The 27 Best Things About Christmas in the ‘90s, From Festive Beanie Babies to Boy Band Holiday Albums

Well, you guys, we did it! We made it through the holiday season! Hopefully those of you who celebrate Christmas are all off making awesome new memories with your friends and family right now; that's where I am, and it's probably amazing. I say "probably" because I'm technically speaking to you from the past at the moment (no, I didn't achieve time travel; I just wrote this post ahead of time) — either way, though, I hope everyone is having as terrific a time as I expect I will be having once I finally get there. Or something. This is getting weird.

It's still Throwback Thursday, though, so let's not forget about all the Christmases that came before this one. If you, like me, were a child in the '90s who celebrated the holiday, odds are you have a lot of fond memories about it. And by fond, I really mean absolutely amazing. From Christmas music the way only '90s pop groups could sing it to special holiday episodes of all our favorite television shows, and from tasty treats to questionable décor choices, here are 27 awesome things I still look back on with great affection.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

1. Lisa Frank Penguins in Santa Hats

Because the only thing better than regular penguins in Santa hats was Lisa Frank penguins in Santa hats.

2. Slicing and Baking These Things:

Even if you also made homemade Christmas goodies from scratch, Pillsbury always had a place on the cookie plate, too. They were magical.

3. This Commercial:

christmasads on YouTube

The longest-running commercial Hershey has ever produced.

4. Festive Beanie Babies

This guy is available on eBay, if you want him.

5. Kevin McCallister

It wasn’t Christmas unless Kevin’s parents accidentally left him somewhere to fend for himself.

6. This Song:

basj1976 on YouTube

Or, y’know, the entirety of The Snowman. Both the book and the animated film were around long before the ‘90s — the book first saw publication in 1978 and the film aired for the first time in 1982 — but it was still essential holiday viewing when we were kids. Provided your local video store had the VHS of it, of course.

7. Everything on Nickelodeon

The Nicktoons of the ‘90s really did have the best holiday specials around, didn’t they?

8. Disney Christmas SingAlong Songs

Even if you had no idea how that partridge got into that pear tree, you had to sing along with Mickey about it anyway.

9. Awesome Holiday Movies

In addition to Home Alone and Home Alone 2, the ‘90s also saw the release of such classics as The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Santa Clause, the remake of Miracle on 34th Street starring Mara Wilson, and more.

10. Not-So-Awesome Holiday Movies

Of course, there's no accounting for Jingle All the Way. File that one under “So Bad It’s Good.” Or something.

11. Christmas Pikachu

12. A Charlie Brown Christmas

Or, if it was 1992, It’s Christmas Again, Charlie Brown.

13. Olive, the Other Reindeer

Dino Disco on YouTube

Because Olive was the best.

14. Seasonal Toys "R" Us and FAO Schwarz Catalogs

I didn’t even necessarily want any of the things in them — I just liked looking through them. Anyone else?

15. Boy Band Holiday Albums

NSYNCVEVO on YouTube

There’s so much going on in this video, I don’t even know what to do with it.

16. And Also Girl Band Holiday Albums

LupsandTnks on YouTube

The Spice Girls, TLC… take your pick.

17. Really, Just ‘90s Pop Group Holiday Albums in General

stephcarbs on YouTube

They were everywhere.

Speaking of…

18. Two Words: Mariah Carey

MariahCareyVEVO on YouTube

To be honest, I hate this song. But if there’s one tune that epitomizes Christmas in the ‘90s, it’s this one, sooooo… yeah. Here you go.

19. American Girl Holiday Sets

I dug Samantha’s the most, largely because it came with an actual, edible gingerbread house kit.

20. Hallmark Ornaments

Especially these ones.

21. Santa’s Little Helper

22. “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”

ElmoPatsyVEVO on YouTube

Fun fact: This macabre holiday tune, first recorded in 1979, managed to reach the top of both a list of Christmas songs everyone loves and a list of Christmas songs everyone hates in a 2007 survey. That's quite an achievement.

23. Christmas Episodes of Your Favorite Sitcoms

Full House, Boy Meets World, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Roseanne, Fresh Prince… so many to choose from!

24. Experiencing the Wonder of Old Rankin/Bass Christmas Specials

Not going to lie: A television screening of Rudolph’s Shiny New Year was an event I looked forward to all. Freakin’. Year. In a pre-DVD, pre-Internet era, Rankin/Bass’ vintage stop-motion animated Christmas movies weren’t exactly easy to get a hold of; Christmas was the one time of year I could pretty much have access to them, guaranteed. It was not an opportunity to be squandered.

25. Gussying Your Hair Up With Your Best Christmas Scrunchie

26. And Planting Yourself Under the Mistletoe, Lip Smacker in Hand

27. And Finally, Winding Down by Watching the Yule Log on TV for a While

Burrns Luciano on YouTube

There's a fireplace program on Netflix now. Just, y'know... FYI.

Images: kevin dooley, byronpeebles/Flickr; eBay (4); Giphy (9); American Girl Wiki