It’s Noveeeeeeemmmmberrrrrr! And in our house, that means “Jingle Bells” plays on Pandora. The Grinch plays on the TV. And red and green and glitter and gold start to pop up around the house. Yep, my friends. I’m one of those. We still enjoy the other fall holidays and traditions, so don’t hate, but Christmastime is hands-down my fave, and I stretch it out as long as I can. 

One of the reasons I think I love this time of year so much is because I had such memorable childhood Christmases. My mom went all out with no fewer than five snowmen and/or Santas in every room of the house, and had a tray of homemade cookies for every person she knew. She shopped year-round with a meager budget, ensuring my sister and I woke up to a pile of gifts that engulfed our tiny living room. 

And another reason? Probably because I grew up during THE BEST decades of the 20th century. And if you disagree, I have just one thing to say: Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas album. Boom. That’s it. Hands down there is no better holiday music, and I will fight you over it.

But Christmases in the 90s extended far beyond the glory of “All I Want for Christmas is Youuuuuuu…” They were totally awesome for so many other reasons.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we?

If you were a 90s girl, you may have loved N’Sync more than you loved Mariah, and that’s cool. So throughout the holiday season, you may or may not have also popped their Christmas album into your Discman. Or 98 Degrees. Or Hanson. Or all of the above while you wrote out your wish list. 

And that list likely included the Dream Phone, a Tamagotchi, and, if you were aiming super high, your own VHS recorder. 

Other possible wishes likely included a Bop-It and a Furby. Maybe you had a brother who prayed to the Santa gods for a Playstation but also thought a Super Soaker and new Game Boy would be rad.

Or maybe you had annoying little siblings who really wanted Tickle Me Elmos and Beanie Babies, and your mom probably came home exhausted with a black eye after fighting someone named Carol for the last ones on the shelf.

In the end, if you just got the jeans you wanted from Abercrombie, or a gift card to Abercrombie, or really just any reason to go into an Abercrombie, your Christmas would be made (even if you ended up buying most of your stuff on sale at the Gap like your friend Brittany did.)

If you were a 90s girl, you were probably suckered into watching Home Alone (again) and The Santa Clause (again) while everyone crammed onto one couch and ate cheeseballs or maybe some Danish butter cookies your aunt sent over in a Santa tin.

And your whole family would laugh hysterically when that one bad guy gets whacked in the face with the iron.

And your younger brother walked around throughout December saying “Keep the change ya filthy animal!” Ugggggghhh. Every year, right? But halfway through, you’d find yourself laughing, too, and realize that your family’s not so bad, especially if they let you watch the hotness of Jonathan Taylor Thomas in I’ll Be Home for Christmas next or Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas in the basement with your friends that weekend. 

But you also knew your younger siblings would get to pick next and they’d fight over the Muppet Christmas Carol and Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas, and your mom would have a turn and she’d totally pick some romantic comedy that makes like zero sense like While You Were Sleeping. 

The best thing about 90s Christmases though was that we all learned the real meaning of Christmas from the families who told us the truth—the Tanners. And, if we missed TGIF because we were at the mall looking for a new Christmas outfit at Contempo Casuals or Limited Too, the Saved by the Bell cast would likely deliver a similar message the following morning. 

And, since 90s kids watched real, actual TV because we didn’t have Minecraft or Fortnite or YouTube to watch Ryan’s Toy Review, we also got to experience classic Christmas commercials like the one with Hershey’s Kisses dancing to “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” or the one with a bunch of polar bears drinking Coke, or my all-time fave—this Campbell Soup ad. Man, our kids are missing out! 

90s Christmases rocked. They really did.

There was no joy greater than circling what you wanted or folding the pages of catalogs that came in the mail and hoping Santa would bring you that Doodle Bear or those roller blades or the Talkboy tape recorder Kevin McAllister used to scare away the robbers. 

90s kids were forced to soak in the magic as we got dragged to the mall with our parents to shop for a gift for Grandma at Sears. 90s kids didn’t have the Elf on the Shelf or Amazon wish lists. We had advent calendars with tiny doors we got to open every day to reveal . . . well, not much of anything, really. But it was still exciting. Also, we had this tree, and we fought over who got to plug it in every night.

And on Christmas day, the 90s kid would then go over to Grandma’s to give her the new tablecloth or CorningWare your mom bought, and you’d have to eat pot roast, but at least you knew Grandma would sneak you a few Ferrero Roches and maybe a macaroon before you opened the new reindeer scarf she knitted to match the reindeer hat she made last year. 

And you’d say thank you and promise to wear it. Because it was Grandma. 

Honestly, I wouldn’t trade a single one of my 90s Christmases for all the modern technology and Justin Bieber and Michael Buble holiday music we have today. I still blast Mariah. I still get my kids advent calendars. And I still drag myself to the mall, just to walk around. So there’s no more Sam Goody or Sharper Image. In fact, as malls die, there isn’t really much of anything anymore.

But part of the magic of the 90s Christmas was having to go out into the world and interact with other people.

It was about standing in line behind a mom writing a check and putting her kids’ gifts on layaway. It was about wanting that Abercrombie sweater and knowing you’d probably get the JCPenney one instead. But that was OK. Because choosing the JCPenney one meant your parents probably could afford to get you the Dream Phone after all. And it was totally worth it. 

I may not have a Discman anymore or a ceramic plug-in tree, and my list may include things like “new towels” and “Kohls leggings” now, but the magic and memories of my 90s childhood are still there. And for that, I am grateful. 

Recommendations in this post contain affiliate links. Her View From Home may receive a small commission if you choose to purchase.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Karen Johnson

Karen Johnson is a freelance writer who is known on social media as The 21st Century SAHM. She is an assistant editor at Sammiches and Psych Meds, staff writer and social media manager for Scary Mommy, and is the author of I Brushed My Hair Today, A Mom Journal for Mostly Together Moms. Follow Karen on Facebook, Twitter , and Instagram

I’m a Mom Who Reads and is Raising Readers

In: Living, Motherhood
Mom with infant daughter on bed, reading a book, color photo

Since childhood, I’ve been lost in a world of books. My first true memory of falling in love with a book was when my mom read aloud Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. With each voice she used, I fell deep into the world of imagination, and I’ve never seemed to come up for air. My reading journey has ebbed and flowed as my life has gone through different seasons, but I’ve always seemed to carry a book with me wherever I went. When I entered motherhood and gave my whole life over to my kids, I needed something that...

Keep Reading

You Have to Feel before You Can Heal

In: Living
Depressed woman in bed

“Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.” -Cheryl Strayed How do you heal? You let the pain pass through you. You feel your feelings....

Keep Reading

I Didn’t Know How Much I Needed Other Mothers

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Two mom friends smiling at each other

I read somewhere the other day that when a child is born, a parent is too. In my first few months being a mother, I’m learning just how odd that sentiment is. In an instant, I became someone new. Not only that, but I became part of a group I didn’t realize existed. That sounds wrong. Of course, mothers existed. But this community of mothers? I had no idea. It took us a long time to get where we are today. Throughout our journey with infertility, I knew in my heart I was meant to be a mother. I knew that...

Keep Reading

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

Please Don’t Tell a Couple Trying to Conceive to Just Relax

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Black-and-white photo of medical supplies

This is a plea. A plea to those who know someone who is struggling with infertility. So, if you’re reading this, this is directed right to you. Please, for the love of everything, when someone tells you they are struggling to conceive, do not tell them to “just relax.” I know it’s the cliche, default term most blurt out because they don’t know what else to say. It’s awkward to discuss for some. I’m 10000% positive it is coming from a good place and is meant to be calming and reassuring, and you really do believe it’s true because a...

Keep Reading

My Husband Having a Stroke at 30 Wasn’t in Our Plans

In: Faith, Living
Husband and wife, selfie, color photo

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV) This verse in the book of Jeremiah has long been a favorite of mine. In fact, it’s felt relevant across many life events. Its simple, yet powerful reminder has been a place of solace, perhaps even a way to maintain equilibrium when I’ve felt my world spinning a bit out of control. In this season of starting fresh and new year intentions, I find great comfort in knowing...

Keep Reading

That Mom at the Playground Could Become Your Best Friend

In: Friendship, Motherhood
Young mother sitting on bench looking at playground

I didn’t realize I was that mom at the playground. That mom who always smiles at the other moms even if she doesn’t know them. That mom who often makes small talk while she pushes her toddler on the swings. That mom who strikes up a conversation while sitting on the bench watching her older kid play. That mom who can often tell whether you are interested in talking to her or not. And if you don’t seem interested, that’s okay. Because maybe you’re preoccupied with other things going on in your life right now. Maybe you’re overwhelmed with the...

Keep Reading

The Shattering Grief of Suicide

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Sad person sitting in darkened hallway, black and white image

Navigating through my second Christmas without my dad, the weight of grief seemed even heavier this year. In fact, everything felt and looked different to me. As I unwrapped the ornaments and cards he gave me over the years, a tidal wave of madness and sadness engulfed me. I know many feel sadness and grieve during these times, but let me just say . . . suicide is a different type of grief. My vibrant, happy, physically fit dad committed suicide on April 30th, 2022. There, I said it. In the aftermath, a myriad of emotions consumed me. One perplexing...

Keep Reading

“I Can’t Do This Anymore,” He Said—Then Everything Changed

In: Living, Marriage
Woman with head in hands

The questions are very much valid. Did I know when I married him? Did I know when we struggled with infertility and trying to become parents? Did I know when we unexpectedly became pregnant with our second child? When did you know your husband was an alcoholic? The answer is simple yet so complex, I pretty much knew from the first year, yet I was in complete denial. When I met him, he was just my type—a bad boy with a bad reputation, yet so cute! On our third date or so, I saw how much he could drink and how...

Keep Reading

Mean Girls Aren’t Like the Ones You See In Movies

In: Friendship
Woman whispering in another woman's ear

Mean girls aren’t like Regina George. If they were, it would be easy to know to stay away from them. Not all mean girls are wealthy, image-conscious, stick-thin blondes. They also don’t always have the reputation of being “mean girls.” The problem is that mean girls are way worse than Regina George because they don’t look like mean girls. Mean girls can be your “friends.” Mean girls know how to gain and betray your trust. They are the girls who, on a rough day, ask you what’s going on not because they care about you, but so they can have...

Keep Reading