50 Nostalgic Things That Will Make Millennials Smile19 Jun 2023
Many technologies, products, and entertainment experience significant changes over time, and millennials don't think too much about elements of their past. But after reading this article, you will not avoid nostalgia and a smile will appear on your face.
Before DVDs became the norm, video cassettes reigned supreme. However, they were far from compact in comparison. In fact, each VHS tape was roughly the size of a decent book, leading many to store them alongside their book collections. As shown in the image, bookcases often became the designated spot for housing these bulky tapes. There was a certain satisfaction in amassing a substantial collection, akin to collecting books. After all, movies can be seen as virtual stories, sharing a common bond with literature.
The Six Flags Guy
If you belong to the millennial generation, it's highly likely that you vividly recall Mr. Six from the multitude of comical Six Flags commercials, unless you somehow managed to avoid them throughout your entire childhood. These advertisements seemed to dominate the commercial breaks, leaving a lasting impression that makes it difficult for many of us to watch them again. Surprisingly, the role of Mr. Six, a remarkably old and somewhat eerie character, was portrayed by a British dancer and choreographer named Danny Teeson. It's a testament to the remarkable makeup and transformation involved in bringing the character to life.
The P.E. Sit and Reach Test
In the bygone era of physical education, there existed a test that was deemed satisfactory if you possessed flexibility, while less enjoyable if your shoulders were a bit stiffer. Regardless, it served as a prevalent measure of physical fitness in schools. While it might still be in use today, its popularity as a widespread test has likely diminished. Whether or not anyone holds fond memories of this test remains uncertain, but nevertheless, it stands as a reminder for the millennial generation when reflecting on the days of yore.
@How to Perform the Sit and Reach test/PolyFit CP/YouTube.com
The Windows XP Background
It's true, there's no escaping the iconic Windows desktop wallpaper featuring the serene rolling green hills. It's a nostalgic image etched in the memory of every millennial who has ever owned a Windows computer. And while we're on the topic, let's not forget the unforgettable Windows sounds and alerts that are permanently etched in our minds. They have become part of our collective millennial soundtrack, evoking memories of using Windows products throughout our lives.
The Original Emojis
Emojis have become effortlessly accessible and widely used nowadays. However, during the millennial childhood era, utilizing keyboard shortcuts was the norm—an experience that may be challenging for today's youth to envision. It was an inefficient and pixelated process, but that's simply how things were in the past. This serves as a reminder that the activities kids engage in today are not entirely novel, as emojis themselves have a longer history than many realize.
@Meanings of All Simple Emoticons | Part 1 | How to Type Emoticons in Text Messages & Comments/WindD/YouTube.com
TV With a Built-In VCR
Oh, how can we forget those miniature televisions with built-in VCRs?! It's likely that many of you have completely overlooked these TVs. Back in the day, these compact (albeit bulky) devices were considered absolutely mind-blowing, especially if you were fortunate enough to have one all to yourself in your bedroom! Snuggling up in bed with a warm cup of hot chocolate and popping in your beloved Disney movie was truly a delightful experience. We can't be the only ones who indulged in this, right?
@RCA TV VCR Combo System - Tube Television with a Built-in VHS player Product Demo/Spencertified/YouTube.com
School Book Fairs
While it's true that school book fairs still exist, it's undeniable that their popularity has diminished over time. In the past, these events were widespread in almost every elementary and middle school, likely due to the fact that not every student had a smartphone. Book fairs hold a special place in the memories of most millennials, as they provided a wonderful opportunity to acquire interesting books at affordable prices. Their recollection tends to evoke a sense of nostalgia and fondness, given the excitement and accessibility they offered during those formative years.
Creating CDs using a computer
Now, here's a task that today's kids won't have to tackle. Millennials had the experience of finding blank CDs and burning their own music onto them using a computer's disk drive (which is becoming less common these days!). In the early days of CDs, there was no going back once you burned a playlist — no room for alterations. Surprisingly, some of us still resort to burning CDs today, especially if our cars have a CD player but lack an auxiliary cord.
@How to Insert CD into Dell Laptop Computer/Knowledge Hunte/YouTube.com
CD Binders of Music Past
In the era predating digital music, CDs reigned supreme. And before the concept of playlists, there were CD binders, serving as the epitome of old-school music storage and organization. Simply mentioning them is likely to trigger nostalgia in anyone who had the firsthand experience of using one. However, the charm of CD binders quickly faded away when CDs were haphazardly stored, resulting in the dreaded ten-minute hunt to locate a specific album.
These confectionery delights, notorious for their impact on dental health
These sugary delights, known as teeth-decimating weapons of mass destruction, offered a delectable taste but had quite an impact on dental health. Indulging in one of these lollipops was a tempting choice, albeit not the most advisable. Nonetheless, tens of thousands of millennial children couldn't resist their allure, and it's understandable why. However, it's been years since we've come across one, suggesting that certain providers recognized their potential drawbacks when distributed to kids. In hindsight, their decision was likely a prudent one.
Robotic Dog Toys
During a time when automated toys were not as prevalent as they are today, the concept of a robot dog that could independently walk and bark seemed incredibly cool. Although it may appear rather basic by today's standards, it's important to acknowledge that commercials for these little robotic pets were ubiquitous during that era. Consequently, many parents likely found themselves dealing with persistent requests from their children. As for how many ultimately gave in to their children's pleas, that remains uncertain.
Actual Rolls of Film
While younger millennials may not have experienced it as much, older millennials can vividly recall the era when digital cameras were a relatively new phenomenon. Back then, one had to develop photos from rolls of film, a practice that has now become obsolete. Surprisingly, this memory doesn't feel as distant as it actually is. Nevertheless, we can't deny that we don't miss the laborious process that pictures used to demand. We're grateful that everything has transitioned to the digital realm, simplifying the way we capture and store memories.
The Burger King Xbox 360 Games
While it may not be a memory shared by everyone, it is worth mentioning the trend of fast-food chains releasing low-quality video games, which happened more frequently than one might expect in the past. Burger King, in particular, released games that were not particularly impressive, but it's worth noting that titles from McDonald's and other competitors were not much better. It's likely that this practice has faded away because modern consumers would prefer to play cutting-edge games available elsewhere, often at no cost. The availability of superior gaming options has rendered these fast-food chain games less appealing in comparison.
The MP3 Player
While it's true that there are still individuals who purchase MP3 players nowadays, the reality remains that they have become obsolete due to the capabilities of smartphones, which can perform the same function just as effectively. Nevertheless, MP3 players evoke memories for those in their twenties to thirties, as that was the era when they gained popularity. In the fast-paced world of consumer technology, devices limited to a specific purpose have largely become outdated. Nonetheless, the fondness for MP3 players persists, as they hold a special place in our hearts.
In the year 2000, two decades ago, the world of millennials experienced a transformative event with the release of The Sims by Microsoft Windows. Employing dimetric projection, this groundbreaking game provided an open-ended simulation of virtual characters known as Sims as they went about their daily lives in a suburban environment connected to SimCity. While creating avatars and virtual environments was not entirely novel during the late '90s and early 2000s, The Sims introduced a whole new universe that granted millennials an unparalleled level of control. And the most remarkable aspect? Even today, The Sims remains one of the highest-selling game franchises of all time.
Malcolm in the Middle
If you didn't personally experience being a middle child, this particular show may not have resonated with you as much. Nevertheless, it enjoyed significant popularity during its time and continues to be remembered for its standout moments, often immortalized as internet memes. Regardless, it serves as a nostalgic reminder of a more straightforward era. As they say, the future is now, but this show still holds a special place in the hearts of many individuals who have now grown into adulthood.
The Decline of the Powerful
Ah, Blockbuster—just mentioning its name evokes a flood of memories from a bygone era of media consumption. This relic held the title as the go-to destination for renting movies and games, gaining immense popularity and enjoying considerable success. Alas, its reign came to an end with the advent of Netflix. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable and memorable chapter in the entertainment industry. Interestingly, despite its decline, there exists at least one remaining Blockbuster store. How it manages to stay in business is a mystery that eludes us completely.
Facebook Via Flip Phone
When it comes to nostalgia, flip phones hold a special place, but some individuals tend to overlook the fact that Facebook existed before smartphones. Yes, it was indeed possible to access Facebook through a flip phone, although it was considerably more inconvenient. Many millennials can vividly recall this aspect of using technology. However, it's worth expressing gratitude for the advancements in technology that have made this particular aspect of our lives significantly easier. Back then, it was undeniably a hassle.
Exert Some Effort
If you have vivid memories of using manual window levers in cars, it's a sign that you've reached a certain age, and there's no denying it. The phrase "roll the window up" might sound foreign to kids born in the last decade who have only experienced power windows. However, for most millennials, those days are still fresh in their minds. There was a certain satisfaction in doing things manually back then, although it's hard to pinpoint exactly what made it enjoyable. Perhaps it's simply the nostalgia of simpler times that adds a touch of fondness to those memories.
Cardboard DVD Cases
Although it may sound peculiar, DVDs have become a thing of the past with the advent of convenient online streaming services. However, every millennial undoubtedly remembers the era when a trip to Target meant purchasing their favorite movies on DVD. While the later years saw the introduction of fully plastic DVD cases, there was a time when these films could be found in a cardboard DVD case.
That Crazy Frog
Recognize this familiar face? Now that you're setting your sights on him, it's likely that you do. There was a period in which Crazy Frog gained immense popularity on YouTube. Whether you adored his antics or found him rather grating, he undeniably left an indelible impression on millennial memory in one way or another. Surprisingly, Crazy Frog has experienced a minor resurgence on the internet recently. It's uncertain whether this news should evoke feelings of excitement or trepidation.
The Sony Discman
During the era when CDs dominated the music scene, portable listening devices were in demand to enjoy music on the go. However, there was an unavoidable limitation: these devices had to be larger than the CDs themselves. As a result, we saw the emergence of those boxy contraptions. Thankfully, the advent of MP3 players marked a significant improvement in portable music technology. With their compact size and ability to store numerous songs digitally, MP3 players provided a substantial leap forward in convenience and versatility.
Portable DVD Players
Nothing quite encapsulates the 2000s like the technology that preceded smartphones and similar devices. In those days, when DVDs played a pivotal role in portable entertainment, people relied on portable DVD players to enjoy their favorite movies on the go. It was an era that demanded a specific product for nearly every requirement. Fortunately, technology progressed to the point where we can now accomplish almost everything on a single device, greatly simplifying our lives. This advancement has also alleviated the burden of carrying multiple gadgets, resulting in lighter travel bags and enhanced convenience.
Secret Cheat Code Books for Games
There may be individuals who recall owning this specific book, while acknowledging that there were numerous others available. During a time when the internet didn't offer a readily available source of video game cheat codes, these books served as handy and affordable resources. Possessing one of these analog codebooks would grant you the esteemed title of the reigning gaming expert within your circle of friends. Regrettably, with the accessibility of cheat codes online, the need for such physical codebooks has become obsolete. Almost every cheat code ever created can now be easily found and accessed through online platforms.
Just Interesting, Jeeves
Prior to Google's dominance as the go-to search engine on the internet, there was Ask Jeeves. In fact, many individuals turned to Ask Jeeves before even considering Google. Although its design now appears outdated and the pixelation reflects the technological limitations of that era, it held its own appeal. However, we can appreciate how Google eventually took the lead, as it remains unrivaled as a universal search engine.
The Backstreet Boys
Classic bands are a thing of the past, without a doubt. Today's youngsters are unlikely to be familiar with them, particularly when it comes to the Backstreet Boys. However, most millennials vividly recall their heyday, acknowledging that both the band and ourselves have aged. It's worth noting that the Backstreet Boys were considered cool in their time, even if their appearance may appear a bit dorky by today's standards. After all, trends and perceptions evolve with time.
@Backstreet Boys - As Long As You Love Me (Official HD Video)/Backstreet Boys/YouTube.com
The Soda Bottle Lottery
In the past, major beverage companies such as Pepsi and Coke introduced a playful lottery element to their plastic bottle purchases. Customers would unscrew the cap and discover whether they had won a prize or not. Like typical lotteries, the majority of participants didn't win, but it added a small and enjoyable element to the act of purchasing a drink. Regrettably, this practice faded away some years ago, making today's beverage purchases rather ordinary and lacking the same level of excitement.
@The 90s Pepsi Contest That Turned Deadly/Bloomberg Originals/YouTube.com
The Original Cherry Coke Logo
In their quest for logo refinement, Coca-Cola once ventured into experimentation, leading to various logo options. One notable example is the original Cherry Coke logo, which differed significantly from its current iteration. Understandably, the company decided to make changes to align the logo with their overall brand image. While not completely disliking the original logo, it simply didn't exude the quintessential Coca-Cola aesthetic. It seems the company shared a similar sentiment and chose to update the logo accordingly.
Coming Soon to Own…
We can safely assume that as you read this, a familiar sound is already playing in your mind. It holds a special place in the memories of those who grew up in the '90s, as it is undeniably iconic. Comparable to the ear-shattering THX sound effect, this particular sound is deeply ingrained in the nostalgia of young millennials, evoking smiles as if it were yesterday.
The Many Wonders of Urkel
Urkel, a beloved TV character from the past, holds a prominent place in the memories of nearly every millennial. He personified the quintessential nerdy and dorky image that was prevalent in the '90s, often delivering humorous moments that resonated with audiences. As a relic of a bygone era, Urkel is cherished by many millennials for the joy and entertainment he brought to our television screens.
@Family Matters' Reginald VelJohnson Admits Working With Jaleel White Was ‘a Little Difficult’/Entertainment Tonight/YouTube.com
Heelys, Shoes With Wheels
It's highly unlikely that you'll come across a sign like the one depicted nowadays. Most likely, this can be attributed to the rapid decline in popularity of Heelys. The reason behind their fall from grace remains a mystery, as they were genuinely regarded as nifty footwear. However, it's not difficult to imagine that they posed certain hazards, which might have played a role in their diminished appeal. At present, these types of shoes are likely considered novelty items, given their scarcity in the market.
A Plethora of Cereal Commercials
While cereal commercials still exist in the present day, they have become less frequent and notably less memorable. However, for millennials, the commercials and mascots associated with their favorite cereals remain etched in their memories, even if they haven't encountered them in years. One iconic example is Apple Jacks, with its catchy slogan "be the winner, mon?" It makes you wonder what happened to those characters. Perhaps corporations realized that advertising cereal wasn't necessary as people would continue to buy it regardless.
@The Best Kellogg’s Apple Jacks Cereal Funny Commercials Ever! CinnaMon and Bad Apple Adventures/Funny Commercials/YouTube.com
Kudos Granola Bars
If you happen to be unfamiliar with or haven't heard of this particular product (although we find that a bit hard to believe), Kudos was a milk chocolate granola cereal bar created by Mars, Incorporated. Yes, the same company behind iconic treats like Twix, Milky Way, and Snickers. When it was first introduced, many people assumed these breakfast bars were a healthy choice because of their granola composition. However, despite their undeniable deliciousness, it's important to note that these bars were far from being nutritious.
The Starburst Berries and Cream Commercial
There was a guy, quite fond of berries and cream, who became quite the sensation. Frankly, we're not entirely sure if the commercial itself made much sense, but nonetheless, hordes of people enthusiastically quoted this peculiar advertisement once it hit the airwaves. Those who are old enough to recall that era are well aware of its immense popularity. On another note, one could argue that the berries and cream flavor of Starburst candy holds its own nostalgic value since it has become somewhat elusive and scarce in recent times.
@Starburst Commercial - Berries and Cream/FalsePower/ YouTube.com
The Good Old Cassette Tape
Cassette tapes hold a unique position in the history of audio recording, coming after vinyl records but preceding CDs. For many millennials, they evoke both fondness and, at times, a sense of dread, depending on their personal encounters with this technology. In the realm of nostalgia, cassette players also play a significant role. However, finding one of these devices in stores today can be quite a challenge, as they have become increasingly rare and have been largely replaced by digital music players.
Regardless of whether we openly acknowledge it or not, many of us find pleasure in indulging in a good read, even during our private moments in the bathroom. While newspapers or magazines suffice in such situations, there are individuals who crave a change of content from time to time. That's where Uncle John's Bathroom Reader comes into play—a collection of books filled with fascinating trivia and concise essays covering a wide range of miscellaneous topics, specifically intended for reading in the bathroom. It may sound peculiar at first, but these books were surprisingly captivating and had the potential to keep you engrossed for hours on the porcelain throne.
The Blue’s Clues Handy Dandy Notebook
While Blue's Clues continues to exist today, it's undeniable that the show has undergone changes that have altered its essence. Nevertheless, one enduring memory for the millennial generation is the iconic "handy dandy notebook," which made regular appearances in almost every episode, serving various purposes. Whether it was in the hands of Steve or his successor stars, fans of the show were treated to memorable moments when the handy dandy notebook played a pivotal role, making it nearly inseparable from the essence of the show itself.
@Notebook November - Sears Family Portrait Blue's Clues Handy-Dandy Notebook Review/gamerguy624/YouTube.com
ALF: The 1-800 COLLECT Spokesperson
Ah, ALF, the lovable alien from the planet Melmac. If you're not familiar with this furry character, let us jog your memory. ALF had his own sitcom that aired from 1986 to 1990, and even after the show concluded, his career didn't come to a halt. In fact, ALF became the face of a series of commercials for 1-800 COLLECT, a service that offered fixed-rate collect calling in the United States. While the concept may seem mundane, us millennials have vivid recollections of these commercials featuring the comedic extraterrestrial creature.
@TNT commercials [October 15, 2003]/RabbitFilmMakerTV/YouTube.com
Fruitopia, special drink
It's safe to say that Fruitopia didn't quite receive the recognition it deserved. The reasons behind its decline remain somewhat elusive. It's possible that it simply couldn't keep up with the competition, although identifying the exact competitors is uncertain. Nevertheless, millennials may fondly recall encountering these now-discontinued beverages in vending machines during their younger years. Interestingly, many nostalgic memories often revolve around things that are no longer present. In the case of Fruitopia, it's a bittersweet memory tinged with a flavorful taste.
Icebreakers Liquid Ice
In 2003, Ice Breakers, a brand owned by Hershey's, introduced a mint candy called Liquid Ice. These small, yet potent breath mints were truly remarkable. Just one of those little balls packed a punch equivalent to consuming an entire pack of Listerine strips at once. It quickly gained popularity and seemed to be a favorite among many. However, surprisingly, the product was discontinued only a year after its release, leaving us millennials wondering about the true reasons behind its discontinuation. The mystery still remains unsolved.
The Old YouTube App Logo
It's worth noting that apps, like any other form of technology, undergo transformations over time. When YouTube first debuted on smartphones, its appearance was quite distinct. The absence of the now-familiar red design elements is evident. With its resemblance to an older TV set, it's understandable why they opted to update its look as the years went by. Simply reminiscing about the early days of smartphones evokes nostalgia, and the older app designs and logos play a significant role in that nostalgic image.
L’Oréal’s Fish-Shaped Kid Shampoo
Credit must be given where it's due, and kudos to L'Oréal for ingeniously transforming a shampoo container into a bath toy. It was indeed a remarkable move. However, we can't help but question their claim that the shampoo was tear-free. Let's be honest, is there truly any shampoo that can guarantee a tear-free experience? Shampoo, when it comes into contact with the eyes, always has the potential to sting. That's just the reality of it. Nonetheless, we appreciate their effort. Interestingly enough, if you're truly interested, you can still find these fish-shaped bottles available for purchase from certain online sources.
Blowing on Game Cartridges
Whether you owned a cartridge-based game system like the NES, Nintendo 64, or GameBoy, millennials of all ages can recall the familiar ritual of blowing on the cartridges to ensure they worked properly. It almost seemed like a necessary step for smooth gameplay. However, upon reflection, it's possible that the act of blowing on the cartridges was more psychological than practical. Regardless, there's no denying that it gave us a sense of assurance and often seemed to do the trick.
A Game of Minesweeper
Calling all older millennials! Let's take a moment to reminisce about Minesweeper, the quintessential game that was available on almost every computer and provided endless entertainment. While considered archaic by today's standards, it held a special place in our hearts and was a go-to option for passing the time. In a world where the only other competition was Solitaire, many of us found ourselves engrossed in either one of these games, making them a significant part of our computer gaming experience.
Sports Drinks in Glass Bottles
Glass bottles, once prevalent, have become relics of the past, largely replaced by plastic alternatives. While glass bottles still exist, it's safe to say that it's been quite some time since Gatorade was available in that form of packaging. Needless to say, the transition to plastic has been the norm. On another note, considering the picture in question, perhaps we should also view Michael Jordan as a nostalgic figure. After all, he remains an iconic sportsman from bygone years.
Billy the Answer Head
It's worth noting that the recognition of the show to which this item belongs holds its own significance. Figure it Out was a well-liked game show from the past, and this particular prop, known as Billy the Answer Head, played a crucial role in the first four seasons. Recalling this somewhat unsettling relic from the past serves as a reminder that previous decades were characterized by a certain level of peculiarity. It underscores the notion that those bygone eras were, in fact, quite peculiar in their own right.
Old School Consoles
Whether it's the Nintendo 64, the original Xbox, PlayStation 1, or the GameCube, the consoles of the past hold a special place in the memories of most millennials. These iconic platforms were the go-to devices for enjoying our favorite games. For those who are slightly younger, the PlayStation 2 or Xbox 360 may bring back nostalgic gaming moments. And let's not forget the cool intros that consoles used to have when you powered them on. Those intros had a unique charm that is hard to replicate in today's gaming landscape. It's safe to say they don't make them quite like they used to.
Nokia, the Unstoppable Mobile Device
Before the era of smartphones took over, Nokia phones were a ubiquitous presence in the hands of almost everyone, or at least someone in our social circles. Renowned for their exceptional durability, these devices seemed impervious to damage. Nowadays, they have become more of a nostalgic meme than practical devices. It's undeniable that phones are no longer as rugged as they once were. However, their increased versatility and usefulness more than compensate for their diminished toughness.
Kit Kat Foil Packaging
Over time, packaging undergoes significant transformations, and a prime example of this is Kit Kats, which were once wrapped in foil—an element that is rarely seen in today's packaging. The reason behind Kit Kat's change in packaging remains a mystery, but perhaps it was driven by a desire to reduce costs associated with using foil. Regardless of the motive, this alteration is something that individuals born in the last two decades would be unfamiliar with, making it a fitting addition to this compilation of millennial memories.
Catherine Zeta-Jones as the T-Mobile Girl
Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones has established herself as a prominent figure in the entertainment industry through successful films like The Mask of Zorro and Chicago. However, for many millennials, Catherine will forever be remembered as the iconic T-Mobile international spokesperson. With her mesmerizing beauty and delightful accent, she undeniably commanded attention in those television commercials. While T-Mobile has since introduced a new spokesperson in Carly Foulkes, Catherine will always be recognized as the trailblazer who paved the way for others in that role.
@Catherine Zeta Jones | T-Mobile | Television Commercial | 2009/Analog Memories/YouTube.com