Cabbage Patch toy remains on wish lists 30 years later

Remember the Christmas toy that parents lined up to buy three decades ago? Cabbage Patch Kids are still expected to be under some trees this Christmas.

Classic toys like dolls have staying power, says Calgary toy store manager

Watch a video showing the 1983 Cabbage Patch mania

8 years ago
There were long Christmas lines for Cabbage Patch dolls in 1983. 0:55

Remember the Christmas gift that people lined up outside toy stores to buy 30 years ago?

Calgary teacher Camille Haggar recalls longing for a Cabbage Patch Kid in 1983. She lined up outside a toy store with her Nana to get it.

“It was literally a stampede to this pyramid of Cabbage Patch dolls and you had no time to even pick the one you wanted. It was just grab one,” she said.

Haggar was part of the North American rush for the Cabbage Patch Kids. Parents waited for hours, trampling each other to get their hands on one.

Lynne Ricker, a marketing professor at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, says it was a classic case of basic marketing. 

“Supply can't keep up with demand. That tends to just make people just want it … more,” she said.

Cabbage Patch Kids are seeing a resurgence this year. The Discovery Hut’s manager Matthew Beeson says it's the basic toys like dolls, blocks and Lego that have longevity.

“Bells and whistles, that sort of thing, those all come and go. But the toy itself — a toy truck, a toy car. They're never, ever going to be not fun to play with," he said.

“The reason you can still pick up a Cabbage Patch Kid is because it's a darn good toy. It's a doll, it's cute. We will never stop selling dolls.”

The staying power of the Cabbage Patch may also be due to parents who once played with the toy wanting one for their kids. And unlike 30 years ago, they can find a Cabbage Patch doll just about anywhere.