Ghosts of Presents Past: The 2000s

Now that the Christmas season has passed and the gifts have already been received, let’s take a nostalgic look at popular gifts through the years. The 2000’s recently ended, but there are still a lot of trends and changes to look back on.

Neopets or Webkins: Neopets sold millions of toys and themed merchandise by offering kids realistic counterparts to their free online pets. Towards the end of the decade, Webkins emerged as a younger-child’s version of Neopets, with stuffed-animals whose codes lead to their online alter egos.


Bratz dolls: These bigheaded, tiny-bodied dolls were more-fashion conscious then regular Barbie-type dolls. Some of the dolls featured clothes dreamed up by couture designers.


Yu-Gi-Oh: What Pokemon was in the 1990’s, Yu-Gi-Oh was for the next decade. A successful animated series and trading card game, it spawned many different toys and spin-offs, as well as a poorly received 2004 movie.


RoboSapien: When I first saw these dancing, paper-cup lifting toys, I thought they were cute. But after hearing about how they can easily be hacked into doing different things and say “Rosebud…” when you turn them off, I’m much more impressed!


Official Celebrity Dolls: It seemed like every artist with a pop hit got his or her own doll. Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Aaron Carter, Mandy Moore, Sisqo, Hannah Montana, and Taylor Swift, as well as groups like the A*Teens, Dream, the Cheetah Girls, and the casts of High School Musical and Camp Rock all gave Barbie some competition during the decade, with N’Sync releasing their own line of marionettes.


Xbox: Microsoft entered the gaming console business with the Xbox. True fact: Halo 2 is its most successful game, with over 8 million copies sold.


Wii: The Xbox had superior graphics, but Wii’s unique remotes made the console outsell all of its competitors.


The iPod: There were and now are many (and dare I say better) mp3 players on the market, but iPods are the most ubiquitous.


Blu-Ray: “Blu-Ray or HD-DVD?” became the new “VHS or Beta?” question of the decade, but HD-DVDs were quickly discontinued in 2008.


Plasma, LCD, or HDTV sets: I still haven’t learned the difference between these three technologies, but one thing’s for sure: they all certainly look better than the kind with picture tubes inside.