British Christmas Through The Ages: 1990's Toys R Us, Tamagotchis and The Spice Girls! - The British Hamper Company

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British Christmas Through The Ages: 1990's Toys R Us, Tamagotchis and The Spice Girls!

15 Dec 2021 by Liz Tod

*Updated 21/11/2022*

After exploring Christmas in the 80s in the last blog, it’s now it’s time to look at the 90’s Christmas in Britain! 

But first, let’s take a quick look at this decade in general.

This was an exciting decade with huge developments in the UK and the rest of the world, not least the development of the World Wide Web, opening the internet to the world.

In 1991 3m computers were connected to the internet, by 1996 there were 10m connected and by 1998 there were 130m web users in the world.

What was happening in Britain during the 1990s?

Britain saw a recession in the early 90’s but from ’93 onwards the economy grew strongly and steadily.

Margaret Thatcher lost the premiership to John Major when she withdrew from the November 1990 leadership election. And there was further change in 1997 when the Labour party was elected, led by Tony Blair. This government with its distinct ideologies, was named ‘New Labour’.

We also saw, during this decade, a rise in multiculturism, more debates about immigration, asylum seekers and environmental issues including fox hunting and some backlash against increasing technology.

And there were major changes and events around the world in the 1990s

Here are a few:

  • Nelson Mandela was freed in 1990 after 25 years and apartheid came to an end in South Africa (officially) in 1994.
  • In 1991 Britain joined US forces to liberate Kuwait.
  • President Bill Clinton visited Northern Ireland in 1995 to help the peace process.
  • The Channel Tunnel was opened in 1995.
  • In 1997, after 150 years of British rule, Hong Kong returned to Chinese control.
  • Diana Princess of Wales was killed in a car accident in Paris in 1997.
  • In Northern Ireland Nationalists and Unionists signed the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998 after 30 years of conflict.
  • And it might sound trivial, but the National Lottery was launched in 1994!

Remember these exciting bits of tech, popular in the 1990s?!

  • Game Boy.
  • Sony Playstation.
  • Nintendo 64.
  • Nokia 8110 and 5110 (gradually mobile phones got smaller, cheaper and more popular in this decade).
  • Walkman.
  • Portable CD player.
  • MP3 player.
  • George Foreman Grill.
  • DVDs and portable DVD player (end of 90’s).

Also, Britpop in the 1990s?

 The name given to a new wave of successful British bands who made a HUGE impact on the US and Europe during the 1990s..…

Oasis, Radiohead, Blur, Pulp, Massive Attack, The Spice Girls.

These were important and memorable times for British music.

And now - The Festive Season! – the joy of food, decs and toys during a 1990s Christmas

So, dressed in our puffa jackets, slogan T-shirts and pedal pushers (or wearing the increasingly popular Christmas- themed jumpers and socks) and listening to a Blur CD, how did we celebrate Christmas?

Well, the High Street was very important to us then. At Christmas, the popular shops were Woolworths, BHS and Toys R Us.  There was no online shopping and Sunday trading wasn’t introduced until 1994.

And whilst many of us had started decorating and lighting the OUTSIDE of our homes, inside we might enjoy a fibre optic Christmas tree!


The Argos catalogue was much loved by kids in the 1990s! Which toys would they (or you) have circled?

  • Furbies (cute?).
  • Stretch Armstrong (fun).
  • Beanie Babies (addictive).
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
  • Power Rangers.
  • Buzz Lightyear.
  • Pogs (and all that trading you could do!).
  • Thunderbirds’ Tracy Island.
  • Baby born doll (bit scary/annoying?).
  • Electronic Diaries (SO exciting!).
  • Alien babies in an egg (!).
  • And the unforgettable Tamagotchi!

And which films did we enjoy in the 1990s?

  • Home Alone (1,2 and 3).
  • The Nightmare before Christmas.
  • Wallace & Grommit (1990, first Christmas one).
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol.
  • Miracle on 34th Street (Remake).
  • A Christmas Carol.
  • Mrs Santa Claus.
  • A Flintstone’s Christmas Carol.

And Christmas food of the 1990s

As a nation, we were generally getting a little more adventurous, with Mediterranean food becoming popular. Celebrity chefs were making an appearance.

And so at Christmas in the 90’s we enjoyed the traditional fare but might add in some new stuff:

  • Sprouts cooked with pancetta.
  • Baked brie.
  • Focaccia.
  • Sundried tomatoes.
  • Chocolate covered pretzels.
  • Ferrero Rocher.
  • Alcopops.
  • Cadbury ‘Fuse’.
  • Turkey Dinosaurs.
  • Cheesestrings  (popular all through the year!).
  • Ice cream Sundaes.
  • Scampi & lemon NikNaks!

Christmas No 1’s of the 1990s

  • 1990 ‘Saviour’s Day’ – Cliff Richard
  • 1991 ‘Bohemian Rhapsody/These Are the Days of Our Lives’ – Queen
  • 1992 ‘I Will Always Love You’ – Whitney Houston
  • 1993 ‘Mr Blobby’ – Mr Blobby
  • 1994 ‘Stay Another Day’ – East 17
  • 1995 ‘Earth Song’ – Michael Jackson
  • 1996 ‘2 Become 1’ – The Spice Girls
  • 1997 ‘Too Much’ – The Spice Girls
  • 1998 ‘Goodbye’ – The Spice Girls
  • 1999 ‘I Have a Dream/Seasons in the Sun’ – Westlife

And so, we leave the twentieth century. See you next time for Christmas in the years 2000-2010.