Gift Guide Only ‘90s Kids Will Understand

We all know one – the one friend who is impossible to buy for. Mainly because he’s so wistful about growing up in the ‘90s that you could never hope to top the fabled Christmas of ‘96.

Until now!

We’ve put together a totally tubular Gift Guide for the friend who’s still ‘90s at heart (and mind and soul). ‘Tis the season for capitalizing on his nostalgic sentiments!

Socker boppers. Blue and orange inflatable fists to be worn on the hand.

Sock’em Boppers

“Get ready to have / the time of your life!” Actually, get ready for the inevitable sparring session that will immediately follow the opening of this gift. Bonus points if you can track down the real deal, before they got renamed “Socker Boppers.” Right, like rebranding is going to stop the likelihood of two fully grown adults breaking each other’s jaws by punching right through this toy’s thin plastic layer. You could probably save a buck by sticking your hands in some gallon-size Ziplocs and going at it, but hey, it’s the holidays. Go ahead and indulge him.

Amazon list of DVD sets people have bought: Doug, Aaahh!! Real Monsters, The Angry Beavers, Hey Arnold!, The Ren & Stimpy Show.

Any Complete DVD Set of a ‘90s Cartoon

As the unfortunate friend of a ‘90s kid, you’re probably used to hearing how “they just don’t make shows like they used to.” Actually, they do, and sometimes, they’re even better. Alas — since you’ll never be able to convince him otherwise, you can at least reinforce his bias with any of the staggering number of DVD boxed sets of all his favorite childhood shows. Rocko’s Modern Life, Doug, Rugrats, Freakazoid, Ren & Stimpy, Beavis and Butthead – you name it, it’s out there. With luck, he’ll be so enamored with the edgy humor, unique art style, and timeless jokes, you’ll have enough time to do something that really matters, like finding a new friend.

Talkboy from Home Alone 2. A rectangular device that can fit a cassette tape. A round speaker is on the right; a retractable microphone is on the upper right.


It’s likely that every kid who saw Macaulay Culkin use this nifty gadget in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York absolutely had to have it once a Talkboy made its way to toy stores. It’s even more likely that every parent who made the mistake of actually buying the thing threw it away after one too many recordings of “Hi kids, we’re home early.” Now you can let your friend relive his childhood memories over and over and over again. He can record himself, speed it up, slow it down, and play his own voice back so he can finally have someone to talk to who actually gives a crap.


Nerf Gun

Nothing says “happy holidays” like a faceful of suction darts. Open the door thinking it’s carolers – darts. Santa’s footsteps on the rooftop – nope, darts. Dropping a major deuce after guzzling an entire carton of eggnog – you get the idea. On second thought, maybe you should just get him the Sock’em Boppers.

Cover for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie from 2014. Four muscular, reptilian humanoids with Japanese weapons stand imposingly against a New York skyline.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Nothing personifies the ‘90s quite like those iconic turtles in a half shell. Between the cartoon, the action figures, the live action movie, and the totally radical SNES game, the ‘90s were truly a time to be into turtles. Give your friend the gift that every ‘90s kid needs: a harsh dose of reality, with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie that came out last year. Try to be there when he watches it, so you can personally see his childhood turn to shame around him.

Cassette tape with all the tape unfurled. It's a mess.

A Personalized “I Love the ‘90s” Mixtape

“A cassette tape!” your friend will exclaim upon receiving this gift. “I haven’t seen one of these in ages!” No kidding, dweeb. That’s because no one wants these things around. And when I say “personalized,” what I really mean I’d “every song that came up when you type “one hit wonders’ into YouTube.” For the friend who thinks music peaked with such memorable talent as The Cranberries, The Goo Goo Dolls, Train, and Semisonic, you couldn’t ask for a better freebie gift.

A can of Surge citrus-flavored soda. Neon green can with a red explosion bearing the Surge name in black letters.


This is like the ‘90s in a can, if the ‘90s were made of uncomfortably green high fructose corn syrup. And who’s to say they weren’t? Luckily for you, you won’t have to scour eBay for a dusty cask of the stuff; a re-Surge-ance (stop that – ed.) just recently occurred, making Surge tragically available to everyone. Buy a case or two, and weep for the children of tomorrow who must grow up in a world still plagued by the wretched concoctions of yesterday.

That’s it for this gift guide. If this doesn’t give you some idea of what to get for the ‘90s kid in your life, you clearly haven’t been listening to him whenever he opens his damn mouth. So make this a holiday he’ll remember, since he clearly hasn’t a decent one in years. The poor, poor soul.

Eric Seal

Eric Seal is a writer, drummer, gamer, husband, son, and father, and he can't decide which of these he likes best. Also writes fatherly musings at

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