All The Feels

17 Nostalgic Gifts That Are A Blast From The Past

The ‘80s, ‘90s, and early aughts are calling this holiday season.

Written by Emily Weaver
Originally Published: 
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Gift-giving fatigue is real, and as the holiday season kicks into full gear, it can become increasingly difficult to come up with fresh gift ideas that are both creative and thoughtful. Sure, you can shop based on someone's hobbies (such as reading) or their interests (like if they're an outdoors enthusiast), but a pair of nice hiking socks isn't exactly personal or sentimental. If you desperately need a creative refresh this gift-giving season, you may have better luck picking out a nostalgic gift. After all, nothing says sentimental quite like a blast from the past.

Nostalgic gifts are super unique and not commonly on top of mind — the chances of you receiving several '90s mystery boxes or Blockbuster-scented candles are probably pretty slim. There are so many nostalgic avenues you can explore, from TV and film to music to fashion to food.

Leaning into vintage or retro trends is also really in right now, so happening upon a modern-day Polaroid camera or a cookbook centered around a '90s rom-com or Christmas movie classic (we found examples of both!) isn't impossible. Whoever you're shopping for, this roundup of nostalgic '80s, '90s, and '00s-inspired gifts will surely bring a smile and a ton of laughs.

Ready? Find the perfect nostalgic gift ahead.

1. The Unofficial Home Alone Cookbook by Bryton Taylor

Travel back to the McCallisters with this iconic Home Alone-inspired cookbook. Inside, you’ll find 75 recipes ranging from “Highly Nutritious” Mac and Cheese and Lovely Cheese Pizza to “Eating Junk and Watching Rubbish” Sundaes. Pairs best with a Home Alone 1 and Home Alone 2 rewatch!

2. Throwback Speaker with Bluetooth and Radio

Tune into the radio — that’s right, the actual radio! — with this retro, two-in-one radio and Bluetooth speaker. Can’t find a station you like? Easily switch to your own playlist by connecting your phone or laptop via Bluetooth. Functionality aside, this throwback speaker makes for fun decor as well.

3. I'll Be There for You: The One About Friends by Kelsey Miller

We all know someone who is obsessed with Friends, so why not gift them a copy of journalist Kelsey Miller’s historical guide to the famous ‘90s sitcom? The novel is packed with interviews and behind-the-scenes stories, and explores all the ways Friends left a lasting impact on coffee culture, fashion trends, and comedy.

4. Abe Froman Sausage King Ferris Bueller T-Shirt

Play hooky from work in style with this funny Abe Froman Sausage King shirt, inspired by the 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The vintage ivory shirt is available in sizes small to XXXXL.

5. Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 Camera

Polaroid cameras have come a long way since the ‘70s. Now, they come in compact and colorful designs and with a built-in selfie mirror, so you and your bestie can nail your shot on the first try.

6. Funny Christmas Movie Sweatshirt

You want to talk about nostalgia? How about a cozy sweatshirt featuring their favorite Christmas movie characters like the Grinch, Buddy the Elf, and Clark Griswold? Complete the gift with other small, movie-type gifts such as popcorn, candy, and their favorite bevvie.

7. Clueless: The Official Cookbook: Totally Delicious Recipes Inspired by the Film by Kim Laidlaw

Our vocabulary wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for the totally bugging characters from Clueless. Among the 50 Clueless-inspired recipes, the Tai to your Cher will learn how to make Cute Plain Lemon Sugar Cookies, Full-on Monet Raspberry Vanilla Fro-Yo, Not-the-Mall-Food-Court Smoothies, and more.

8. Create Your Own Reel Viewer

The perfect combination of nostalgic and sentimental, Uncommon Goods’ Create Your Own Reel Viewer allows you to customize a one-of-a-kind photo reel. Each reel can hold seven images, perfect for capturing someone’s first year of parenthood, a wedding anniversary, major milestone, or you can fill it with throwback photos. The user can purchase additional reels so they can use the viewer over and over again for years to come.

9. Video Store Scented Candle

Does it smell like buttery popcorn, plastic VHS tapes, and dusty carpets... or is that just us? This video candle store will have your movie-loving friend reminiscing about long, romantic strolls through the aisles of Blockbuster — sans the late fees and expired candy.

10. Personalized Mixtape Cassette Cutting Board

Retro made modern, this personalized mixtape cassette cutting board is an easy way to honor your music roots while also being functional. Now, every time they go to use their cutting board, they’ll think of all the fond memories you two have shared over the years. Plus, it’s such a conversation starter for parties!

11. ‘80s and ‘90s Hum the Song Game

Do you know someone who considers themself the music aficionado of their family or friend group? Put them to the ultimate test with this ‘80s and ‘90s Hum the Song Game. Each card comes with five options with categories such as love songs and ballads, pop and dance songs, TV and movie songs, and rock and indie songs.

12. Handcrafted Zoo Pal Animal Coaster

Who remembers serving their kids' lunch on Zoo Pal paper plates? Now that they're older (and probably eating their food off of real cookware), give your child the gift of nostalgia this Christmas with a Zoo Pal coaster. The coaster can also double as a trinket tray, with three compartments for keys and small jewelry.

13. Now That’s What I Call Music, ‘90s Pop

Growing up, no car ride was complete without a sing-along to a Now That’s What I Call Music CD. Experience the euphoria all over again — but this time, in the driver’s seat — with a ‘90s pop tracklist featuring hits by Usher, Spice Girls, and *NSYNC. You can also purchase it on vinyl if they have a record player.

14. ‘90s Jazz Glossy Mug

Suitable for both hot and cold drinks, this ‘90s jazzy mug will teleport you back to your hometown’s mall food court.

15. A 00's Mystery Box!

For those who live and breathe the ‘90s, you can’t go wrong with a ‘90s Mystery Box. Each box is carefully curated to fit an individual’s interests but will come with the following: a ‘90s movie DVD, Disney magazine, ‘90s book, Beanie Baby, ‘90 toy, Tamagotchi toy, Sour Patch, trading cards, airheads, buttons, and a slap wrist bracelet. It doesn’t get more nostalgic than this.

16. Mini Smiley Light

It’s wild to think about, but “The Smiley” and “Take the Time to Smile” graphics we all grew up knowing and loving turned 50 this year. What better way to bring a bit of nostalgic cheer than with a mini Smiley Light that delivers a happy, cozy glow? Plus, it’s squishy to the touch, which is fun.

17. “Central Perk” Candle

For Friends fans, being able to join Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross at their beloved coffee spot would be a dream come true. But since that’s not in the cards, the next best thing is this truly dreamy candle! If you close your eyes and take a deep whiff, you can halfway convince yourself you’re actually sitting on the sofa in Central Perk.

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