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Remembering When Cabbage Patch Kids Dolls Were Hot Items as Gifts

Some of my niece's cabbage patch kids.

Some of my niece's cabbage patch kids.

Remember When?

Were you around to remember when the Cabbage Patch Kids were the hottest items around at Christmastime as well as other times of the year?

Every kid, especially girls, wanted one or more for Christmas in the early 1980s. For quite some time, these were the most sought-after gift for birthdays, Christmas, and any other suitable gift-giving occasion.

There was an absolute frenzy in the stores when new arrivals were on the shelves. Tug of war fights even broke out among frazzled parents trying to get just that right Cabbage Patch Kid doll for their little one that year.

My niece and almost every one of her friends back in the 1980s became Cabbage Patch collectors of those hot items, and one did not suffice. Oh no! Each one of my niece's little friends would bring armfuls of the custom dolls to each other's houses and play with them. "How many did you get for Christmas this year?" was often heard.

Every parent, aunt, and uncle, grandparent, or other person giving gifts knew without a doubt what was on top of the desired wish list in those days. Fortunately, as the years went by, fights no longer took place in retail stores as the doll supply became more common.

Some of my niece's collection of Cabbage Patch Kids atop some bookshelves in her bedroom back in the 1980s.

Some of my niece's collection of Cabbage Patch Kids atop some bookshelves in her bedroom back in the 1980s.

Marketing Genius

The originators of the Cabbage Patch Kids were not only creative but had sheer marketing genius! Originally called "Little People," the dolls were made of cloth and had distinctive puckered faces on sale in craft shows.

Roger Schlaifer and his wife Susanne got worldwide distributing rights to the dolls and renamed them Cabbage Patch Kids. A story was attached to each one, and it went as follows. A rescue from a cabbage patch took place with each of the kids. Good homes had to be acquired for them just as if they were real kids in that situation.

A birth certificate accompanied each Cabbage Patch Kid, and production was generated in larger volume from "Babyland General Hospital" in Cleveland, Georgia, to accommodate the ever-increasing demand.

Great marketing strategy!

While there have been different manufacturers and ownership of the Cabbage Patch Kids throughout the years, including entities like Coleco, Hasbro, and Mattel, the genius marketing continued and evolved.

Growth of the Line

Not only did my niece and other little girls want the Cabbage Patch dolls, but they also wanted to be able to change their clothes, and thus, a massive line of Cabbage Patch Kids accessories was born. Boy Cabbage Patch Kids came into existence along with girl dolls and baby dolls. My niece even had a Cabbage Patch horse gifted to her by her daddy.

In 1983 before Christmas, these handcrafted dolls made the front cover of Newsweek Magazine. The rush was on to get these specially made dolls for everyone's Christmas list that year!

Amazingly in all this time since those early days, the toymakers have continuously been making Cabbage Patch Kids, although in different mediums and sizes. I did not know when I started this post if they were still popular with youngsters today.

From those first cloth dolls to some made of plastic and even some porcelain ones, these Cabbage Patch Kids continue to entice children into wanting them. Older collectors who might or might not have had them when they were children also collect them for the value that grows over time.

25th Anniversary Celebration

The Test of Time

The fact that the 1992 U.S. Olympic team had the Cabbage Patch Kids as their official mascot did not hurt their popularity! Nor did the fact that a U.S. commemorative stamp issued in 1999 helped to aid publicity. It helped keep these dolls in people's minds and hearts.

Are the Cabbage Patch Kids on your Christmas list this year? These little darlings have provided one of the longest-running successful doll franchises in American history.

While they might not have quite the hype that they did in the heyday of the 1980s, when adults pushed and shoved their way into stores to acquire the latest and most sought after Cabbage Patch Kid, ones you purchase today just might become a hot item for collectors of the future.

Who would have thought that this craze would have lasted this long? They may now be just warm instead of red hot, but they are still around and desired by your little ones or collectors of these iconic dolls.

Song Tells The Story of The Cabbage Patch Kids



This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcome.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 30, 2014:

Hi Patricia,

The Cabbage Patch Kids certainly were a craze for quite a few years. Now there are probably collectors of those vintage dolls. Nice that your daughter and her cousin both got to enjoy that one special doll. Thanksgiving was nice, thanks! Hope yours was as well. Sending angels your way also!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 30, 2014:

O yes I do. We traveled to Cleveland GA to select our very own doll. My daughter was so excited. She cared for it and loved it for many years and then passed it on to a cousin.

What a clever idea that was...the mas produced ones just are not as cute.

Angels are on the way to you, my friend. Hoping your Thanksgiving was wonderful ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 12, 2013:

Hi moonlake,

My niece certainly had her share of the Cabbage Patch Dolls when she was young. As she got older she gave many of them away to a charity thrift shop to be sold. were a Beanie Baby collector! I never went in that direction. What I collected and loved were books. Still have loads of them. Thanks for your comment and vote.

moonlake from America on February 11, 2013:

I have a Cabbage Patch doll. You don't want to know how many Beanie Babies I have!!! Interesting hub voted up.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 14, 2012:

Hello beingwell,

We both learned something new. I did not know that there were Cabbage Patch cartoons. I'll bet that they are cute. Thanks for your comment and the vote up.

beingwell from Bangkok on November 14, 2012:

Voted this up! Your hub reminded me of the Cabbage Patch cartoons that used to show in the Philippines. I always enjoy watching that show. I didn't know that the dolls were such a thing in the US, though. I only knew them as a fun cartoon.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2012:

Hello crissytsu,

Your mom must have fought the crowds to get those Cabbage Patch Kids for you. Nice mom! If you kept them in good shape your collection is undoubtedly worth quite a bit of money right now depending upon which particular dolls you have in your possession. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2012:

Hi Janine,

Nice that your dad had connections with regard to getting some of those first Cabbage Patch Kids dolls. At least he did not have to fight for them as some parents actually did in those crazy days when they became the hottest and most desired items for Christmas and other gift giving purposes. Thanks for your comment, votes and the share.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2012:

Hi Rebecca,

What fun to actually get to visit the place where the Cabbage Patch Kids were born at Baby Land General Hospital! Ha! Will go and take a look at your hub now. Thanks for your comment and the share.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2012:

Hello Sharkye11,

What a shame that you lost your Cabbage Patch Kids...and undoubtedly much else of that house fire years ago. That would be a terrible thing to have happen. Glad that this hub brought back some happy memories for you. The Cabbage Patch twins must have cost a (relative) fortune!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2012:

Hi Mary,

It amazed me also that the Cabbage Patch Kids are still being sold. No surprise that collectors love getting some of the original ones. Thanks for your visit, votes and share.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2012:

Hi Stacy,

The different crazes for such things as Cabbage Patch Kids when they first appear can certainly put a stamp date on memories years later. Ha! Many people seem to have kept them and the old ones have now become collectible. Thanks for your visit and trip down memory lane.

crissytsu from Texas on September 21, 2012:

I asked for a Cabbage Patch Doll every poor mom must have went through hell to make sure I got one every year. I still have all of them too.

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on September 20, 2012:

Wow, you just brought back some great memories. I had the very first Cabbage Patch Kid Dolls and even remember the ad that the local paper ran for them. I actually cut that ad out and gave it to my parents asking them to get me one that Christmas. My dad (from all the stories I have heard over the years) actually had trouble finding them, but had a friend who was a manager at a local Woolworth's, who put a few aside for him and that is how I ended up with more than one. Thanks seriously for making me remember that and have voted and shared too.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on September 20, 2012:

Hi Peggy, I enjoyed this Hub about the Cabbage Patch dolls. I certainly do remember the fights over them back in the 80s. I recently...well, last Christmas got to visit the birth place of this dolls....Baby Land General Hospital in Cleveland Ga. Cleveland is the home of Xavier Roberts. He was a folk artist during the 1970s. He actually created the little people and came up with the idea of Cabbage Patch Kids. Cleveland is located about an hour north of Atlanta. I chronicled my visit to BLGH in a Hub. Go and check it out when you can. I think you will enjoy it! Voting your Hub awesome and shared!

nanderson500 from Seattle, WA on September 20, 2012:

My sister had cabbage patch dolls as a kid. Yep, we were '80s children!

Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on September 20, 2012:

Great hub! I had quite a few Cabbage Patch kids when I was little. Including the twins, which my parents have never let me live down. They have told me many times over the years that buying that set of twins for Christmas was the most dangerous thing they had ever done!

Sadly, all of my dolls burned in a housefire. They still had all the certificates and their correct clothes. I always buy dolls I find at garage and yard sales though, for my my daughter to play with later. I was even looking at the new ones in the store the other day.

This hub brought back great memories!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on September 20, 2012:

I had fun reading this Hub and remembering the Cabbage Patch doll craze. My girls all had to have one. It is amazing that they are still being sold and they are still popular.

I loved this HUB. I voted it UP etc. will share.

Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on September 20, 2012:

Funny - I grabbed this hub to read because of my love for my own cabbage patch dolls. I remember when I got my first one. And I knew it sounded familiar and then I realized it was because I visited again. Either way - great job! Brings back fond memories!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 18, 2012:

Hi christymichelle,

You might try checking sites like Ebay and Amazon which routinely sell the vintage Cabbage Patch Kids to find out how much your doll is worth. Good luck in finding your exact one.

christymichelle on April 18, 2012:

Hey girls I have a red yarn headed cabbage patch doll still in the box, but the birth certificate is gone, but she has a pacifier in her mouth and a white dress with lil flowers on it. Can someone tell me how much she's worth & how old she really is?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 15, 2012:

Hi alocsin,

That must have been something to see...a grown woman fussing over a Cabbage Patch Kids doll as though it were real. Probably a bit strange to witness first-hand. Thanks for your comment.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on April 15, 2012:

I certainly remember the hubbub these caused back in the day. I don't think it was just kids either. I saw a fully grown women take hers out in a stroller on a mall one day, and lifting it and fussing over it like it was a baby. Voting this Up and Interesting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 11, 2012:

Hi KoffeeKlatch Gals,

That was the marketing ploy back have all the little girls wanting their "family" of Cabbage Patch kids dolls. It worked in many cases! Did they keep any of them? Many are now quite collectible and are still being sold. Thanks for your comment and votes.

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on March 11, 2012:

Peggy, you have brought back some great memories. IAll three of my girls wanted the cabbage Patch Kids. When they first came out I went crazy trying to get each one a doll of their own. I can remember going into New York and paying *0 something dollars for a bald one. It was all woth it. My girls spent hours playing with them. Of course, one was not enough. They all had to have their own little family. Up, interesting and awesome.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 16, 2012:

Hi DzyMsLizzy,

Sounds like you had a house full of the Cabbage Patch dolls for a while there...and even sewed for them! I'll bet that the clothes were a hit in the craft fairs! Thanks for sharing what they meant to you...and still do to the one daughter of yours that has kept them over the years.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 16, 2012:

Hello ThePracticalMommy,

Nice to know that you got your share of the Cabbage Patch dolls when they were such hot items and that you are now able to pass them on to your daughter and even get a new one for her. Thanks for your comment and for sharing this with others.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 16, 2012:

Hi barbergirl28,

So glad that this hub about the Cabbage Patch kids brought back so many memories for you. Thanks for your comment and sharing of this hub with others.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on February 16, 2012:

My daughters collected these when they were in high school, well past the "playing with dolls" stage of life. If I tried to tease them by "playing" with a doll, I would get scolded, "Those are not toys! They are collector's items!"

I had told them at the time that their "cabbage collection" (they had 14 dolls between them) were enough grandchildren for me. --They of course did not listen, and both married and had kids of their own. LOL

The eldest recently got tired of them, and sold them. The younger daughter still has hers.

I had a single doll that I used as a model for the "cabbage" doll clothes I made to sell at craft fairs for a while. She wore a prominent sign around her neck stating that she was not for sale. She is now in the permanent custody of daughter #2. ;-)

Marissa from United States on February 16, 2012:

Great hub! My husband's uncle was one of those people who fought his way through the crowds to get a few of the Cabbage Patch dolls during the crazy years and ended up on the front cover of a newspaper for it! I had quite a few of them, being a child of the 80s. I still remember my first one. He was a preemie named Hugo Ryan and was dressed in a little sailor outfit. He's the only one I don't still have from my collection.

Now that I have a daughter, I brought out all of my dolls to share with her, plus I gave her one of her own for her birthday. The dolls aren't what they used to be, but they bring back so many good memories nonetheless. :)

Voted up and sharing!

Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on February 16, 2012:

I remember Cabbage Patch Kids... they were my favorite. Sadly, I didn't have too many because I also remember how expensive they were. I think if I look through my old toys that have been passed down to my kids, I could probably find one of my old ones. I have also purchased new ones for my kids. Ultimately, I think these are the ultimate gift. After all, these dolls are not only fun, but they are durable and built to last. With the added story each doll has, these are unique and definately a treasure. I always try to find one that has a birthday that matches whoever I am getting them for! Thanks for sharing and bringing back and explosion of memories! :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 06, 2012:

Hi Brett,

The Cabbage Patch dolls were certainly a craze and people apparently still collect them today. My niece donated hers to a charity when she "outgrew" them. Bet she wishes she had hung onto them looking at some of the prices they are getting today! Thanks for your comment and your sharing of this hub. :))

Brett C from Asia on February 05, 2012:

Yes, I remember these from when I was at school, it was a mass craze!! Thanks for the 'blast from the past'.

SOCIALLY SHARING and voting up.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 02, 2012:

Hello birdwing2,

I would start by checking Amazon and Ebay prices to see what the Cabbage Patch Kids pricing is like. Depending upon where you live, there might be some doll collectors in your area or auction houses that also purchase items outright. At least these places are a starting point. If other people reading this hub have suggestions, please feel free to leave other suggestions. Thanks! on February 02, 2012:

I have some from wayyyyyy long ago the orginal ones with birth certificates, in boxes and with clothes. Perfect condition How do i find out what they are worth. I even have the set of twins.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 08, 2012:

Hi jonnycuddleberry,

Thanks for mentioning the fact that the cabbage patch kids were the mascot for the 1992 olympic team. Corrected that typo! As to them still being popular, I was amazed at some of the prices they continue to get on sites like Amazon. There are still collectors out there! Beanie babies fortunately cost less for the parents and grandparents and other gift givers making their children happy. Thanks for your comment. :))

jonnycuddleberry on January 08, 2012:

Hi Peggy, I think that the cabbage patch kids were the official mascot of the 1992 olympic team, not the 1982 olympic team. I am not sure if the cabbage patch kids are still as big a sensation today as they were back in the 1980s. When I was younger, in the 1990's beanie babies were all the craze!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 18, 2011:

Hi Sheree,

For sure the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls were popular! Nice to hear from you and know that you profited from that craze in the 80's. Also nice to know that the company is a good one from your perspective as a worker. Thanks for your comment.

Sheree on December 18, 2011:

I worked for Coleco Toys/ Hasbro toys in New York State during the early 80's. I spent months on the assembly lines in the Gloversville & Amsterdam plants packaging those dolls, I remember putting in a lot of overtime trying to keep up with the demand there was for them. It was a Great company to work for & a very popular doll!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 01, 2011:

Hello LadyLyell,

I take it that you have some Cabbage Patch memories of your own. Nice that this hub could ressurect them for you. :) Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 01, 2011:

Hello shea duane,

I was also too old but my niece was at the right age when the Cabbage Patch kids dolls first came out. Many parents went crazy trying to find the right ones for their children standing in long lines at certain stores and scrambling when the doors opened to grab them off of the shelves. I remember seeing newscasts showing that. Crazy! Maybe you should write a hub about your favorite doll? Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 30, 2011:

Hi moonlake,

Who knows? By now your Cabbage Patch Kids Doll may be more valuable than you think! Depends upon how hard you played with it and it's condition. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 30, 2011:

Hi leahlefler,

Wow! Your mom got a bargain because of the mismarked pricing on that Cabbage Patch doll. I was surprised to know that they are still popular even now with some of them getting much higher prices than the originals. Think collector values! Thanks for your memories of your Cabbage Patch kids and your comment.

LadyLyell from George, South Africa on November 30, 2011:

Well you have certainly brought back some memories!

shea duane from new jersey on November 30, 2011:

I was too old for the cabbage patch kids, but i loved my baby tender love! great hub.

moonlake from America on November 30, 2011:

I remember them, I think I still have one packed away that I bought for myself.

Leah Lefler from Western New York on November 30, 2011:

I had two cabbage patch kids - I had named them Jonathan and Laura, lol! I absolutely loved them as a child - of course, they were the "hot toy" of the 1980's. My sister had a cabbage patch preemie doll, and then there were the "cornsilk kids" that came out later - she had one of those, too. I remember that they were expensive dolls - my mom got my second one when it was accidentally marked down to $8 - the store corrected that error as soon as my mom was through checking out, lol!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 26, 2011:

Hi bea,

Nice that you have your memories of the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls and still have most of them. Perhaps you will pass them on someday to some special little girl who will enjoy them as much as you have? Thanks for your comment.

bea on July 26, 2011:

I remember coming home from school one day and my mother a big surprise for me. She bought me a cabbage patch kid. I was really surprised she did that, she had my aunt to another part of the state, and my mother given her the money to buy one. It was a great day when she bought me one, I didn't even recall asking for one. As I got a little older, my mother found cabbage patch figures that were a few inches tall, I loved them, and had a bunch of them, they've been played with, I still have most of them.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 10, 2010:

Hi Cheryl,

I had no idea that Cabbage Patch Kids were still popular today when I started writing this hub. I just remembered how they were such hot items for Christmas back in the 1980's. Amazing how this popularity has lasted!

Cheryl on November 10, 2010:

Thanks for sharing the excitement and the true story of owning a Cabbage Patch Doll. Their popularity has been around for a long time.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 09, 2010:

Hi Hello, hello,

Cabbage Patch Kids were cute once one got used to them as a kind of homespun look. Thanks for the visit and comment.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on November 09, 2010:

They were really cute. Thanks for the reminder.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 06, 2010:

Hi Granny's House,

People go bonkers over the wierdest things! Breaking car windows to steal a Cabbage Patch Kid. Crazy! Apparently people are still purchasing them but that type of frenzy has died down, thank heavens. Did your daughter's hang onto theirs through the years or was it a passing fancy with them?

Granny's House from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time on November 06, 2010:

I remember when people were selling them on the black market and would brake car windows to steal one out of a car.

All my daughters had one

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 06, 2010:

Hello pakpub,

Your niece's Cabbage Patch doll might be worth some money if it has been kept in reasonably good shape. Looking at the prices for some of these older Cabbage Patch would seem so. This certainly takes some of us back to memories of those days! And for today's youngsters, they can develop their own memories of Cabbage Patch Kids since they are still being sold. Thanks for the comment.

pakpub from Florida on November 06, 2010:

I remember that year. I think it was 1982. I was able to buy my niece one for Christmas. She loved and it still has the Cabbage Patch Doll. Nice hub!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 06, 2010:

Hi SteveoMc,

Yes...that would have been the perfect position to be in...that of profiting from the Cabbage Patch Kids sales whether for Christmas or any other occasion. Fighting over a toy! Crazy! Glad that I was not a clerk in a store trying to keep peace back then!

SteveoMc from Pacific NorthWest on November 06, 2010:

I thought they were the worst thing yet. And there were a few riots with people fighting over the stupid things. At the time, I wished I was selling them though. It was quite a marketing achievement.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 06, 2010:

Hi Ethel,

Haha! I just had to laugh. When I first saw those Cabbage Patch Kids I also thought that they were a bit peculiar looking with those pushed in faces. Just proves that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." :-)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 06, 2010:

Hi Micky,

Cabbage Patch Kids did apply to a certain "taste" however. Ha!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 06, 2010:

Hi dahoglund,

I couldn't agree with you more. I don't think that people should fight over the acquisition of any toy be they Cabbage Patch Kids or anything else for that matter. Distorted values...yes! I'm just amazed that they are still around after this many years!

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on November 06, 2010:

Yes I remember these peculiar looking dolls. Not as a child though :)

Micky Dee on November 06, 2010:

Cabbage patch dolls never did taste good though!

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on November 06, 2010:

I remember all the frenzy. It is fads like that that I find rather disturbing. The dolls might be great and the idea great but when people start fighting over them, I think values are distroeted.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 05, 2010:

Hello Happyboomernurse,

I did not realize that they were still being sold either until I started doing some research. Would you believe that prior to the last Presidential election in the U.S. that Cabbage Patch Kids were made in the likeness of all of the candidates? There are Barack Obama, Joseph Biden, John McCain and Sarah Palin Cabbage Patch dolls out there! Obviously somebody keeps purchasing them to have made them this popular for so many years!

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on November 05, 2010:

Hi Peggy. My son had one when he was five and so did his girl and boy friends.

I think my son's doll was dressed like an astronaut. Didn't realize these dolls were still around.

It was fun reading this hub. You did a great job on it.