From John Hughes movies to big hair and tight jeans, the 1980s were a pop culture phenomenon. If you grew up in that decade, chances are you’re still a little stuck in the ’80s. I ought to know – I’ve hosted a podcast called Stuck in the ’80s since 2005. Yes, the podcast lasted longer than the decade itself. Over the years, I’ve interviewed so many ’80s icons from Adam Ant to Martha Quinn to Steve Perry. When it comes to celebrating everything ’80s, here are my go-to ’80s gifts.
A true original
Atari – is there any word that brings more joy to your heart than this one? Memories flood back to the Atari 2600 game unit you begged your parent for as a Christmas gift. And when you unwrapped it, tears of joy streamed down your cheeks. The old-school game-maker is back with this “flashback” console that looks nearly identical to the 2600 contraption – complete with two joysticks. It’s play-and-play, so don’t sweat all the usual conversion boxes. It includes 101 games already built in, including Asteroids, Battlezone, Centipede, Millipede, Missile Command, Super Breakout, Tempest and Warlords.
Did you know? The name “Atari” is from the Japanese word “Atari,” meaning “to hit a target.” Though many believe the Atari logo is based on the famed Mount Fuji, it was actually intended by its designer to look like the letter “A.”
Buy Now: Atari Flashback 7 Classic Console
A puzzling design
How cool is this? Rearrange the seven-piece of colored lights however you like – it’s your lamp. The lights turn on automatically when stacked and turn off when disassembled. The LED lights are plugged into any standard outlet.
Did you know? As you probably guessed based on the arcade game’s Russian-type typography and special effects, Tetris was created by a software engineer in the then-Soviet Union in 1984. Because the game was easy to comprehend in any language or culture – just fill in completed lines of the pieces so they disappear – it was an instant hit among the earliest arcade games.
Buy Now: VEEKI Night Light for Kids
Keep it away from Biff
“Marty! This is heavy!” It’s the Grays Sports Almanac that allowed Biff to change the future in the ’80s classic “Back to the Future.” This version, thankfully, doesn’t have the results of every sports game from 1950 to 2000, but rather it provides 120 lined pages for use as a notebook or journal. Several pages of facts and quotes about the movie are inside as well.
Did you know? Michael J. Fox, who played Marty McFly, is 10 days younger than Lea Thompson who plays his mother. He’s almost three years older than his on-screen father Crispin Glover. Biff’s catchphrases – “Make like a tree and get outta here” and “Butthead” – were improvised by actor Tom Wilson who still constantly gets approached by fans to repeat his famous lines.
Buy Now: Grays Sports Almanac
A summer to remember
Kellerman’s was the summer resort in the Catskills that served as the setting for the 1987 movie starring Jennifer Grey and the late Patrick Swayze. “The time of your life” is obviously a salute to the film’s anthemic song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” which was later voted No. 86 on the American Film Institute’s “100 Years, 100 Songs” list. It’s available in three colors and four sizes. We recommend you wear it with jeans while carrying a watermelon.
Did you know? The scenes at Kellerman’s were shot at the Mountain Lake Lodge in Virginia. The resort honors the film by holding annual “Dirty Dancing” weekends, where guests can stay at the resort, take dance lessons and enjoy other activities based on the movie.
Buy Now: Yimoya Kellerman’s Mountain Resort T Shirt
Hey, you guys!
Few movies create that warming feeling of nostalgia like 1985’s “The Goonies.” In it, a group of misfit kids follow an ancient map in search of long-lost pirate treasure. Think of it as “Raiders of the Lost Ark” only with younger actors and plenty of laughs. The themed version of Monopoly features custom tokens (little girl’s bike, copper bones, gold doubloon, statue of David, Willy’s eye patch, skull and crossed bones) along with other unique changes to the regular board game. Astoria, Oregon, awaits you!
Did you know? According to actor Sean Astin, he was allowed to keep the treasure map used in the movie. But several years later his mother Patty Duke discovered it, thought it was just a crinkled piece of paper, and threw it in the trash bin.
Buy Now: Monopoly® The Goonies
A symbol of the decade
Though it’s considered perhaps the ultimate icon of our decade, the Rubik’s Cube was actually invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor Ernő Rubik and originally called “The Magic Cube.” This version, while not entirely official, looks identical to the original but features a smooth turning, anti-pop structure so it can be twisted faster. After all, speed is the key to mastering the cube.
Did you know? When the cube first hit the marketplace, most people could only solve one or two sides at most, so books were published featuring various solutions. At one point in 1981, three of the Top 10 best-selling books in the United States were books on solving Rubik’s Cube.
Buy Now: Smooth Turning Magic Cube
A hairstyle to remember
“Cha, cha, cha, chia!” Every ’80s teen and adult remembers that familiar commercial jingle. Just smear the chia seeds on the head of Bob Ross – the late, great TV host and artist – and watch his distinctive hairstyle slowing grow into place. Other ’80s era icons are available in chia form too including Burt Reynolds, David Hasselhoff, Pee-Wee Herman, Richard Simmons, Weird Al and more.
Did you know? Bob Ross was a true Floridian having been born in Daytona Beach and then raised in Orlando. He learned to paint while serving in the Air Force and hosted the TV show “The Joy of Painting” from 1983 to 1994. A longtime smoker, he died in 1995 in Orlando due to complications from lymphoma.
Buy Now: Chia Pet Bob Ross with Seed Pack
Dated but dazzling
Oh wow, a real “Member’s Only” jacket. We thought you could only see these in fashion museums – or on YouTube videos of the early days of MTV where veejay Mark Goodman was regularly seen clad in one. The Member’s Only jacket has the distinctive double-snap throat latch – which nobody used – and those signature shoulder epaulets – which everyone mocked. Still, there’s so much to love about this jacket – particularly when you need something original for an ’80s costume party.
Did you know? Though the fad is largely American, the design of the Member’s Only jacket is strictly European. It was created in 1975 and won fans in America after a slew of celebrity endorsements including some from Anthony Geary from the TV soap “General Hospital” who said, “When you put it on, something happens.”
By Now: Members Only Original Iconic Racer Jacket
Thank you for being a friend
Light a candle in remembrance of our “Golden Girls,” – Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia. These prayer candles have white wax and high-quality gloss labels. They’re 8 inches tall and can burn for 100 hours. That’s plenty of time to watch a couple of seasons of your favorite TV show.
Did you know? Actress Bea Arthur initially resisted efforts to be cast in the series, which ran from 1985 to 1992. She saw it as redundant for her and Rue McClanahan to essentially reprise their roles from the series “Maude,” with Betty White basically reprising her role from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” McClanahan and White swapped roles and Arthur finally agreed to join.
Buy Now: Set of 4 Golden Girls Celebrity Prayer Candles
That’s how portable looked back then
Here’s the answer to your first question: Yes, it really works. This “boombox” has a working cassette player, AM/FM radio and shortwave radio inside. There’s also a built-in microphone – something less common with portable stereos in the ’80s. Other time-defying features include Bluetooth compatibility, USB port, and a micro SD card. It’s powered by a 120-volt power cable (included) or rechargeable battery (also included).
Did you know? Boomboxes were invented in the Netherlands but soon spread to Japan. In the late 1970s, Panasonic, Sony and GE brought them to the U.S. market. In the 1989 Spike Lee movie “Do The Right Thing,” Radio Raheem carried a giant boombox throughout the movie. It was a Promax Super Jumbo boombox, which later the estate of the late film critic Gene Siskel would sell in an auction for $9,375.
Buy Now: Retro Boombox Cassette Player AM/FM Shortwave Radio