Christmas Day Throwback: When Your Kid Asks for a Toy Made in 1984… and it’s 2012 (AKA I Hope Santa Shops on Ebay)

I had high hopes of posting this one yesterday for Throwback Thursday.  But as is all too often the case, the day got way ahead of me and the post never happened.  Until now.  So here is my Throwback Thursday post, on Friday.

The year was 1984.  Big hair, larger-than-life video cameras and He-Man were all the rage.  I was a young little sprout at the ripe age of 4 and this was my one and only year in nursery school.  As you will see in the poor quality, ripped-from-VHS film clip below, Santa Claus made a special visit to our class that year.  And in this 1 minute and 39 second video, you are going to be able to observe several things:

The fact that Santa nearly forgets to call ME up to sit on his lap.  That’s a traumatic happening when you’re 4.  If my mom hadn’t been at school that day, recording this movie on our larger-than-life camcorder and whispered to the teacher, Santa would have up and left without hearing my innermost desires for Christmas gifts that year.  Pity.

A girl who defines hyperactivity and among other things, announces to Santa (and the entire room) that while her dad has plenty of ties, what he really needs are PANTS.

A little boy who proclaims to everyone that HIS MOM BRING HIS PRESENTS. Fortunately Santa takes the outburst in stride and the rest of us kids are too hopped up on candy canes and holiday cheer to pay him much mind.

Here I am, sitting on Santa’s lap, asking him for the most important items on my list that year.

So the 3 things that I asked Santa for that year were: Care Bears, Rainbow Brite and Starlight. These toys were all super popular in 1984 and I’m sure they topped many many MANY other kids’ lists that year.

care bears heart house rainbow brite and starlight

I did indeed receive the coveted Rainbow Brite and horse Starlight dolls under the tree that year.  I remember how excited I was to open them and these toys saw many many hours of play over the years that followed.

Let’s fast forward to quite a few years later.  Let’s say 2011.

Lily was 3 and was loving some of the same shows/movies that I used to watch on streaming Netflix.  At that time, one of the original Rainbow Brite movies was available and Lily watched it all. the. time.  She fell in love with the movie and, more importantly, with Rainbow Brite.

rainbow brite 1984

The problem with falling in love with Rainbow Brite in 2011 is that you’re about 30 years late to the party.  Unfortunately Rainbow Brite has not (at least not yet) received some of the redesign/rebranding new life that some of the other toys I grew up with are enjoying (Care Bears, My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake to name a few).  My Rainbow Brite toys are long gone thanks to multiple floods and high humidity in our dungeon of a basement where they were packed away.

So what the heck is one to do when at the exact same age as you were, your kid asks Santa for the exact same doll that you had when you were little.  I was going through old pictures and found one of me unwrapping that amazing Rainbow Brite Doll back in ’84.  I thought it would be fun to show the picture to Lily and figured she would get a kick out of it.  Well.  A kick she did – she fell in love with the doll and kept INSISTING that SANTA was magic and would be able to find her this exact same doll.  Oh boy.

Here she is with Santa last year.  Can you hear what she asks for?  Yep.  RAINBOW BRITE.


One quick search of the interwebs proved fruitless, barren, VOID. There were no Rainbow Brites (or specifically not the 1984 Rainbow Brite Doll manufactured by the Hallmark Company) to be had. I started to worry as this was, afterall, the “BIG TICKET ITEM” on her list – the ONE thing that she wanted above all others.

What’s a mom to do?

I turned to Ebay.

And there I actually found several dolls for sale. I had to make a decision – pay more for a mint, never opened, perfect condition doll? Or pay a bit less for a lightly played with doll that still came in her (albeit beat up) box. I went the cheaper route. This was, afterall, still for a 4 year old and I wanted her to be able to play with the doll instead of stare at her through the box window.

The day the doll arrived, I ripped the box open in excitement and grabbed the picture that had inspired this whole ordeal. Oh, she was beautiful. I felt like a kid again as I remembered how much I had loved this little doll.

rainbow brite 7

Christmas morning dawned. Hopeful Rainbow Brite energy buzzed in our house. Lily opened gift after gift, but no doll. Until she finally got to one package that had a letter attached to it.

rainbow brite 8

Shrieks ensued. Paper flew.

rainbow brite 6

rainbow brite 5

rainbow brite 4

Screaming began, “I KNEW SANTA COULD FIND ONE!!!!!!!!”

Bob and I heaved a deep DEEP sigh of relief because we knew the madness had been worth it.

rainbow brite 3

rainbow brite 1

We opened the lovely yellow box and Lily spent the rest of the day hanging onto Rainbow. I even caught her gazing back and forth between the doll and the picture as if she couldn’t believe she had really received it.

rainbow brite 2

That day I was thankful for many things. My family, of course. For a quiet day together and a wonderful dinner feast that night. I was thankful for the magic that Christmas brings and for the chance to see Christmas through the eyes of a child. I was also thankful for a website wonderland full of vintage toys from yesteryear that might, just might, help even Santa Claus out of a pinch.