Every time a new holiday comes up, it seems so common to find yourself saying things like “that’s not what we did when I was a kid” or “I remember when…” The truth is that when it comes to celebrating holidays a lot has changed, and a lot hasn’t.
- Decorations and costumes have certainly gotten a lot better, and lights are no longer reserved for December.
- You can find Halloween lights and Valentines lights, and before you know it we’ll probably have Labor Day lights.
- The greeting card industry has continued to keep up with all the pop culture trends.
- Instead of New Kids and Rainbow Bright on Valentines, now we have Justin Beiber and, well, Rainbow Bright.
- Kids still make those little Valentines card holders at school and kids still keep their fingers crossed that their childhood crush remembers to drop a little white paper envelope into that box.
- There are still plenty of neighborhood kids burning their fingers with sparklers at home on the 4th of July, but the bigger city-wide celebrations are still the best way to see fireworks.
- Ryan Seacrest is now the face of New Years Eve.
Before Ryan Seacrest took over the Rockin Eve celebration, Dick Clark was the man that started everyone’s year off right. That ball dropped in Times Square and all eyes would be glued to the TV, counting down along with Dick Clark, to the exciting new year to come.
School Valentines haven’t changed that much over the years. The subjects on the card may have changed, but the little cardboard greetings are still a staple of the American Valentines experience.
The Cadbury Creme Egg premiered in 1963 and has been a staple of Easter every since. Love it or hate it, this is the only candy that is synonymous with Easter. It used to be that Peeps were a good Easter competition, but the little marshmallow treats have expanded into many other holidays, leaving the Creme Egg as the Easter icon.
Every major brand has always gotten in on the holiday fun, and that hasn’t changed. Like these egg-wraps from the Smurfs. This sure made coloring your eggs easy… and less fun.
St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day is now a day of green beer and other drunken shenanigans. Back in the 1980’s it was a day for… green beer and other drunken shenanigans. But at least we had Good Luck Bear as the symbol of all things Irish and Lucky.
If you wanted to decorate for any holiday or birthday, then it started with a role of this stuff. If you wanted to be really fancy, you got two colors and twisted them together. In fact, there is probably still some Scotch tape and crepe paper up in the corners of my parent’s house from parties more than 30 years ago.
4th of July
No 4th of July celebration would be complete without rocking some red, white and blue clothing. There were flag shirts, and flag shorts, and flag skirts and flag dresses. This was the height of celebratory fashion.
Halloween Trick or Treating
If you wanted to be really cool, you went Trick or Treating with one of these buckets from McDonalds. Nevermind that it was so small that you had to run home and empty it twice during the night. It was all about the glow-in-the-dark pail that you got to carry around as your status symbol.
Costumes were either homemade or made of plastic. Thick plastic smocks with plastic masks were all the rage. You could barely see, barely breathe, and you got hot and sweaty under those masks. However, somehow you knew you looked just like Alf when you wore his mask.
No Thanksgiving is complete without making a few of these. There is probably still one stuck to your mother’s refrigerator somewhere behind your old report cards.
These cookie cutters came for all holidays. The best part was rolling out the sugar cookie dough, stamping these out, then getting all the dough stuck to the cutter and having to start over. I don’t think we ever had an actual full cookie imprint of one of these.
Every show had a Christmas special, and the best part of the weeks leading up to Christmas was when the family gathered around the TV to watch the new specials that would be on.
And just about every band had a Christmas Album too. Mixed with holiday standards and a few new favorites, all the big bands would debut an album for you to open on Christmas morning, listen to all day, then forget about for the rest of the year.
The Christmas season started with this book. You’d go through the pages and circle the items you most wanted. Or if you were really creative, you’d cut your favorites out and glue them to your list for Santa, that way you knew for sure that he’d know exactly what you wanted that year.
And, to wrap up the holiday countdown… this happened. Not much else to say about this one. But this happened. Christmas in the 1980’s.