90s Nostalgia Gift Guide

That's right, the 90s are considered retro now
That's right, the 90s are considered retro now

Even for someone who loves Christmas, coming up with unique and thoughtful gifts for each person on your list every year can be a little daunting. Your dad has everything, your sister is way too picky and your boss, well, who ever knows what to get their boss? That’s why you should count your lucky stars if someone on your list is a collector. Chances are you’ll be able to get that person something they’ll love and not worry that someone else already got it for them or they won’t have any use for it.

Considering it has been almost 20 years since the 90s, collectables and pop culture paraphernalia from that decade is actually considered nostalgic now. If that makes you feel old, don’t worry—you wouldn’t want to be a teenager right now anyway. Here are a few gift ideas that will fit perfectly into an 90s kid’s collection.

1. Goosebumps 25th Anniversary Retro Set
For the reader on your list, you could go with the latest bestseller or yet another James Patterson paperback… or you could get them something that will make them gasp, “I used to be obsessed with these!” The Goosebumps 25th Anniversary Retro Set comes with five books from R.L. Stine’s classic horror series for kids: Monster Blood, Why I’m Afraid of Bees, A Night in Terror Tower, The Beast from the East, and Legend of the Lost Legend. Add The Goosebumps Retro Scream Collection which includes five of the early books in the series: Welcome to Dead House, Say Cheese and Die, The Haunted Mask, Night of the Living Dummy, and One Day at Horrorland. They even come in a cool tin that any geek would love to have displayed on their bookshelf.

2. Super Nintendo Classic Edition
The NES Classic Edition was the hot gift last year (it sold out online and in-stores in minutes) and it’s still a great gift for any video game nerd. The original was released in 1985 but some of the best games (Mega Man, Final Fantasy, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros.) were still extremely popular (and spawning sequels) well into the 90s. This year it’s all about the Super Nintendo Classic Edition. It’s loaded with classic 90s games like Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, Donkey Kong Country, Star Fox and more. If the video game nerd on your list is more of a traditionalist, a flea market is a great place to get an original Nintendo or Super Nintendo console and plenty of old game cartridges. Just expect to pay more for them since they’re technically “antiques”.

3. DVD boxset of classic 90s TV shows
Yes, there’s always a bunch of ways to stream your old favourites, but we all know things will come and go on Netflix. You don’t want to be dying to watch the episode of Saved By the Bell where Jessie gets hooked on caffeine pills and not be able to find it. Luckily, you can get a DVD boxset of the entire series for lot of the big 90s shows. From Saved by the Bell and The Fresh Prince of Bel-air to 90201 and The X-Files, no matter what you’re looking for, Amazon most likely has it. Just make sure the person you’re giving it to  actually has a DVD player, because it won’t be long before the only place you can find one of those is a garage sale or buried somewhere in your parent’s basement.

4. Vintage band T-shirt
Whether the person you’re looking to check off your list was more grunge scene or boy band groupie, there is a T-shirt out there that will match their style. Looking for an authentic Nirvana or Pearl Jam concert tour T-shirts? Check flea markets and second hand stores. If you’re looking for T-shirt with a specific album cover or song lyric on it and you can’t seem to find it, you can always just have it made. In fact, search “90s nostalgia” on Etsy and you’ll find tons of authentic collectibles and T-shirts that you might not be able to find anywhere else. Of course, Urban Outfitters might have a Nirvana T-shirt, but if you’re looking for something a little more unique, Etsy is the place to go.

5. 90s board games
There are new board games coming out every day, but there will never be anything quite like the original ones you used to play as a kid—and no, a Game of Thrones-themed edition of Monopoly doesn’t count. A lot of the popular board games from the 90s are still in production today, but you can also find originals at second hand stores, garage sales and flea markets. There might be a few pieces missing, but that’s when you can get creative and make your own substitutes. Some of these games are great as a collectors item but introducing the kids of today to elaborate board games that have nothing to do with having an iPad can be pretty fun too. Some good options include 13 Dead End Drive, Nightmare, Mastermind, Forbidden Bridge, Mouse Trap and many more.

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on AmongMen.com, 29secrets.com, therichest.com, and ELLECanada.com.  When she isn’t writing about relationships, and the best TV shows and books you should really already know about, she is working on her novel. She hopes to have it published by 2025. You can follow her on Twitter @Courtooo.

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