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What were the must-have gifts for Christmas 1993 in Inverness?


By Val Sweeney

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Youngsters reveal their wish lists for Christmas 1993.
Youngsters reveal their wish lists for Christmas 1993.

It was the year the ever-popular fashion doll Barbie and the coveted adventure figure Action Man were among the best-selling toys in the UK.

It was Christmas 1993 and both were selling at about £10 while another sought-after item, the Talkboy – a hand-held voice recorder – cost about £25.

But for one young Inverness girl called Laura, the must-have present that year was a Junior Cluedo followed by Get Set Needle Arts and a Colour Blaster.

In a selection of children's letters to Santa published by the Inverness Courier, Laura reveals in an orderly no-nonsense list the 10 items she hopes he will deliver – adding an expectant "thank you" afterwards.

Her list also includes a Sonic 2 Mountain Quest, a Magic Copier and the much sought-after Dream Phone – a board game, including an interactive toy phone, for young girls to guess the identity of their secret admirer.

A portrait of Santa created by one young artist.
A portrait of Santa created by one young artist.

Other letters give an insight into the toys and games youngsters hoped to discover in their stockings – or more likely, sacks – on Christmas Day 30 years ago.

Melanie (7), for instance, wanted Polly's Dream World and Puppy Pals while Charlene (8) requested a Junior Pictionary and Bizzy Bizzy Bumbles for herself and a radio-controlled little buggy for her baby brother, Dean, promising in return to leave some Christmas cake for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph.

The Inverness Courier published a selection of letters written by children to Santa.
The Inverness Courier published a selection of letters written by children to Santa.

Glenn (8), meanwhile, asked for a Muppet Christmas Carol Video, a Paul Daniels Magic Set and a sledge, justifying his requests "as I got a very good report at school this term."

Keyboards, a Mr Blobby video and a Batman and Batmobile also appear on various youngsters' lists as well as a Sega Mega Drive which if Santa needed to stock up on supplies was available at Tandy's in the Eastgate Centre for £129.99 and also included an Aladdin Pack.

Christmas ad for Tandy 1993.
Christmas ad for Tandy 1993.

As well as the latest crazes, traditional toys and gifts such as a prams, colouring books, cars, a farm and animals and books continued to appeal to many.

Melven's Bookshop in Union Street had a choice of thousands for those looking something for literary lovers, according to its advert.

They included Magnus the Orkney Cat by Marion Campbell, Children's Illustrated Encyclopedia (revised and updated by Dorling Kindersley) and The World of The Celts by Simon James.

Old Xmas Courier adverts.
Old Xmas Courier adverts.

With younger ones sorted, what about Christmas gifts for adults?

Those looking for a gift for music fans could always take inspiration from the Inverness Courier's Hector Mackenzie in his round-up of new pop albums.

They included Elton John's Duets, Rick's Road by Texas and the rush-released compilation, Best of The Village People.

Pentangle was the place to find quirky gifts.
Pentangle was the place to find quirky gifts.

Popular but now long-gone Pentangle in Baron Taylor's Street was known as "the only place you needed to complete all your Christmas shopping".

Packed full of fun knick-knacks, playful and original gifts, it had plenty of suggestions including "bewilderment" of puzzles, rubber stampers and wooden figures and ornaments".

And if you couldn't quite find anything within that range, there was always the fall back option of a talking parrot, a musical rocking chair Santa figure or a lava lamp in bubbly colours.

Your More Store in Academy Street had bargains galore starting at 99p for a ladies' toiletry gift set although the men's toiletry gift sets seemingly offered more at a price of £3.89.

Your More Store was the place to bag a bargain.
Your More Store was the place to bag a bargain.

But those with the cash to be more extravagant could always treat the special person in their lives to a tour of the Moray Firth, Black Isle and Inverness with Black Isle Helicopters for £50.

In between Christmas shopping, a trip to the panto was a festive treat for many.

Cinderella was showing at Eden Court in Inverness.
Cinderella was showing at Eden Court in Inverness.

Eden Court's offering was Cinderella starring Una McLean, Russell Hunter and Jonathan Watson.

For those who favoured the big screen, La Scala was showing Walt Disney's Aladdin, an animated musical fantasy comedy film based on the Arabic folk tale from One Thousand and One Nights – and released in November 1992 just in time for Christmas.

The newly-released film, Aladdin, was showing at La Scala.
The newly-released film, Aladdin, was showing at La Scala.

Finally, when all the presents had been opened, party-goers could always strut their stuff in their new sparkly outfits at Babarouskies in Inverness which staged a Christmas night disco with an admission price of £3.

And those wanting to continue the festivities further, could enjoy local band Scooty and The Sky-Hooks on Boxing Day and December 27 before hitting the sales.


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