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Thursday, 17 October 2013

Christmas gift ideas from 1991

Christmas is nearly upon us. I'm not sure why, but Christmas seems to have begun even earlier this year. Isn't it supposed to start around mid-November? They had Christmas trees in Tesco last month, and in the pound shops, scary Halloween skellingtons are jostling for position with reindeer horns.

Whatever. I love Christmas, so I'm not complaining. However, I have no idea what to buy anyone this year. I do have my dad's present sorted, but he'll never read this blog because as far as he's concerned the internet only consists of Ebay.

If you're anything like me, you might want to get some inspiration from Christmas gift guides of yesteryear. I dug out the 1991 Argos catalogue to see what crap we bought for each other before everyone just started getting iPads all the time.

I was originally just going to pick five or six things to talk about, but I ended up finding cool stuff on nearly every page. As such, this might be in two parts, depending on how long I can type before I get bored/fall asleep.

Here is the hallowed book -

I would have thought this was an actual Christmas gift guide if it hadn't been for the iron - on what planet do you buy someone a fucking iron for Christmas? "Happy Christmas darling, I know how much you love to stand there making my clothes flatter for me." Grrr.

Never mind, let's move on -

Page 67 - watches

If anyone has a time machine and is planning to buy me a present, I would very much like the Garfield watch. Either that or the New Kids On The Block watch. Just the thought of having those five hair-gelled hunks on my wrist makes me swoon. Girls who currently wear a One Direction watch, take note - this is your future.
Incidentally, I still have no. 23 - the red Timex "Time Tutor" watch. It still fits me. I wore it to work last year and couldn't understand why people were laughing at me. Then again people tend to laugh at me anyway.

Pages 85 & 86 - women's crap

According to this, women like coathangers, dolls and going in the bath. It's still better than nowadays, where every gift for a woman is bright pink and fluffy and has the word 'slut' written on it. Probably.

Pages 91 & 92 - men's crap

Men, on the other hand, like having a briefcase and being able to find their way around with a handy road atlas. I think the Swiss army knife is to stab whoever bought them the road atlas.

Page 95 - Lighters!

Jesus Christ! Lighters! Actual lighters used for smoking! Now, I love smoking as it's big, clever and makes me look interesting, but even I find this section odd. Plus, there's a lighter shaped like a gun, can you imagine that being allowed nowadays? If you whipped that out in the street you'd be arrested quicker than you can say 'low tar'.

Page 171 - tiger blanket

Look at that woman. Look how cool she looks. Strangeley, she manages to look warm at the same time. You know what I'd do if I had that blanket? I'd hide underneath it, then when the mister came home from work, I'd make tiger noises and pretend there was a massive tiger in the room. I hope he doesn't read this, because I might actually do that one day.

Page 246 - shellsuits

I refer you to This Post on the wonders of the shell suit. In order to buy one from the Argos catalogue, however, you have to fill in a form promising to do one of the above poses while wearing it. That way people will know it's an Argos shell suit. Advertising, you see.

Page 293 - walkmen

Can you guess which of these walkmans (walkmen?) is my favourite? Yes that's right, it's no. 14 - the Sony WM-FX16. It has anti-roll, metal tape facility, DC in socket, and a handy belt clip! Just kidding - my favourite is actually no. 16 - the Sony SPORTS walkman, because it's yellow, and because it will make me look like I get off my sofa once in a while.

Page 304 - pocket TV

My god, I ALWAYS wanted a pocket TV when I was a kid. To have my very own pocket TV was like being able to hold the world in my hand. I would get giddy when I imagined the sheer thrill of hiding under the covers at 2 a.m. and being able to watch reruns of The Equalizer and American Gladiators. It is a source of much regret that I never got one. I imagine I'd have got bored with it pretty quickly though, since you wouldn't actually be able to see anything due to it having a screen the size of a pea.

Page 317 - the original Playstation 

Pictured here in the middle, the original "Playstation" was not made by Sony, but by Petite (Sony were too busy making yellow walkmen back then). Not so much a games console, more a rehearsal for life of working in a petrol station after you'd failed all your exams. Two estranged children and a 25% discount on top shelf magazines not included.

Pages 319 & 320 - how girls learn to be women

From the age of about one, girls should be taught the mysterious arts of hoovering, ironing, preening in front of a mirror and carrying a screaming, shit-covered baby around. While the boys' pages featured toxic ooze and flying blimps, the girl's pages were essentially scaled down versions of Mothercare and Comet.

Page 326 - jobs

Just in case some girls do escape the clutches of the household and decide they want to do a job of work, Argos sees that they are prepared for that too. Here, a girl can learn to be an office assistant, a secretary, or even a typist! Ok, so I'm kind of wilfully ignoring the police station playset in the top corner, but come on - all they can bloody do on that is answer the phone.

Page 328 - skippet

Shown in the middle of the page, the ball on a string that went round your leg was the only physical activity I was genuinely good at. I could never do handstands, or roller-skate, or balance on one of those stupid things at the bottom, called a 'Disk-O hopper'. Anyone who was good at one of those is an arsehole, because I say so.

Page 335 & 336 - computers (sort of)

I definitely had no. 12 - Grandstand 'First Talking Computer', and I had the sequel to 23 - V-Tech Pre Computer 1000 (excitingly named Pre Computer 2000). I saw my Granstand computer in a museum earlier this year, and my own mortality flew past my eyes like dead leaves. Oh god, I am 30 this month. 
Where was I? I also think I might have had the red hand held game at the top of the second page - if it's the one I'm thinking of, it doesn't have music, it just makes a monotone beeping noise until my mother throws it out of the window.

Page 347 - Robin Hood Prince Of Theives

Which film shall we make a toy line of this year? Oh, it should definitely be that Kevin Costner one - you know, the one with men getting their hands cut off and their eyes poked out, the one with a breech birth, people getting stabbed to death, and lots of implied shagging, some of which is consensual. Not to mention a Robin Hood with a fucking American accent.

Page 355 - Barbie dream house

You know what my dream house would have? Enough walls. And it wouldn't have some giant children coming in and moving my furniture around. I do like the balcony bit though.

So there we have it. I hope that's given you some idea of what to buy for your loved ones. The slight drawback is that some of these things are now only available from 1991, but you can't have everything.


  1. lolol im going to try to locate a Garfield watch , :) xxxxxxx

  2. my new name is now Anonymous :):) xxxxxxxxxxxx

  3. Girls love surprise, of course, yet your boyfriend also expects creative gifts for Christmas. Christmas Gifts for Her