35 Nostalgic Pictures That Perfectly Capture What Christmas Was Like In The 1980s For Elder Millennials And Young Gen X'ers

1.Being excited the Saturday before Christmas because you knew all your favorite Saturday morning cartoons would be airing their Christmas episodes:

the smurfs decorating a christmas tree
Hanna-barbera / ©Hanna-Barbera/Courtesy Everett Collection

2.Watching random Christmas made-for-TV specials that felt like fever dreams:

  Courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection / Everett Col, Ruby-spears Productions / ©Ruby-Spears Productions/Courtesy Everett Collection
Courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection / Everett Col, Ruby-spears Productions / ©Ruby-Spears Productions/Courtesy Everett Collection

3.And of course, watching lots of random Hanna-Barbera Christmas specials:

Hanna-Barbera Christmas special
Hanna-barbera / ©Hanna-Barbera/Courtesy Everett Collection

4.Your mom or aunt who would always wear fancy Christmas sweaters — which always had shoulder pads sewn into them and sequins — to holiday parties and on Christmas Day:

sweater with shoulder pads

5.Having one of those stuffed animal Santa's whose face you couldn't see as a decoration:

  TylersTreasuresA2Z / Via etsy.com

6.And making your parents take you to McDonald's so that you could get the holiday edition Muppet Babies stuffed animals:

three muppet babies

7.Having that one neighbor that would set up the light-up Nativity scene as part of their outdoor lights:


8.Or having that one neighbor who thought, Why not more? and decorated with every molded plastic outdoor Christmas light decoration they made:

an entire front yard covered with lit-up christmas decor
Star Tribune Via Getty Images / Star Tribune via Getty Images

9.Decorating your Christmas tree with colorful string lights that also had reflectors on the bulbs to make them extra bright...


10....lots of gaudy tinsel and garland...

A young girl decorating a Christmas tree
Classicstock / Getty Images

11....and/or also with pearl garlands if your family wanted a ~fancy~ tree:

Closeup of a Christmas tree with pearls
William Nation / Getty Images

12.Eating Holidays chocolate candy, which was just M&M's (the red and green ones) painted with trees and bells on it:

the commercial of the m&ms in a bowl
FM1156/ Mars, Incorporated / Via youtube.com

13.Having the Fruity Pebbles Christmas commercial play every 10 minutes and knowing the whole thing by heart:

14.Hanging acrylic Christmas stockings on the mantle that always felt very flimsy and were probably very huge fire hazards:

Christmas stockings

15.Decorating with plastic holly wreaths that hurt your hand 'cause it was a little sharp:

christmas wreath

16.Seeing your family's kitchen decked out in Christmas country geese towels, pot holders, and accessories:

country geese on kitchen towels

17.And also having strictly red candles as part of the decorations around the house:

Red candles
Horst Ossinger/picture alliance via Getty Images

18.Not being allowed to ring the ceramic bell decoration (that served no purpose really) because that thing was fragile AF:

santa on a ceramic bell

19.Being a little scared when watching Mickey's Christmas Carol, 'cause it was a tad darker than you expected:

scrooge shrinking away from a ghost

20.Getting Christmas stickers as a treat if you went with your parents to Hallmark:

care bear cards

21.And getting Christmas-themed Scratch 'n Sniff Stickers at school — that usually only smelled of either pine or peppermint:

ebay.com, ebay.com

22.Being told by at least one older person in your family to be grateful for your gifts because in the USSR they didn't get gifts or celebrate Christmas:

santa with a russian doll
Igor Golovniov / Igor Golovniov/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

23.Burning your hands if you helped put up the outdoor Christmas lights while they were on (those suckers got HOT):

christmas lights

24.Your parents spending over a week writing Christmas cards and checking off the names of the people who were getting one off a list:

happy holiday cards

25.And having your parents freak out if someone not on their list sent them a card — which meant they had to now write one back to them:

christmas cards

26.Listening to Time Life's Jingle Bell Rock album over and over:

Jingle Bell Rock

27.Somehow not realizing how creepy the cartoon characters were in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (they have made soooo much progress with that since then):

  Nbc / NBCUniversal via Getty Images
Nbc / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

28.Circling all the toys you wanted from the Sears Wish Book...

Christmas wish book

29....and Toys "R" Us Christmas Dream Book in hopes that your parents would see it and secretly buy it for you for Christmas:

Christmas Dream Book 1985
Geek. Dad. Life./ youtube.com

30.Going over to your grandma's house and seeing her decorate with Christmas-themed tin ashtrays (if she smoked)...

santa ashtray

31....a bowl of dusty ribbon candy that you were pretty sure she had had since 1971...

bunch of ribbon candy
Amandalee / Getty Images/iStockphoto

32....and that ceramic light-up Christmas tree that burned you if you touched it:

Ceramic Christmas tree

33.Having all the presents under the tree be wrapped in very shiny and gaudy wrapping paper — also, it being strictly wrapped boxes 'cause gift bags weren't really a thing:

Christmas presents under the tree
H. Armstrong Roberts / Getty Images

34.Crossing your fingers that your parents would get you a Nintendo:


35.And lastly, receiving a Cabbage Patch doll even if you didn't ask for one 'cause it was THE GIFT to give:

Cabbage Patch dolls
Bettmann/Corbis / Getty Images