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Dolls and trucks and smartphones: Christmas wish lists old and new

This intrepid reporter stalked the halls of Christmas commerce this week, with one question in mind for shoppers of all ages: What was the first toy that you really, really, really wanted for Christmas? For females, the answer was overwhelmingly ...

Furby

This intrepid reporter stalked the halls of Christmas commerce this week, with one question in mind for shoppers of all ages:

What was the first toy that you really, really, really wanted for Christmas?

For females, the answer was overwhelmingly a doll, mostly human dolls but also some four-legged creatures. Apparently, the maternal instinct kicks in around ages 5-7, the time in growing up that is commonly cited as their first memories of present-craving.

For instance, the first remembered present for Emily Carter (age 16, Grand Forks) was a My Little Pony while Ashley Wippler (21, Grand Forks) sought a Furbee, Jennifer Klayson (21, Grand Forks) a Raggedy Ann, Cassie Anderson (27, Grand Forks) a Little Mermaid Barbie and an American Girl, Sandy Johnson (35, Devils Lake) a Cabbage Patch Doll, and Brenda Hodny (58, Grand Forks) a Tiny Tears.

Females weren't alone in seeking dolls, however. The first remembered lobbied-for Christmas gift by Jason Kraft, a 39-year-old from Devils Lake, was a Stretch Armstrong doll. G.I. Joe, a more testosterone-laced action figure, displaced Stretch soon after.

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However, it wasn't long before Kraft's gift craving was an Atari gaming system, which offered Frogger and Centipede. He later graduated to the original Nintendo system, which featured Duck Hunt and the Super Mario Brothers.

The first must-have Christmas present for Danielle Kraft, Jason's wife, was a Cabbage Patch Doll, specifically the Karen doll.

"Karen wore yellow overalls and did a cartwheel in the TV commercials on Saturday mornings, so she was the fun one," Danielle said.

Alas, she received a homemade, knock-off Karen, not the genuine one. "I cried so hard that my mom got me a real one," she said.

The Krafts shake their heads at the difference in children's Christmas lists these days compared to the ones they compiled. Specifically, they cite their 10-year-old daughter's pleas for a smartphone.

"It's not gonna happen," Jason said. "She has a regular cell phone and that's enough."

Other first requests

Other first Christmas toy wishes include the following:

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Doug Schindele, 49, Stephen, Minn: Tonka truck.

Schindele says: "We were farmers and I wanted the big payloader."

Nanci Wong, 53, Grand Forks: She can't remember the brand name, but it was a doll stroller that folded into a car seat, so she could take her doll wherever she went.

Wong says: "I also wanted the Incredible Edibles baking machine, because I needed to feed my doll, too."

Pete Anderson, 65, Hillsboro, N.D.: A Radio Flyer Red Wagon.

Anderson says: "I needed something to carry stuff around, like the rocks I collected. I tied the wagon behind my bike and used it like a trailer."

Krista Briske, 19, Grand Forks: A drum set.

Briske says: "It wasn't a real drum set, but it worked. Since then, I've moved up to the violin."

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Michael Hall, 25, Grand Forks: A Red Rider BB gun.

Hall says: "It makes sense because we were a hunting family and I eventually went into the military."

Stephanie Johnson, 30, Manvel, N.D.: Remote-controlled Go-Go Dog Pal.

Johnson says: "I already had a (real) dog, but this one had a pink leash."

Jason Lovejoy, 37, East Grand Forks: A toy tractor.

Lovejoy says: "It's what we grew up with. I took naps in tractors."

Virginia Stainbrook, 79, Crookston: A generic, no-name doll.

Stainbrook says: "I had two brothers and no sisters. I needed a doll."

Missy Karboviak, 48, Lancaster, Minn.: Super Slider Snow Skates

Karboviak says: "The skates strapped on your shoes, acting like little sleds, and I got pulled by a snowmobile. Of course, they worked better on TV than in real life."

Meanwhile Karboviak has some advice for youngsters suffering the wait to see if their wish has been met.

"I remember when I wanted a baton so bad and I snooped in the closet to see if I got it," she said. "It was in there, but it ruined the fun. I never snooped again."

Call Bakken at (701) 780-1125, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1125 or send email to rbakken@gfherald.com .

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