Argos reveals the Top Ten Gifts that Got Away in nationwide poll of the presents adults still miss

Nintendo’s Game Boy, Mr Frosty, and the iconic Furby have all made it into the top ten gifts that the hearts of British adults still ache over not receiving at Christmas when they were children, a nationwide poll from Argos has revealed.

Billed as a Top Ten Gifts that Got Away, Argos has dredged up the childhood memories of adults now in their 30s and 40s to find out the definitive listing of the presents that Brits were sad to miss out on as children, as well as discover some of the gifts that they really would rather not have received.

The research has been carried out by the retailer as it is revealed that four in ten adults say they have been purchasing nostalgic items throughout the pandemic, with two in five saying that it has brought them a sense of comfort.

Nintendo’s Game Boy topped the list of longed-for gifts, while Mr Frosty and Sega Mega Drive come in at a close second and third. Those now in their 40s were most likely to have put Mr Frosty on their Christmas list, while those over 50 desperately wanted a Walkman.

Top 10 Gifts That Got Away

  1. Game Boy
  2. Mr Frosty
  3. SEGA Mega Drive
  4. Lava lamp
  5. Walkman
  6. Barbie Dream House
  7. Rubik’s Cube
  8. Karaoke Machine
  9. Twister
  10. Furby

According to Argos, among these gifts that adults missed out on as children, overall respondents would most still like to receive a lava lamp but those now in their 30s and 40s still really want to try out the Sega Mega Drive to re-live their childhood gaming dreams.

Respondents also shared the worst gifts they received instead of what they truly wanted, with people being given a crocheted waistcoat, a geography encyclopedia and even half-eaten chocolate instead. Perhaps in the hopes of getting better gifts than this, a third (30 per cent) of adults still opt to write a Christmas list.

The list of the gifts that got away comes as searches for ‘retro’ on the Argos website increased by 110 per cent in November compared to the previous month as the nation entered a second lockdown. Meanwhile in the same period, Sega Mega Drive, Mr Frosty and Stretch Armstrong have seen huge upticks in page visits of 324 per cent, 241 per cent and 258 per cent respectively.

The new research found that two fifths (38 per cent) have been buying nostalgic items over the course of the pandemic, with two in five (43 per cent) saying it brought them a sense of comfort and 30 per cent wanting some escapism from what’s been a very difficult year.

The data also showed that 70 per cent miss how magical Christmas was as a child and two thirds (67 per cent) think it becomes less exciting as you get older, with half (49 per cent) even admitting they think it’s unfair that adults miss out on the magic of Christmas. 44 per cent also wish they still believed in Santa Claus.

Rob Quartermain, senior campaign manager for Argos, said: “After a long and difficult year, people need some Christmas magic more than ever. We want to bring some joy to the last weeks of 2020 by surprising people with the gift they always wanted as a child but never received. The memories of not receiving that Barbie, board game or console lingers on decades later, so we hope the nostalgic gifts will sprinkle some magic to their festive season.”

Those still pining for the gifts that never made it under their tree can find a selection of the most popular presents from Argos at, complete with the original catalogue images for a welcome blast from the past.

To spread some much-needed Christmas magic in the run up to the big day, nostalgic Brits can comment on Argos’s dedicated competition Twitter post from today with the item from The Gift That Got Away website that they most wanted, along with #ArgosChristmasMagic, and the Argos delivery elves will surprise lucky winners with a delivery of their longed-for gift.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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