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Go Retro This Holiday Season with Nostalgic Gifts

Categories: Ideas and Innovation
nostalgic gifts for the holidays

Nostalgic gifts and trends have hit the shelves in recent years, making what’s old new again in the eyes of the younger generations. These products also are great reminders about the good times gone by.

Sugary sweet cereal, vinyl records, Toys-R-Us and television reboots have paved the way for paper-inspired nostalgia. From trading cards and printed books to vinyl records and typewriters, these trends offer unique gift ideas for this holiday season. Even shopping catalogs — another source for gift ideas — have experienced a revival, thanks to online shopping overload.

With the holiday season in full swing, we’ve pulled together a few nostalgic gifts to inspire your last-minute shopping adventures.

1. Trading Cards

During the first three months of 2021, sales of sports cards reached $871 million (US) on eBay, with an average of 139 cards sold each minute. Those figures don’t include sales of gaming or other cards. In fact, Pokémon and Marvel trading cards had the greatest gains during Q1 2021.

Most categories of sport cards experienced significant sales growth from 2020 to 2021. For instance, sales of baseball cards increased by 192 percent, and sales of football cards grew by 367 percent.

Trading cards make great nostalgic gifts, but they also can be an investment. Brand new cards, unopened, can fetch 3 to 10 times the sale price when resold.

2. Printed Books

Did you know that printed books outsold e-books 4 to 1 in 2020? In fact, e-book sales decreased by 8 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, while sales of printed books increased by nearly 14 percent during the same period.

Need a few other reasons to consider giving your friend or family member a printed book? Printed books offer a better sensory experience for the reader. They also offer benefits for children and for your health, and they are better at conveying information and have a better price point than e-readers.

Additionally, when a printed book is worn out, the paper pages can be recycled. Discarded e-readers can contribute to toxic electronic waste.

3. Vinyl Records

Vinyl records have experienced a comeback over the past several years. Audiophiles appreciate the warm tones and sound quality of vinyl, and collectors love purchasing special editions, making vinyl albums great nostalgic gifts for the music lovers in your life.

Vinyl’s increased popularity has resulted in the medium becoming the most popular format for new music for the first time since 1986. In the first half of 2021 alone, vinyl records saw an 86 percent increase in the number of albums sold.

Paper is a key component to packaging most vinyl records, as the cardboard album jackets and paper disc sleeves provides the protection and insulation needed to protect the integrity of the music album. Album covers also offer a way to interact with the music through creative imagery, printed lyrics and other visual elements.

4. Typewriters (and the paper to type on)

Cambridge Typewriters in Arlington, Virginia, is the busiest they have been in more than 40 years. The typewriter seller and repair shop has noted a sharp increase in typewriter sales as a result of the pandemic and screen fatigue.

The sounds and feel of the keys make typing an enjoyable experience for many. Scott Connor, a typewriter enthusiast in Stephentown, N.Y., told his local ABC affiliate, “It also gives you the feeling of this tactile experience of this hitting a key and it’s going on a paper and you’re doing it right there.”

If you choose to give a typewriter as a nostalgic gift, don’t forget to pick up some paper. Check out a few tips for using a typewriter.

It might be tempting to purchase these and other nostalgic gifts from an online retailer, but why not shop small this holiday season? Support your local antique shop, bookstore, record shop or thrift store.