In the early 1980s, a seemingly innocent toy craze took the world by storm, causing chaos and unexpected violence in what became known as the Cabbage Patch Riots of 1983.

The coveted items at the center of this frenzy were the Cabbage Patch Kids, a line of dolls that captured the hearts and imaginations of children and adults alike. What began as a simple holiday shopping craze escalated into a series of disturbing events that left an indelible mark on the holiday season of 1983.

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The Cabbage Patch Phenomenon:

Created by artist Xavier Roberts, Cabbage Patch Kids were unique dolls with distinct personalities and whimsical features. Each doll came with its own adoption certificate, adding a sense of personal connection for the child lucky enough to possess one. As the holiday season approached in 1983, the demand for these dolls reached unprecedented levels, turning them into a must-have item for children across the United States.

The Build-Up:

As the holiday shopping season kicked into high gear, parents and guardians frantically sought to secure a Cabbage Patch Kid for their eager children. Retailers struggled to keep up with the overwhelming demand, leading to a scarcity of the beloved dolls. This scarcity, combined with the fervor surrounding the Cabbage Patch Kids, created a perfect storm that would soon erupt into chaos.

The Black Friday Frenzy:

Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, turned into a battlefield as shoppers vied for the limited supply of Cabbage Patch Kids. Stores across the country witnessed unprecedented scenes of aggression and desperation as parents pushed and shoved their way through crowded aisles in a desperate attempt to secure one of these elusive dolls.

Retailers, unprepared for the intensity of the demand, found themselves overwhelmed by the sheer number of customers. Fights broke out, and store security struggled to maintain order as the Cabbage Patch Kids became a symbol of holiday frustration and consumer madness.

The Riots:

In several cities, the chaos escalated beyond mere scuffles. Reports of stampedes, property damage, and physical altercations flooded the news. Some customers resorted to extreme measures, camping out in front of stores for days to ensure they were first in line when new shipments arrived.

One infamous incident occurred at a toy store in Minneapolis, where a shipment of Cabbage Patch Kids led to a full-blown riot. Shattered glass, trampled displays, and frantic parents were common sights as the desire for these dolls reached unprecedented levels of hysteria.

The Aftermath:

As the holiday season came to a close, so did the Cabbage Patch Riots. The dolls remained highly sought after, but the intensity of the craze gradually subsided. Retailers and manufacturers learned valuable lessons about managing demand and ensuring sufficient supply in the face of such fervent consumer interest.

The Cabbage Patch Riots of 1983 left an indelible mark on the history of holiday shopping, and the events of that fateful holiday season continue to be a reminder of the fine line between holiday cheer and chaos in the quest for the perfect gift.

Fortunately, we members of the Family Tree understand that the holidays are about lifting spirits and spreading joy, not arguing with one another over the last toy at the mall. And, we always know that the gift will be perfect because we get to grant ACTUAL WISHES.

There really is no better feeling than knowing that you helped someone get exactly what they wanted or needed during the holidays. And there's still time to experience that feeling!

Head over to our Holiday Wish Drive page to learn more about how we grant wishes and how you can help!