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There are two kinds of people during the holidays; those that love Christmas shopping and those that hate Christmas shopping. I am one of the former – it is one of my favorite things about the holidays! Throughout the year, I pay close attention to things my friends and family seem fond of and grab it then and there, holding it for Christmas so I can see their delight when they open the gift. I find a lot of joy in giving others thoughtful and creative presents. Santa Claus basically has my dream job. Out of all the holiday shopping I do, though, nothing gets me more excited than picking out the perfect stocking gifts. Most people don’t ask for specific stocking gifts, which gives me great creative freedom. That, and the challenge of sticking to a relatively low price point makes stocking shopping a favorite holiday pastime of mine. I must admit, I am pretty good at it, too.
One thing I love adding to my loved ones’ stockings is toys, games and items from the past that remind them of their youth. Sometimes adults need toys, too, ok? How many pairs of socks or Starbucks cards can one grown-up receive, anyways? If you’re struggling with what to get your nostalgic family and friends this year for stocking stuffers, I have got you covered. Below is a list of the 7 best throwback stocking stuffers I’ve found that are sure to please your most sentimental loved ones this Christmas.
I legitimately remember having a travel set almost exactly like this when I was younger. It was a gift from the heavens during long road trips stuck in the backseat with my brother. This set comes with a compact work surface, six precision wheels, two design pens, design pad and design guide. Plenty of supplies to draw an endless number of swirls, twirls and orbs. This is great for adults (like me) who are the most gifted at drawing, but love to doodle. This is doodling with style. The size is perfect for a carry-on bags, purse or backpack. Imagine what you could create on an airplane, riding the subway, in between classes, basically anywhere you have spare time. Oodles of doodles!
Man, few smells bring me back to my pre-teen years like a tube of Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers. This gloss is the perfect tint of red and created a lipstick-kind-of-look without ACTUALLY being lipstick. Because if it was, Mom would KILL you. Bonne Bell made a host of other flavors (bubble gum, kiwi strawberry, vanilla, watermelon), but none of them compared to this one. Despite being created for young girls, this lip balm can still be used for grown-ups. It is luxuriously moisturizing and the price tag is super affordable. Also, it really does smell like Dr. Pepper!
This toy had its hay-day in the 80s, with children and adults alike determined to swap and sort the colored squares in sequence and solve the puzzle. If able to figure it out, people swore you were a genius. I actually owned one myself, but was only able to line-up the very top row of colors. #rubiksfail Nevertheless, this game kept me entertained for hours upon hours and can be played individually or with other people. Fun fact: this toy actually has BILLIONS of combinations, but only one solution. Can you solve it without peeling off the stickers and putting them back on in the correct order?
Weren’t Oregon Trail days in class some of the best freaking days in school ever? I can still remember the DOS title screen for the game and starting my hopeful journey through the Oregon Trail. The intention of this game was to teach students about the hardships of settlement in the 1800s, but certainly the most remembered thing from it was the endless amount of ways you could die during this era in American history. Snakebites, dysentery, measles, typhoid, cholera and even just exhaustion. Also, even if you weren’t dying, your family members or cattle were. #toughbreaks Luckily hunting and going to the General Store provided enough distraction from the disease and dying to make this game enjoyable. This card game is just as much fun, can be played in groups of 2-6 and doesn’t require a floppy disk.
Could you even send your BFF or crush a note in middle school and NOT use a Gelly Roll pen to write it? Ex-squeeze me, but were we supposed to use a Bic? Or, goodness, just a pencil? I shudder at the thought. Gelly Rolls exist in every color you could ever imagine and write smooth on paper, textbook margins, your own hand, etc. Anyone who was anyone had the metallic set, that could even write on dark paper. Stuff these in your favorite friend’s stocking this year and who knows, you just might receive a thank-you letter from them on notebook paper expressing their gratitude for Gelly Rolls!
Confession: I did not have a Lite Brite growing up. However, I DID have neighbors that had a Lite Brite and I can’t tell you how many times we would huddle up in their bathroom (because there were no windows), turn off the lights and create an array of glowing masterpieces. Of course we tried to follow the included patterns in the box, but they never turned out as planned. Also, it was WAY more fun to spell out your name or make a “No Boys Allowed” sign. This smaller version is perfect for your desktop or kitchen counter and is just as versatile today. It comes with the needed light bulb, but additional batteries are not included. There are 120 colored pegs in the package and they are stored conveniently in a little drawer within the Lite Brite display.
Adult coloring books have been wildly popular the past couple of years. It’s a great way to occupy your mind with something creative while also helping to reduce stress. I definitely have a few adult coloring books myself, but have you noticed that they all seem to have the same intricate designs? What about books with your favorite characters? Look no further! Random House has put together a whole coloring book that features all of our favorite NickToons from the 90s. Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy, Hey Arnold! – the gang’s all here! Don’t forget to add crayons, colored pencils, oil pastels, Mr. Sketch markers or your favorite coloring apparatus to complete the set.
I hope this makes your holiday shopping a bit easier this year! Let me know if you’re looking for another type of retro stocking stuffer and I’ll be happy to share other ideas. Do you have any favorite stocking stuffers? Do you enjoy Christmas shopping? Drop me a comment below! Also, be sure to subscribe to the Miss Reminisce email newsletter and follow Miss Reminisce on social media for more holiday updates. Happy shopping!