When my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year and I responded with "vacuum cleaner" without even pausing, I got a little sad thinking about how grown-up that sounded. My Christmas tastes sure have changed over the years. It doesn't seem like that long ago (even though it was Christmas 1992) that I was GOING TO DIE if I didn't get a Puppy Surprise (which I did and still have). I longed for trolls and Littlest Pet Shops and Magna Doodles.
And now here I am, all like, "I want a Christmas present that will aid me in my adult cleaning duties and provide me with no fun or amusement or coolness whatsoever."
Needless to say, I never miss the early '90s more than this time of year. Inspired by this piece from Buzzfeed and a YouTube video my husband made me watch the other night, I started thinking about the sorts of things I asked for for Christmases of the past, specifically 1990-93. Those were the days.
Go-Go My Walking Pup
Featured in the Buzzfeed article mentioned above (No. 19), the Go-Go My Walking Pup was just what a kid like myself (who lived in a home with four or five real dogs that I could have just put on a leash and walked) needed—a battery-operated puppy that walked on a leash.
This toy was almost $50 and required four D batteries, so that's probably why I never got it—that or my parents thought I should just walk the real dogs if I wanted to walk a dog so badly.
I did, however, get the Teddy Ruxpin doll instead, which I don't recall asking for but which I was quite excited about—except for the fact my dad forgot to get batteries for it, no place was open to buy batteries on Christmas back in those days, and so it was useless until Dec. 26.
Purple unicorn bedding set with canopy
Even in the vast depths of the Internet I cannot find a link to convey to you how ugly this bedding set I wanted was, though this bedspread is pretty close. It was everything you would expect from a child's bedding set in the early '90s: purple, laden with unicorns and rainbows, and completely oblivious to the "too much pattern" rule. The valance, canopy, throw pillows, comforter, shams, all of it, were covered with the same loud pattern.
I cannot remember what catalog I first saw this bedding set in, but I liked it so much I kept the catalog page and asked for it several years in a row, until I finally started asking for an Aladdin and Jasmine set instead (it, too, was pretty ugly). I never got either.
ALL of the cool kids had high-tops back then, and all I had were generic Keds from Dollar General. You'd think surely Christmas would be a good time for my parents to splurge on a pair of shoes that cost more than $5, but nope. I never got these shoes.
I did, however, always get a pair of these frilly socks, which by no means made up for it because these itchy monstrosities were misery in a cutesy lace form.
Holiday Holidays Barbie, 1990 edition
Each year for I have no idea how long, Mattel has introduced a new Barbie during the holiday season, which I used to go crazy for. I had plenty of other Barbies and Barbie accessories—including a Barbie convertible and a Barbie ice cream shop—but something about the frilly dresses and Christmas spirit of the holiday Barbies created a sense of longing in me every year.
The 1990 Christmas Barbie was the source of the most intense of those longings. She was decked out in a pink, ruffled dress that screamed to my childish girliness. Of course, Happy Holidays Barbies were actually cruel jokes for kids in that they were meant to be kept in the box or on doll stands, admired from afar and not played with. That's probably why I never got one.
My aunt did get me a Barbie wearing a wedding dress once, which my mom promptly jerked out of my hands the second the wrapping paper was off and told me I couldn't take her out of the box. (She remained in the box for a couple of years, until one night, during a slumber party, I succumbed to peer pressure and opened her. I regret nothing.)
Billy Ray Cyrus cassette tape
I saved this one for last because not only is it probably the most hilarious but also the only one on this list I ever actually got. I LOVED "Achy Breaky Heart" an embarrassing amount, and having gotten a Walkman (also featured in the above-mentioned Buzzfeed list) as a November bribe for being good at the dentist, December found me needing some cassette tapes to jam to.
I know I asked for several that Christmas, Pam Tillis among them, but Billy Ray Cyrus was the one I wanted THE. MOST. When I unwrapped it Christmas morning and saw Cyrus' mullet and denim peeking out of the paper at me, I noticed his likeness was encased in a plastic housing that was broken in four or five places. The cassette case was missing a corner, and one of the hinges was broken to the point that it barely closed around that beautiful piece of musical genius.
As it turns out, my mom hadn't realized those plastic anti-theft devices that CDs/cassettes used to come in had to be removed at the store, and the salesperson who sold her my very first cassette tape hadn't told her or removed it. I'm not sure what purpose my mom thought that long plastic piece served to music listening, but anyway. She apparently realized that piece was superfluous when she got home and had to beat the tape out of its plastic prison before wrapping it, resulting in a pitiful-looking cassette case.
But it didn't matter. I was going to listen to "Achy Breaky Heart" on the school bus on my Walkman, and everyone else was going to be so, so jealous.
What presents do you remember wanting the most as a child? Sound off in the comments below!
The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.
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