30 Gifts That Prove the 1980s Were the Best
Wicked awesome gifts for fans of last century's most righteous decade.
What holiday gift do you buy for the person who has everything, and who also thinks the 1980s was the best decade in human history? Maybe you know somebody like this. Maybe you are that someone. Listen, we get it, the ’80s were wicked awesome to the max. We miss them too. But take a chill pill. You don’t have to yearn for that bygone era when Frankie told us all to relax, and spandex and shoulder pads were considered “business casual.” Thanks to the Internet, there are many ways to show that special someone in your life that you respect their ’80s nostalgia, you’re even going to let them indulge in it. Here are 30 gift ideas perfect for the bodacious Valley girl or righteous dude on your holiday shopping list. For even more gift ideas, here are 15 Amazing Gifts for People Who Are Impossible to Shop For.
Members Only jacket
From $50; buy now at Members Only
The commercials for these jackets promised, “When you put it on, something happens.” It was just vague enough to make us want one, with most of us opting for the racer-style jacket. When you strutted into a room wearing one of these, you almost felt like Corey Feldman. And for more throwbacks, here are 30 Facts That Will Overwhelm You with 1980s Nostalgia.
From $75; buy now at Swatch
A boring old gold watch with only one band choice? Blech! Swatches were the way to go, and they were usually so inexpensive that you could buy multiple watches and cover both arms. Yes, we all looked ridiculous. But that was kind of the point. The name, by the way, is a derivative of “second watch,” so obviously they intended for us to have more than one.
From $60; buy now at Kangol
Wearing this wouldn’t give you the rapping skills of LL Cool J, but it’d definitely give you more swagger. Everybody looks cooler in a bucket. And for more awesomely retro wardrobe presents, check out these 17 Best Last-Minute Style Gifts For Dad.
Original Nintendo controllers
From $59.99; buy now at Nintendo
When the first Nintendo console came out in 1983, it had that big, oblong controller that had only the basics: big red buttons labeled A and B and a cross-shaped joypad. If you ever wished you could use those old-school controllers again, well, you’re in luck. Nintendo is re-releasing them this month! They’re a bit on the pricey side, and can only be played with the Nintendo Switch—an awesome gift in its own right, by the way—to Nintendo Switch Online member, which costs around $20 a year. The benefits that make the membership worth every penny: you can play game straight from Nintendo’s classic vault, like Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, and Super Mario Bros.
High-waisted acid-washed jeans
From $89.99; buy now at Juicy Couture
They always sounded so dangerous in the ’80s, but actually, they aren’t made with acid at all, just pumice stones and chlorine. These jeans are making such a big comeback, even Katy Perry was showing off her new pair this summer on Instagram. And for more on last century’s best decade, here are 25 Reasons We’re All Obsessed with the 1980s in 2018.
From $50; buy now at Vans
Keds and Air Jordans definitely had their devotees, but for us, it was always this classic checkerboard slip-on. Maybe we just wanted to be like Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Okay, so maybe he wasn’t the best career role model, but he was a fashion icon for teens in the ’80s.
From $16.95; buy now at Amazon
Well where else would you put your cash? In a wallet? As if! Years before tourists ruined their reputation, these stylish money belts—worn on the outside, and big enough to hold plenty of quarters for the arcade—were a gnarly fashion accessory that announced to the world, “Yeah, I got money. Right here on my belly!”
From $28.14; buy now at Guitar Center
Do you miss making mixes on cassette for your friends? So do we! Alas, that technology is so outdated. But with this handy USB flash drive, you can make the ultimate mixtape, one that looks exactly like the beloved cassettes of your youth.
From $18; buy now at Urban Outfitters
Thanks to movies like Fame and Flashdance, girls across the country realized that their ankles were probably freezing. The aerobics craze of the ’80s also helped turn this questionable fashion statement into a full-on cultural phenomenon. And for more from this ridiculous decade, here are 30 Hilarious Jokes from the 1980s That Will Stoke Your Nostalgia.
From $35; buy now at Great Clips
From Jon Bon Jovi to Meg Ryan, Michael Jackson to Whitney Houston, everybody who was anybody in the ’80s had a perm. You can still get them today, you just need to know where to go. And lucky for your gift-giving needs, some of them offer gift certificates.
From $279; buy now at Moxi Skates
Nothing says “totally tubular” more than showing up at the local roller rink with your very own set of skates. Even better if they’re a pair of Moxi, which come in a variety of neon colors, so that your feet are as shiny as the rest of your outfit.
Patrick Nagel art
From $20; buy now at Nagel
Everything about these paintings screams the ’80s, and not just because it reminds us of the album art for Duran Duran’s Rio. The sleek look and art deco aesthetic feels like the visual equivalent of a synthesizer solo.
From $8.99; buy now at Croakies
These colorful elastic straps were meant to make sure your sunglasses never fell off while you were surfing or skiing. But honestly, 100 percent of the people we knew who wore Croakies in the ’80s were doing neither of those activities. You can’t get more ’80s than an unnecessary fashion accessory!
Simon wearable headset
From $16.68; buy now at Hasbro
Originally based on an Atari arcade game called Touch Me, Simon was a memory game with four different color panels that flashed in patterns that players had to duplicate. It could captivate kids for hours during the ’80s, and they still sell the original version. But if you’re looking for something with a more modern edge, try this high-tech approach to Simon, which you wear like a virtual reality headset.
From $32; buy now at Ties.com
Everybody had one of those piano keyboard neckties during the ’80s, but times have changed and electronic music isn’t being made with synthesizers anymore. It’s all done on computers. So here’s a modern take on an old classic: A preppy tie that looks like a computer keyboard. You could almost type out the next dance hit right on your chest.
From $3.99; buy now at Shoe String King
A pair of suede Pumas either had no laces or super fat laces that were almost too thick to tie. Wearing shoes without fat laces was essentially admitting that you’d never heard of Run DMC.
Red leather jacket
From $146; buy now at OFiveTwenty1
If it was good enough for Michael Jackson, it’s good enough for you. A red leather jacket put your friends and family on alert that, at any moment, you could, and quite possibly would, moonwalk out of the room.
From $14.99; buy now at Party City
These futuristic bracelets, invented by a high school shop teacher in 1983, looked like a straight piece of ordinary metal, at least until you smacked them against your arm and they immediately surrounded your wrist, like some kind of alien substance that does your bidding.
From $118; buy now at Surfline Hawaii
There are two acceptable colors for a pair of Jams shorts: Neon, and slightly louder neon. The Hawaiian-inspired patterns made it feel like every day was spring break, and things were about to get radical.
MTV logo shirt.
From $12.99; buy now at Target
If you were young in the ’80s, the MTV logo is burned into your subconscious. Just seeing it is enough to make most of us start humming the guitar part from those original moon landing MTV commercials. This shirt will prove as a constant reminder, there was a time that MTV still played videos.
8-Bit Game Cartridge Soap
From $10; buy now at Geek Soap
Have you ever been taking a shower and thought to yourself, “I wish this soap looked like a classic video game cartridge from the ’80s?” Us neither! But somebody made that soap anyway, and we’re amazed that this is something that exists and can be purchased in 2018. We live in remarkable times.
From $24.99; buy now at Shinesty
Not everything needs to be shared with the outside world, like your fascination with Zubaz baggy pants. There aren’t many social occasions in which dressing like a weightlifter from the ’80s is a good idea. But with these boxers, you can have the satisfaction of knowing you’re wearing Zubaz without necessarily being on full display.
Thundercats: The Complete Series
From $27.97; buy now at Amazon
Everything about this cartoon, about the feline protectors of Third Earth, was awesome. If you haven’t seen it in a few years, or a few decades, and need to be reminded why Cheetara was the single greatest female superhero (and role model) of our lifetime, there’s no time like the present.
From $2.99; buy now at Mercato
Oscar Meyer first released Lunchables in the mid-’80s, in an attempt to sell more bologna. Mission accomplished! We may scoff at bologna in the meat section, but in this miniature form, with tiny crackers and cheese, it reminds us of the school lunches of our youth and gives us all the feels.
From $1.49; buy now at Mead
Long before “the cloud,” everything important in the world was kept in a Trapper Keeper. The satisfying riiiip of velcro, whenever you opened the front flap, made you feel like your personal files had the best protection that money could buy.
From $59.00; buy now at Best Buy
Admit it, you’re bored with the iPods and MP3 players. Sure, they can hold thousands of songs in something no larger than a credit card. But it’s nothing like the feeling of walking into a room with an oppressively large boom box on your shoulders. Just wait till you show up at the gym with this bad boy, and everybody else with their puny little iPods will feel like idiots.
Puffy down vests
From $60; buy now at Dick’s Sporting Goods
Marty McFly (i.e. Michael J. Fox) made a convincing case for down vests being the hippest thing a person could put on their body. In recent years, they’ve started to make a comeback, and not just out of nostalgia. We say, it’s about time that this fashion trend got back to the future. (See what we did there?)
Trivial Pursuit: Totally 80s
From $22.88; buy now at Amazon
Do you have the ’80s knowledge to answer trivia questions like, “Who was the first leader of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party born after the Russian Revolution?” Or “What Billy Joel opus listed 120 significant people, places and events from the previous four decades?” If you think you’re up for it, this ’80s version of the popular trivia game has 2,400 questions that only somebody who once had a pair of parachute pants in their closet could possibly answer.
Sweet Valley High
From $23.88; buy now at Amazon
All 12 books of the original series, featuring teenage twins Elizabeth (the good one) and Jessica (the not so good one). Return to those emotional days when you first read about Regina’s shocking death, and you decided then and there, “I’m never doing drugs in my entire life!”
Gremlins Christmas sweater
From $84.99; buy now at Middle of Beyond
It’s going to be a cold winter. Keep yourself warm with a sweater that’s equal parts cute and horrifying. Just don’t get it wet. You know, because it’s a sweater. Why, what did you think we were implying? If you still have people to shop for, here are 50 Wow Gifts For Everyone on Your Shopping List.
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