BOOKS and MORE… My 1980s Most Loved Christmas Gifts



My Top 3 1980’s Christmas gifts…


3 of my most memorable Christmas gifts I got from Santa in the 1980s.



My latest assignment from ’80s Reboot Drive’s Dave is to write about my Top 3 Christmas Gifts – be they most wanted, most loved or given. This is another of our joint blog and podcast collaborations with the newly formed ’80s League. As before I will be adding links to the other’s posts as I get them along with their podcast. Since my last entry, we’ve added the Rediscover the 80s blog and podcast into our little group. So here are those links,

And the podcasts

Today, I’m writing about my Top 3 of my favourite gifts that I loved for Christmas in the 1980s. Most wanted now would inevitably involve Lego and Superhero comics, which I could share with the stepdudes or sell for an amazing sum of money that Darlin Husband could give up work.

I’m not going to go anywhere near the best presents given as feel that’s for the receiver to decide, after all only they’ll know if your present of yet another pair of socks – even if they have the Batman logo on them – are really appreciated. So here are just three of the presents I loved (not that I didn’t love the rest).


Dallas Annuals

Sad I know but those of you who have followed my blog since the beginning will know I’m obsessive about the original series of this prime time American soap. Dallas (1978-91) of course was the soap about the Ewing family and their lives, loves and the oil business. My prized Dallas book of this time was one with character biographies and more.

But before this, I remember getting two annuals before Granddreams who published it (yes, I even remember the publisher!) stopped making them much to my dismay (and probably Santa’s relief). Opening the first annual, I was happy to find there was a full episode by episode synopsis from episode 1 to J.R. Ewing’s shooting in the back of the annual. I read up on all the episodes I missed as had sadly been late in watching the series.

Plus it had the bonus of something to read while The Snowman (1982) was on the TV, a firm favourite of my Grandmothers (and not everyone else’s) and only having one TV (until my Gran brought her own). Not surprisingly my first request when buying a DVD player years later was for the first and second series of the show. Which my littlest sister – and fellow Dallas fan – bought for me. Then I caught up and bought up the whole goddamn series.

Catching up with Dallas years later also meant enjoying an episode where Bobby and Pam end up in the local disco and dance to the catchy beat of the theme tune. As you do. And the inevitable buy up of Dallas memorabilia on a certain auction site.


Split Second Hand Held Electronic Game

OK, this 1980 released hand-held electronic game console was pretty basic in relation to what we have now, but it was amazing at the time. My mum would probably agree as it kept me quiet for hours until the usual “She won’t give me a go” sibling upset. There were 8 games you could play with 3 of these being advanced games.

The timed games – to the split second – which sounded much more fun than the reality – were Mad Maze, Space Attack, Auto Cross, Stomp, Speedball.  Bearing in mind, the icons used were a combination of full stop and dashes, it was pretty inventive and addictive. I desperately tried to get under 10.0 in the games beating my quickest time.

All the games had then natty red LED lights in games included where you navigated mazes (Mad Maze), enclosed a dot with a line of dashes (Speedball) or blew up a dot with a space invader type icon (Space Attack) using a wee keypad direction buttons. At times “they didn’t work” leading to the general frustration.

It also had rather groovy sound effects including an annoying natty starting tune and a fab car engine sound effect (Auto Cross) through the speaker, which much to my parents’ joy could be switched off. I still have to show my retro game-loving stepdude this marvel from the 1980s, but it has to be played rather than be seen, and I’m sure he’d easily get addicted to getting that elusive split second high score. If he gets a go.


Selection Box

Usually, Christmas Day in the early 1980s included getting at least 3 of these. A Selection Box – to those sadly unaware – was a box filled with 1980s chocolate bars. Chocolate Bars included were those made by a well-known British brand.

In the 1980s, these included Texans (my favourite – surprisingly not due to the Dallas connection), Nutty Bars, Fry’s Chocolate Cream and Walnut Whips. As well as those eaten now including Mars Bars, Marathons (before sadly renamed Snickers – why?), Crunchies and Opal Fruits (now Starburst – also why?).

The best thing about having two little sisters was you could swap chocolate bars. But for some reason, the Walnut Whip was never successfully swapped no matter how good your argument was. Probably as the Walnut Whip’s only redeeming feature was the walnut stuck on the top of a wee chocolate pyramid filled with sickly chocolate goo.

The chocolate bars were enclosed in a box with usually a “Help Santa Find the Fireplace” type maze on the back of the box. That was, to be honest, something that no kid cared about – and only the occasional adult – as usually ripped in two trying to open the box.

Selection boxes were an inevitable present from a relative who either didn’t know what present to buy. They were of varying sizes, equated with the closeness of the relative to you or their guilt in not finding or remembering that elusive present you’d been banging on about after your birthday. Which they forgot until they saw the thank you letter written in your childish scrawl on a sibling’s mantlepiece.

This was also a firm favourite of Santa’s and one of the presents most likely found then and now. Unless you live in Finland, where they are slowly making an entrance into shops everywhere (yay) which means certain friends and family can save a fortune in postage. Unless of course you or your stepdudes are missing a certain British brand which is more likely.

So please friends with access to British sweetie brands, the ultimate plea from the heart as even a certain well-known British chain is sadly closing its doors in this part of Finland, you know how to make me us a Happy Christmas…



8 thoughts on “BOOKS and MORE… My 1980s Most Loved Christmas Gifts

  1. Gotta say Split Second game sounds very fun and addicting. I don’t remember that one but it is definitely a reminder of Merlin. I can’t say the Dallas Annuals would have been a fave of mine but I am sure if there was A Greatest American Hero Annual (that I would have known about), I would have been all in for that one. Great blog entry as usual and awesome entry as be part of our #80sChristmas entries.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this! I remember Split Second. I didn’t have it myself, but I remember the advertisements for it.
    Being a teenage boy in the ’80s, I never watched Dallas. But, I really want to watch the series now. I loved the new series when it came back. I am so mad that they took it off the air!

    Liked by 1 person

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