10 Christmas Traditions From The 1980s Everyone Has Forgotten About

Christmas is a time of year when we are overwhelmed with a festive flood of happy childhood memories, reminding us of a time when we longed to unwrap the latest He-Man, ThunderCats or Transformers figure after a certain bearded gentleman dropped down our chimney during the middle of the night.

Our desperation to hold onto our 1980s yuletide recollections means that we do everything we can to continue the seasonal activities that we enjoyed taking part in over three decades ago. But below are 10 examples of certain Christmas traditions that the young people of today seem to have completely forgotten about.

10. Making a present wish list using the Argos and Index catalogue

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Credit: mattbeee via Flickr

These days it’s much easier to use shopping apps to create our own easy to access, digital wish list, but we long for the days when we used good old paper shopping catalogues to communicate to our parents which of the latest toys, games and gadgets we hoped to find under our Christmas tree.

Perusing the pages of an Argos or Index catalogue truly was one of our favourite things to do as a 1980s Christmas approached, even though we were lucky to be gifted even ten percent of the items we had added to our extensive list of wants.

9. Putting up reams of foil decorations

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Modern Christmas decorations are often modest affairs that don’t come close to replicating the crazy, colourful garlands that adorned our childhood house.

A 1980s property was often covered from top to bottom in cheap, foil, fire hazards that we absolutely loved as kids, but which looking back we concede may have looked slightly over the top.

8. Eating Jelly Fruit Slices and Turkish Delight

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Credit: Steve Snodgrass via Flickr

They were usually purchased for parents or grandparents rather than for us or our siblings, but we can confirm that Jelly Slices tasted far more delicious than they looked.

Another succulent, seasonal treat that we don’t see as much as we used to is Turkish Delight, which was an annual purchase for thousands of mums during the 1980s.

7. Listening to classic festive pop music hits

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A tradition we never fail to adhere to as the 25th of December approaches is listening to timeless seasonal pop hits whilst putting up our Christmas tree and decorations.

Because we can’t possibly start to feel festive until we have a least listened to Step into Christmas by Elton John, Last Christmas by Wham! and Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney.

6. Highlighting programmes in TV listings magazines

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The ever increasing amount of streaming services means that deciding what to watch of an evening has never been more complicated, and the same also applies to our Christmas TV viewing.

During our childhood we only had to juggle four channels, and this seemingly simple task was made even easier by our yearly tradition of using a highlighter pen to mark which shows and films we wanted to watch over the festive period, giving a neon sheen to the pages of our parent’s Christmas edition of the Radio and TV Times.

5. Watching your local celebrity-starring Pantomime

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Whilst Pantomimes are still a popular pursuit during winter time, the amount of amazing celebrities that starred in them during our childhood made them absolutely essential viewing.

During the 1980s we were lucky enough to watch Pantomimes that starred the terrifying Grotbags and the incredibly cute Sooty, Sweep and Soo.

4. Visiting your nearest toy superstore

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Credit: Nicholas Eckhart via Flickr

Online shopping has given us a convenient and often cheaper way to make our festive present purchases, but it can never replicate the joy we felt when visiting a real toy superstore as kids.

Seeing the row upon row of items stacked up high in our nearest Toys “R” Us store really got us in the mood to unwrap some brand new, exciting pressies on Christmas morning.

3. Making paper chains and snowflakes

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Credit: Emily Orpin via Flickr

A cheaper Christmas decoration alternative during the 1980s involved making beautiful paper chains and snowflakes, which we would use to brighten up every corner of our house at the start of December.

Whilst there may be some families that have continued to partake in this wonderful winter tradition from yesteryear, it’s a Christmas craft activity that has largely been forgotten by many.

2. Cracking walnuts with a nutcracker

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Credit: Marco Verch Professional Photographer via Flickr

Aside from the extremely generous amount of presents they would gift us, one of our strongest memories from visiting our grandparent’s house over the festive period involved shelling walnuts.

Crushing these oversized nuts with our granddad’s nutcracker made an incredibly satisfying sound, so despite us having absolutely no interest in eating the walnuts themselves, it was an activity that we were only too happy to partake in over and over again.

1. Listening to the radio to discover the Christmas number one

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Streaming music services may give us instant access to the entire history of music in just one or two clicks, but it has all but put paid to one of the greatest Christmas traditions from our childhood.

Even when the number one spot was filled by the atrocious Stay Another Day by East 17 or the unfathomable Mr Blobby by Mr Blobby, intently listening to Radio 1’s Christmas Top 40 countdown was an annual tradition that we really, really miss.