The History Channel is the right place to get the best recollections of “Christmas through the Decades.” If you lived through the 1990s, you probably will remember much of what they report on this episode and see how Christmas back in the 1990s has affected our Christmas today.
This episode of the 1990s begins recalling that the 90s were all about more. People had more money to spend, more channels to watch and because of the internet, more information. There were more celebrities making their mark. By 1997, Seinfeld became the most successful sitcom of all time. It even included one particular episode featuring Festivus a holiday that George’s father invented.
In 1990, the most famous kid on the planet was Macaulay Culkin with his instant classic Home Alone. It also starred Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as the crooks that find out an 8-year-old kid is no match for them when they try to ransack what they thought was an empty house.
In 1992, Michael Jordan had his best ever Christmas performance scoring 42 points in a Bulls victory over the New York Knicks. He won his second NBA Championship and a Gold Medal in the Olympics. Comedian Tim Allen was also on top of his game with the number one show with Home Improvement and the movie the Santa Clause. Mariah Carey released her hit Christmas song “All I Want For Christmas is You” which continues to be the most downloaded Christmas song of all time.
In 1995, struggling filmmakers Trey Parker and Matt Stone made a raunchy animated video for their friends. It was called the Spirit of Christmas, but so many people liked it, that they duplicated it on VHS so many times; it was distributed across the country. When the executives at Comedy Central saw it, they hired Parker and Stone to create South Park and the rest is history.
In 1995, one in three homes had a computer, but it was gigantic. It was not easily assembled unless you had a nerdy neighbor who could put it together for you. The computer craze hit a milestone on December 25, 1990 when technicians created the Worldwide Web. Sony entered the market of video games using CDs and between Sony and Nintendo, it was all-out war.
The music industry grew into using CDs that instantly became more popular than a cassette and still has fans rushing out to purchase them. It took until 2015 for downloaded music to finally overtake sales of CDs.
Politics in the 1990s featured tensions and twists. The decade began when just one year after taking down the Berlin Wall, the power that had it built was on its last legs. In December of 1991, the Soviet Union was disbanded. Gorbachev put through reforms that eventually led to his demise when he resigned on Christmas. However, President George H.W. Bush did not earn a second term, despite the involvement in the downfall of the Soviet Union. In 1992, Bill Clinton came into office along with their cat Socks. In 1998, the house voted to impeach Clinton because of his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
Happy Holidays became the theme because of political correctness. It replaced Merry Christmas to include people of all faiths. In 1992, the U.S. Postal Service has issued annual Christmas stamps. In 1996, they added a Hanukkah stamp to the mix. In 1997, they added a Kwanzaa stamp.
In 1993, Disney offered a holiday movie that was anything but a safe bet. Director Tim Burton came up with the Nightmare Before Christmas. It has become a macabre classic combining both Halloween and Christmas. In 1993, Coca Cola introduced the Polar Bears and left the classic Santa behind. The polar bears were computer generated, and people fell in love with them. Hershey put red and green foil on their Kisses in 1962, but the bell ringing Kisses commercial made them synonymous with Christmas beginning in the early 90s, and it still runs every year since.
Toys have always been a symbol of Christmas, but two toys caused frenzies across the land. Tickle Me Elmo and Beanie Babies. Both toys caused scalpers to jack up the price on these items to unconscionable amounts. Suddenly, in 1999 the bottom fell out of the market and those who paid exorbitant prices for them or hoarded them in hopes of making a killing; lost everything.
The top toys of the 1990s were: 1990-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1991-Nerf Bow & Arrow, 1992-Creepy Crawlers, 1993-Super Soaker, 1994-Power Rangers, 1995-Pogs, 1996-Tomagochi, 1997-Teletubbies, 1998-Yo-Yos, and 1999-Pokemon all featured on this episode of “Christmas through the Decades.”