next year when she challenged me to get that year’s hottest Christmas toy. You can imagine (un)well that went!
Thanks Kellene for sharing your story with Home Means! She also entered this into a New York Times competition. Hopefully they publish it, too!
Also, check out this video from CNN on all the obsessed over toys of Christmases past!