Showing posts with label Gifts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gifts. Show all posts

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sticker Collections

Note: Sorry for the sporadic posts as of late, I've been in the process of moving and have had limited time for reminiscing. Fresh material is on the way, it might just pop up a little more slowly. Check back often for new posts!

In the 80s and 90s, no single possession could rocket a child to the top of the elementary school social stratosphere quite like a thoughtful, well-balanced sticker collection. Whether kept on their original backings or stuck carefully within the pages of an attractive sticker book, these collections were some of the most coveted items one could own during our grade school years. A new sticker afforded its owner not only the thrill of a new belonging but also recess bragging rights to the latest in sticker trends and technology. An image of two kittens playfully wrapped up in a high top sneaker or a three dimensional googly eyed dinosaur was usually more than enough to earn you a spot at the cool table in the cafeteria.

If ever there was anything to which to trace the overabundance of perfectionism and type A behavior amongst children of the 90s, sticker collections have got to be one of the major culprits. Like other forms of collecting, forming sticker collections required patience, self-restraint, and the ability to enjoy something that both serves no use.

In order to maintain the pristine condition of our most prized stickers, it was critical to not touch or handle your collection too roughly; in short, it was necessary to treat them llike a signed first edition being brought to appraisal on Antiques Roadshow. Doing anything to compromise the alleged inherent value of the following items was the equivalent of social sticker suicide.

Lisa Frank

Lisa Frank were among the most coveted designs in school supplies during the 80s and 90s, so it’s no surprise her stickers were considered fairly high-end in the classroom trading market. The bright colors, whimsical designs, and schmaltzy characters turned Lisa Frank stickers into virtual currency for elementary school girls. Innumerable hours were lost to swooning over the cuteness of a panda wielding a paint-laden brush or unicorn leaping majestically across a rainbow. For the record, the current Lisa Frank designs are generally considered to be subpar and inferior to our colorful cuddly originals.

Scratch n' Sniff

I’ve been told technology yields progress, and I can imagine no greater example than the leap from ordinary, smell-free stickers to the odoriferous sensory explosion of a scented sticker. The patented technology gave us a simple two-step process to nasal bliss, executed as follows:
1. Scratch
2. Sniff
It was that simple. You saw a strawberry, you scratched a strawberry, you smelled a strawberry. Sticker technology at its most useful.


Textured stickers were also a popular addition to any collection, though their fuzziness often made it difficult to keep them in their original condition. Repeated rubbing wore down the fuzz, leaving us with bald puppies and hairless kittens. Tough break.

Puffy/Googly Eyes

Also a major contender in the textured category were the puffy and/or googly eyed stickers, giving us a decidedly creepy three dimensional experience that would not stop staring. I don’t care how functional it may seem to infuse a triceratops image with its very own googling eyeballs--no one wants that much shaky eye contact with a prehistoric sticker.

It’s a scientifically proven fact that children love shiny things and the existence of multiple dimensions, so it’s a no-brainer that we all went crazy over a shimmery combination of the two. These mysteriously three-dimensional holographic stickers sold in science museum stores and other such vaguely educational shops, ensuring that each trip there with our parents would inevitably end with an ear-plugging, breath holding, foot-stomping tantrum over these stickers.

Mrs. Grossman's

Andrea Grossman’s infinite wisdom and business savvy saw fit to sell her rolls of stickers by the yard, hence exponentially expanding their welcome additions to any child’s sticker collection in a single shopping trip. Featuring designs like cleverly posed animals and background scenery elements, Mrs. Grossman’s stickers could be arranged into scenes complete with storylines and characters. Posable stickers made for exciting Storybook Weaver-esque sticker book pages, shaping turtles, picnic baskets, and other assorted items into a coherent scene.


Fuzzy koala bears and sparkly rainbow fish? Where do I sign up? Glitter or texture made Sandylion an attractive addition to any well-rounded collection. With the right combination of shimmery dolphins and fuzzy ghosts, you could easily corner the market of your local underground sticker trade.

Sticker Books/Boxes

Of course, the most important element in any worthwhile sticker collection was a specially created (re: unnecessarily expensive) book or receptacle by which to transport it. After all, what good is a sticker collection if you can’t carry it around and show it off? You could choose to stick yours in a book with special non-stick pages or cut each sticker individually with its backing to ensure easy trading.

That said, actual sticking of the stickers onto surfaces such as notebooks and Trapper Keepers was generally frowned upon. Such behavior was the equivalent of supergluing a dollar bill to the front of your Yikes pencil case. Stickers were veritable elementary school currency, so improper usage was akin to destruction of of US-minted money--it may not have been illegal, but it certainly wasn’t acceptable usage.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Gift Ideas for the 90s Child

We're gearing up for the holiday at Children of the 90s, which means it's that time of year when we all empty our pockets in the name of the spirit of the season. Something like that. That's what I've pieced together from TV commercials, at least. There seems to be some direct correlation between buying a diamond tennis bracelet and Jesus's crucifixion, though I've yet to determine exactly what that relationship is.

If you're still agonizing over those last-minute gifts, you're in luck: Children of the 90s is here to help. We've got heaps of nostalgia-tinted gift ideas to delight even the Scroogiest of grown 90s children. These gifts are sure to make the most dead-eyed pencil-pushing 20-something office drones hearken back to their happy childhoods.

Here are a few of this season's 90s offerings sure to light up their recipients' faces with a glow that for once does not come from their iPhone:

Beer Pogz

Yes, you heard right. Beer Pogz. Really, how 90s is that z-for-an-s-in-a-plural substitution? It just screams X-treme to the Max! in a uniquely 90s way. Our favorite childhood game is back with a distinctly adult-friendly twist: drinking. What a great way to combine two things that make us irrepressibly joyous: fond childhood memories and booze. And get this: it comes with a Keg Slammer. If you're not sold on this game yet, I'm not sure how to make it more enticing short of plastering the packaging with adorable newborn puppies and scrumptious chocolate cream pies.

Find Beer Pogz here

Nick Rewind DVDs

What better way to show a 90s child you care than by giving them the gift of retro Nickelodeon? From the network ruled children's programming in the 90s comes numerous DVD box sets from which to choose the perfect gift. Whether your giftee is more of a Secret World of Alex Mack type or an Adventures of Pete and Pete fanatic, this collection has a decent offering of our old favorites. You can even gift them these shows via iTunes, which features shows like Doug and Clarissa Explains it All.

Find Nick rewind DVDs here

Trivial Pursuit: 90s Edition

Have you ever wanted to appear impressively smart without the undue hassle of book learning and legitimate knowledge acquisition? Well, here's your chance! Finally, a Trivial Pursuit edition that asks us questions to which we actually have a prayer of knowing the answer. The cards are brimming with pop culture questions that are sure to have you filling your little multicolored pie in less than the standard three hours for the original version.

Find Trivial Pursuit: 90s Edition here

Customizable Nike Air Throwbacks

There were no cooler athletic shoes in the 90s than the original Nike Air sneakers. Through the wondrous world of technology, you can now customize your very own brand new pair of 90s-style Nikes with a rainbow of color and pattern options. This is the stuff childhood dreams are made of. If you'd taken me to my local foot locker as a kid and told me I had free reign in customizing my sneakers, I would probably have passed out from excitement.

Find customizable Nike Airs here

90s Retro Candy Gift Basket
Do you have some abhorrent allegedly well-meaning friend who constantly gifts you with low-carb cookbooks and exercise equipment? Here's your chance at payback. This is the ultimate 90s kid candy gift basket, containing old standards like Nerds Rope, Fun Dip, and Laffy Taffy. As one disgruntled Amazon customer laments in the reviews, the basket is sorely lacking in the Warheads department, though. The basket is listed under the "gourmet food" category, which I guess implies that Bubble Tape makes the foodie cut while Tearjerkers are for the masses.

Find the 90s Candy Gift Basket here

90s TV Show T-Shirts

Here's your chance to give an apt gift to a friend who loves to wear his 90s pride on his sleeve. I'll admit up front they're a bit of a rip-off at about twenty bucks a pop, but it's worth it to see a friend's smile when they unwrap their coveted Legends of the Hidden Temple Silver Monkeys team t-shirt. You just can't put a price on that sort of joy. Okay, actually, you can, and apparently it's been appraised at $20. Extra credit goes to any reader who buys that full Where's Waldo? costume.

Find 90s T-shirts here

Whatever: The 90s Pop Culture Box
If you've grown tired of collecting NOW! That's What I Call Music! CDs, maybe it's time to graduate to a full box set. Sure, this compilation leaves a bit to be desired, but it's certainly enough to give you a solid dose of 90s Music. It's a little tough to squeeze ten years worth of music onto a mere seven compact discs, but they did single out a decent selecton of popular genres.

Find the Whatever music box set here

New Bop-It

It may not be the original, but the new Bop It model isn't so far off from the repetitive and anxious game we grew up with. To its credit, it comes with a sleek white design and some updated features. The current version offers a "Shout It!" option, which is sure to irritate parents even more than the original. The Shout It! makes it seem a bit angrier than our more benign, subdued version, but it's probably worth a try. You can always turn that one off, anyway. This thing is undoubtedly just as addictive as the 90s prototype.

Find the new Bop-It here

Even if you've finished your holiday shopping, it's not too late to buy yourself a little 90s something. As you feverishly tear through the gift wrap to reveal that Double Dare t-shirt from "Santa" on Christmas morning, it'll all be worth it.

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