here’s nothing like looking to the past for fond memories, remembering the now deemed tacky fads and trends we once thought were so cool, and bathing in the nostalgia for a time that’s passed. For millennials, this nostalgia for specifically childhood memorabilia and cultural objects seems to be budding at a rate that is taking the internet and world by storm, with many noting that millennials may be “the most nostalgic generation.” Why is this group so nostalgic for the past? Were the 90s that they grew up in somehow the best years to be alive, justifying their desire to relive and relish in the past?

Most people feel nostalgia for the past — reminiscing on the good times you’ve had is a normal experience that often comes with positive effects. If science says that nostalgia comes with notable and positive effects, then it has got to be a good thing to indulge in the times of yesteryear every now and then! So, to all the millennials looking to add a little bit of positive effects into their lives —  studies mention boosted self-esteem and the alleviation of existential threat, to name a few positive side-effects of nostalgia — we’ve come up with a few things that will hopefully bring much-needed joy in your lives. Though you might be sad to see the things that once brought you so much joy now gone, you can always find solace and comfort in your memories.

Photo of six Tamagotchi keychains on bed of paper grass
These cute virtual pets were the first tastes of responsibility for many young millennials. Image courtesy of Hypebeast.


For all of the lost and forgotten Tamagotchi out there who’ve become victims to millions of children’s neglect to feed some pixels on a screen.

Launched in 1996 by the Japanese toy maker Bandai, Tamagotchi quickly became a household name in America, where children across the country were spellbound by the tiny virtual pets that required you to feed, play with, and care for them regularly. According to the game’s many iterations of manuals, Tamagotchi are an alien species that you must hatch from an egg, sent from their home planets to see what Earth is like. The game developed a bit of notoriety, however, due to the pets eventually dying due to either old age or neglect from the player.

Millennials who were lucky enough to have a Tamagotchi to call their own likely remember sneaking the little devices into wherever they went, hanging them on backpacks, sharing their pets with friends in the cafeteria or on the playground. They were definitely a moment and should bring back some great memories of… pressing buttons to meet the demands of a virtual alien baby?

Image with text in different WordArt designs that are different colors, orientations, and fonts.Main text: "Make WordArt"
A PowerPoint could be taken to the next LEVEL with these bad boys. Image courtesy of Make WordArt.


The text has been written. All there’s left to do is highlight it and go through every WordArt format available to see which looks just right.

Being a millennial means being the first generation to really be able to grow up with computers as a daily aspect of their lives. This meant many things, but perhaps most importantly (not really) it meant that an entire generation of wannabe graphic designers was born. Every time you’d open a Word document, the rush of going through the WordArt presets to see squiggly, bold, and sometimes downright unreadable graphics making words look, well… like art!

Seeing WordArt might remind you of a killer PowerPoint you made as a sixth grader or a sweet cover you made for your three-ring binder, but unfortunately the updated versions of Microsoft Word no longer feature those iconic WordArt presets that we have all grown to be so fond of. But, don’t get too upset now — there is a website that can generate classic WordArt that will likely keep any millennial entertained for a good amount of time, enjoying the thrill of thinking that perhaps you will be the next big thing in PowerPoint presentation-making.

Photo of table with books displayed at a Scholastic Book Fair
Scholastic Book Fairs, also known as the best day of the school year for millennial children. Image courtesy of Bustle.

Scholastic Book Fairs

The most coveted event of the school year for children all across the United States — the book fair was MAJOR.

Something many people remember with especial sentiment from their childhoods is the pure joy that was reading as a child. While reading as an adult still is great, reading as a kid seemed so much more vivid and exciting — getting completely absorbed into a book, having a school library that gave you access to so many amazing stories, reading for what felt like hours on end and never feeling your attention falter for even a second. And then there was the Scholastic Book Fair.

Usually a weekly event at elementary schools across the country, the book fair was the magical time of year where your library or gymnasium was transformed into a small but impressively expansive collection of books and fuzzy pens and gifts for your mom that you and your classmates had the opportunity to purchase. Equipped with a five dollar bill from home or a coupon the school offered to every student, you were able to select some new adventure to get lost in and find a special something to remember as a kid. It was the best feeling in the world, walking out of school with a new Junie B. Jones or Magic Tree House book to add to your collection and get reading!

Photo of yellow tray with milk, macaroni and cheese, green Jello, and cheese pizza
No idea as to why square pizza tasted so good, but it really did. Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

School Lunches (The Good Ones)

Sure, there were some misses — I’m talking to you, questionably dry cheeseburger — but school lunches were sometimes inexplicably enjoyable.

Were you a packer or a buyer? The question may not seem relevant now, but as a kid it was kind of everything. (Not really, although it was a sort-of identity kids could rally around.) For this dose of nostalgia, I have to start off by apologizing to all of the kids who were packers since this is not one for them. School lunches were a point of contention for many millennials when they were students — they were easy to complain about but also easy to drool over, with certain items like Cosmic Brownies and ice cream cups taking the cake for the most popular treats.

And don’t forget about the actual lunches. Pizza day — something that it seems like former school children all over are familiar with — was always a hit, yet chicken tenders, cheese sticks, and those beef Fiestadas were additional favorites among the lunch goers. Even remembering the lesser loved items on your lunch tray can bring a wave of longing for those simple times. The scoop of weirdly sweet corn, carton of strawberry milk, orange juice you peeled just a bit of the top off to drink from all can bring a flood of memories.

Photo of eight Welch's jelly jars with Pokemon designs
When Welch’s decided to fashion their jelly and jam jars into decorated, reusable juice glasses, no one could’ve expected the impact they would make on millennials all over. Image courtesy of Pinterest.

Welch’s Jelly Jar Glasses

Before the mason jar phenomenon, there was the jelly jar phenomenon.

When glass containers were all the rage, it was common for the leftover jars to be kept and used as drinking glasses, prolonging the life of a storage object into a household good used daily. (Similar to the mason jar craze where the canning vessel can now be seen primarily as a glass for certain groups.) The only jar that became as ubiquitous as the mason jar back then, however, was Welch's jelly jars. The small, ten ounce containers quickly became all the rage due to the characters that the company would print on the outside of the jars, making kids and adults alike want to collect as many different glasses that they possibly could.

For millennials, drinking from these jars probably is more than familiar. Welch’s relaunched the decorative drinking glass in 1989, and they stayed around until the early aughts. If your home didn’t stock its cabinets with the fun, decorative glasses, then most likely one of your friends or family members had. You might even still be drinking from these awesome cups today!

Image of Dunkaroos box
Dunkaroos are probably the quintessential, after-school snack for millennials (if they didn’t have health-nut parents). Image courtesy of The New York Times.


Who would’ve thought that a deconstructed frosted cookie would be the obsession of an entire generation of kids?

When Betty Crocker launched Dunkaroos in 1990, nobody could have expected what would happen next. The cookies became massively popular, with school-aged children begging their parents for the treat in grocery stores all over the nation. Pulling a pack of Dunkaroos out at the lunch table was akin to pulling out a bag of gold — everyone wanted the sweet snack and everyone wanted everyone else to know they had it.

Sadly, Dunkaroos were discontinued in the United States in 2012 because of a decline in sales, poor marketing, and the general unhealthiness of the snack. As the country learned more about the harmful effects of eating too much sugar and began to look for healthy alternatives, parents became mindful of what snacks their children should be eating, and Dunkaroos unfortunately didn’t pass the scrutiny. However, that would not be the last time the cookies would be hitting the American market! Betty Crocker announced that the snack would be making a comeback in 2020, much to the chagrin of parents but delight of millennials!

Millennials: did we include your favorite things growing up that bring you nostalgia for the past? Let us know in the comments below!

Sep 25, 2020

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