Nostalgia and Christmas go together like Frankie Stevens and, well, Christmas – as we gear up for an adult holiday season (with many of us with kids of our own now can you BELIEVE it), Kelly Bertrand thought it was high time for a festive trip down memory lane and recalls the 20 best presents she lusted after as a less-than-cool tween (and if the 80s was more your vibe, click HERE!)
For some reason in my head, I think of Bratz dolls being a symbol for tween rebellion, which is weird because a tween I was certainly the absolute opposite of rebellious. These out-of-proportion dolls with *attitude* had us all asking, were we a Sasha, Yasmin, Cloe or Jade (I’m pretty sure everyone wanted to be Yasmin but I always got stuck being Sasha) and their ‘edginess’ had them firmly opposite Barbies which by then were for ‘little kids’ as opposed to the sophisticated 11-year-olds we clearly were.
OR, a limited edition Spice Girls Barbie
Potentially betraying my distinct lack of edge, I remember one Christmas in the early 2000s where the only thing I wanted was to hang onto my Spice Girl obsession (resolutely not caring about the fact old mate Geri had left the band two years before). I wanted just one present – the Spice Girls Concert Collection Sporty Spice Barbie. I got it. Best Christmas ever.
WHY WERE WE SO OBSSESSED WITH THESE DEMONIC THINGS. The primitive robot tech mixed with the creepy owl-esque exterior was weird enough, but when they started learning words and repeating them back to you unprompted at 2am, then we really had to question our choices.
Because we had *so many secrets* as tween girls, the Password Journal, a pink and purple monstrosity that was only able to be opened by the owner’s voice (because THAT worked all the time) was an absolute necessity. How else were you able to keep track of your crushes and friend feuds?
Poo-Chi Robot Dog
In the same vein as the Furby, this one also lives in the creepy early 2000s tech we probably didn’t need but for some reason really wanted. I had the pink one, my brother had the blue one and I do remember that we were obsessed with them for about two weeks before they lived permanently on the rumpus room shelves.
If you don’t have Jamelia’s seminal classic Superstar in your head right now, what did you spend the early 2000s DOING!? A great game made better (or worse) when you realised you didn’t had to be a good singer, you just had to Hit. The. Notes, much to the frustration of that one person in your group who could actually sing.
Your ankles have never been the same again, have they? And let’s not talk about the time you had to brake going down the hill without shoes on.
It was cute! It clipped onto your body! It wasn’t f-ing frustrating at all when you just wanted to find that ONE song you’re vibing (Drops of Jupiter, of course).
Were you even best friends if you didn’t have a homemade friendship bracelet? In what was a precursor to the absolute HELL of distributing Bebo love hearts, Rainbow Loom bracelets were the visible sign of status and coolness. Well, I thought so because I never had one. I guess there’s still time!?
Before the iPods came along in the later 2000s, GOD did we think we were at the height of cool with those tiny little cartridges that had a WHOLE 60 SECONDS of ONE SONG loaded into them! Yes, you too could listen to a minute of Britney Spears’ Oops I Did It Again, and not even the good bit.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Playstation Game
Oh there were many hours whiled away with this game as I tried my best to get Harry through Quidditch training and catch that bloody snitch. The journey! The resolution!
Babysitter’s Club books
There was a LOT of surreptitiously leaving the Scholastic book club catalogues open with my favourite books circled – and it worked! What followed was a summer catching up with Kirsty, Claudia, Mary-Anne and Stacey and it was glorious.
Yoyos… but COOL yoyos? Sign us up! The battle arenas, the swapping of colours – it was an absolute vibe.
Wait wait wait, this is a board game with Play Dough!? Sign us up! Pretty sure everyone only wanted this BECAUSE of the play dough but hey, games are games!
Lancome Juicy Tubes
The lip gloss that would never die, you closed your eyes and prayed that a tube of the goof stuff found its way into your stocking, so you could brag to your friends on MSN that you too are part of the cool group of juicy tubers.
Britney Spears Curious OR YSL Baby Doll OR Glow by JLo
There were three fragrances and three fragrances only that were on all of us tweens’ wish lists – the iconic Curious by Britney Spears (you can’t still smell it, can’t you), the slightly more *sophisticated* Glow by JLO (I legit smelled someone wearing this last month and it sent me into a nostalgia spiral) and the fancy option, Yves St Laurent’s diamond-shaped Bay Doll. Christmas was ICONIC if one of these was under your tree!
Boston Celtics Basketball Singlet
Again, for some reason, we all wanted this VERY specific basketball singlet, when none of us ever played nor cared about basketball – not in the least the Boston Celtics. But I do remember visiting the Botany Town Centre Rebel Sport every day where my friend Kelsey worked to just look at them wistfully. Alas, I never got my Boston Celtics singlet and hey, I think that’s probably for the best.
Dance Dance Revolution
Oh you were a COOL kid if you had Dance Dance Revolution in your house! That slippery bloody mat was where dreams came true and illusions were crushed and, if you combined it with the aforementioned Singstar then you were unequivocally Queen of all the cool girls.
The OC Complete DVD Collection
I remember that Mischa Barton era so well and honestly I didn’t care much for it, but I do remember I wanted to dress like her so getting the box set of The OC seemed to make sense. Unfortunately HBK and Urban Angel didn’t quite meet my California cool needs, much to my mum’s frustration.
Fake hair scrunchie
Talk about the height of elegance – if your hair wasn’t in a bun, a different colour and sticking out at weird angles, then what was your plan? Butterfly clips? So 90s.