Turn Toys from the Past into Jobs of the Future

Every holiday season, it seems there’s a new toy, game or device that has parents making a mad dash to the mall. While some of those holiday favorites live on for years, others fall by the wayside. For 84 years, Goodwill Industries of the Valleys has been here to turn the once-loved items in your basement or garage into job training and employment services for the New River, Roanoke, and Shenandoah Valleys.

Do you have memories of these sought-after holiday toys of the past?

51nlDAjTPaL._SY300_Beanie Babies (1995): Were you one of the many who collected Beanie Babies in the mid-90s?  Do you remember searching for the speckled cat or the new bear with the silver tag?  All the craze, they are still sold today, however the Beanie Baby fever seems to have cooled down.

elmo-originalTickle Me Elmo (1996): Do you remember standing in line, hoping and praying that you would get a Tickle Me Elmo so your child wouldn’t be heartbroken on Christmas? Can you believe there were actual store stampedes due to a publicized limited supply? Tickle Me Elmo is still around but the stampedes are a thing of the past!

Holiday Donation Tip: This year you can make another child’s holiday season brighter when you donate stuffed toys that are no longer “loved” in your home. Find your nearest donation site here.

37485-Tamagotchi-Pink-Heart_R1.pngTamagotchi (1997): These small digital pets required around-the-clock care and feeding and kids couldn’t get enough of them.  Tamagotchi devices have experienced a recent comeback with apps that are a hit on smartphones.

Furby (1998), Zhu Zhu Pets (2009), and Squinkies (2010): 


Kids seemed to love taking care of and feeding their toy pets. Furby, Zhu Zhu Pets and Squinkies took advantage of the craze. Furby has now come into the digital age with smartphone-connected editions. Did you drive your parents crazy with one of these demanding little creatures?

spark_blRazor Scooters (2000): If you grew up in the early 2000’s you probably wanted to be the first kid on the block to have a Razor Scooter. Today they’re still going strong with versions for adults and even motorized models!


Holiday Donation Tip: Donations of scooters, bikes, and skateboards are always welcome at Goodwill Industries of the Valleys. These donations provide employment opportunities for those who benefit from your generous Goodwill donations.

Passion4FashionGroupBratz Dolls (2001): With their trendy clothes and pop-culture vibe, Bratz Dolls were predicted to be the first true rival of Barbie. Their popularity continues to increase today, outselling Barbie in some parts of the world.


621px-Xbox_consoleXbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo (2005-2006): – Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo stepped up their game consoles with new advances like HD graphics and wireless controllers. Millions of kids, teens and adults alike are hooked on gaming, and the trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.

Holiday Donation Tip: Goodwill Industries of the Valleys accepts donations of gaming consoles, handhelds, and video games. Visit our website to learn how your donations impact our community.

If any of these once-popular toys are cluttering your home, consider making a donation to Goodwill Industries of the Valleys this holiday season.

Have your kids try the Donation Match Game, a fun way to learn about which items are best for donation versus recycling. By donating, you can give toys a second life, safely re-home outdated electronics, and become a job creator in our community. And don’t forget to browse Goodwill for your holiday gifts.

Each time you donate and shop at Goodwill Industries of the Valleys you help support programs that provide employment assistance to those in need — including youth, adults, and seniors in our community with disabilities, disadvantages, and those that need assistance getting back to work or gaining greater independence. It’s good for you and good for our community.

Visit our website to learn more.

What popular toy of the past 20 years will you be donating this holiday season?


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