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Our Favorite Childhood Toys

Our Favorite Childhood Toys

The holidays are a time when most of us do a lot of reminiscing and think about family traditions or what we associate with certain days of the year. For many of us, we are immediately reminded of our childhood when a certain toy is mentioned. It brings you back to the countless days and hours you spent playing with that toy and how much joy it brought you, even if for a brief period of time.

In light of our fourth annual Room In Your Heart toy donation campaign from The Lenox Hotel, we asked some of our Lenox staff members to share their favorite childhood toy memories. As the season goes on, we will keep adding more and we hope this will inspire you to come down to The Lenox and donate an item or two to the Wonderfund!


Mara Payne


You know that question that gets asked: what would you grab if you had 10 seconds to leave your house in a fire? Call my answer silly, but I’d grab Dede. Dede was a baby doll that I got as a gift from my Mom & Dad after a trip to the hospital to cheer me up – and cheer me up she did!! It was love at first sight and I brought her with me, quite literally, EVERYWHERE. Grocery store run? Dede’s coming. Camping Trip? We aren’t leaving without her. Beach day? I’d pretend to put a pair of sunglasses on her head and off we went.

One day, Dede went missing and as you can imagine, I was inconsolable. My dad was away at the time, but a few days later when he got home, and to my absolute delight, returned with a new Dede doll for me. While I was always a bit upset that my original one was lost, I made it a mission to love this one even more. Along the way she has been around for every fun adventure, lost most of her filling, was replicated onto my birthday cake in frosting, got her own Instagram page, and even got a leg chewed off by our family dog… (cue another round of inconsolable-ness). Needless to say, Dede is my absolute favorite childhood toy, and she is even still around today, albeit very fragile now. (And yes, I might even still bring her home with me when I go to visit my parents). She was my comfort & best pal for as long as I can remember & if you ask most people in my life what would I grab if I had 10 seconds, I bet they would say Dede, too.

Joanna Chan


One of my favorite toys growing up were yo-yos! All the kids had them at school and & I was obsessed. I remember getting a yo-yo with “brains”, carrying it around in my pocket everywhere I went, doing all the tricks. I could do the elevator trick, walk the dog, go around the world, rock the baby… all of them.  I’m pretty sure I went through 4 or 5 yo-yos during this toy phase – a glow in the dark one, a red and blue light up one, a purple clear one. What a time!

Lorna McHale

My favorite toy growing up were my roller skates!  I remember the Christmas Santa brought them for me.  My mom had me in a tizzy because she had heard Santa on the radio asking for my shoe size.  I was so worried he wouldn’t get it right, so I left multiple shoes under the tree for his reference!

My best friend Sarah got a pair that same year, and I remember pretty much living in our skates every day after that!  Luckily growing up in Ireland meant it was super rare to get snow, so we could skate whenever we wanted!

Melissa Villalobos


My favorite toy as a child was a little monkey called Monchhichi. She was a little monkey that came everywhere with me. I got her on my 4th birthday and she became my best friend. I would not go anywhere without her. I mean, it was bad; car rides with no seatbelt on, dinner table every night, bathroom. I even once tried to bring in the bathtub with me. She was my best friend for years. One day she was gone, I don’t know what exactly happened to her, but my parents bought more toys, so I eventually forgot about her. Fast forward 20 years, my brother got me the same doll for Christmas as one of my gifts, since he thought it would be funny. I, on the other hand, cried. Every day I make my bed and she lays there until I get home.

I know she is an ugly doll, don’t judge!

Gerry VonDohlen

My brother and I as kids had many the royal battle with the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. Nothing develops that brotherly bond like knocking each other’s block off.

Christopher Smith


My favorite present wasn’t actually a gift, but a gift my brother, Brian got. Although Santa was running a few days late, when Playstation 2 came out, Brian was extremely lucky to receive it as a Christmas gift. But there was a problem. Our TV was too old to work with the Playstation and we needed an adapter. Or we lost power the day it arrived and couldn’t play. Or our heat stopped working and we needed to leave our house. Clearly, I don’t remember exactly what happened, but I remember we couldn’t play with it right away. However, that afternoon my parents drove us over to our grandparents’ house (they had left for a Florida vacation right after Christmas) and the two of us brought along the Playstation and NHL 2001, the game that came bundled with it. Brian and I hooked it up to their TV and played together for hours despite not really being hockey fans. I’ll never forget that Christmas, not for the actual gift, but for the time we spent together.

Shay Collins

Growing up we were a pretty big hockey family. My two older brothers played and of course I had to do everything they did, so at a young age I ditched the figure skates for hockey skates. Winters were mainly spent in our driveway playing hockey; I was typically forced by my brothers to play goalie so they could practice their slap shot with a frozen tennis ball. In an effort to find something I could beat them at, I asked for a table top hockey for Christmas one year. Our games got pretty competitive and usually ended in fights, but hey at least it gave me a break from saving frozen tennis balls in 20-degree weather.

Here is a bonus picture of me playing hockey with my dad!

Brendan Griffin


When I was a kid, any time I got a good report card or if there was a special occasion, it meant I got to pick out a new matchbox car. At the time, I thought life didn’t really get any better than that. I also had a large mat with a city map on it that you could use the cars on – I would spend hours playing with them. I now realize that life does get better – I get to watch all three of my nephews use the same cars and mat that I played with when I was a kid. My mom saved them all and whenever my nephews are at my parents’ house they do exactly the same thing I used to do. It’s a very cool thing to see that, despite all the technology, these toys are still relevant and loved.

Alison Majka

I asked my Mom what my favorite toy was as a child and she told me it was our family cat, Booster. I guess I would carry him around the house on my shoulders and occasionally dress him up. The funniest part is that I had a lisp so I would chase him around the house yelling “Booothhherrrrrr”. Booster showed up on our doorstep on a freezing cold winter’s night in January, and he was starving with no tags so we had to take him in! My mom, sister and one of my brothers were allergic to cats so I had to BEG my family to keep him. At first, he slept by the heater in the basement and then within days, everyone fell in love with him and he was part of our family for 10 years!

Dan Donahue

Every Saturday, I would go to a beer distributor in Pennsylvania to sweep the floor when I was a kid. Well, the Saturday before Christmas, I was there with about 3 or 4 guys, plus my father. They told me I couldn’t go into the cooler that day because there was a big gas leak. Turns out, my parents bought me a Schwinn Bike for Christmas that year and they hid it in that room in the beer distributor so I wouldn’t find out. I didn’t even know that happened until 5 years later!

Lisa Burns

Back in the early 70’s (yikes!) all the rage were Crissy and Velvet dolls – and it was number one on my Christmas wish list. These dolls had the ability to “grow” their hair from a spout on the top of their head, weird, I know but oh so cool! I received my Velvet doll in 1971 and I swear she never left my side, as you can see at my brother’s birthday celebration. The following year, I asked for her “friend” Mia, who had long dark hair. She didn’t last very long after my babysitter poured baby oil in her “spout” to loosen some tangles! Ha! Merry Christmas!

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