Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am all about nostalgia, stories about the old days, and looking back fondly at not just memories and places, but things — actual items — that take me back in time. Nostalgic gifts can often jump-start great stories, summon wonderful memories, and in some cases, create opportunities to bring family together over a classic toy or video game.
For me, it was for a long time the Sega Genesis, NHL ’93 game. Back in the day, I figured out this system where if I used the Western Conference All-Star team and took on the expansion Ottawa Senators — and took advantage of my All-Star team depth and the lack of depth from Ottawa by allowing line changes — I could score 100 goals in a 60-minute game. It was a blast! And yes, it was a challenge — scoring that many goals can be tricky! Years later I would challenge my son, a video game savant, and his buddies in what was a stone age game in their eyes.
My son, Jake, hasn’t disclosed what he believes the final scores of our games were, but I can tell you that I had a lot more fun than he did. I seem to remember him flatly refusing to play me after a while — and he still refuses to this day. His buddy, Kyle, recently admitted he does remember us playing a time or two and thinks the final score was Jake’s dad 50, Kyle 2 — or something like that. I think he’s wrong, as I certainly don’t remember allowing two goals. And no, this wasn’t All-Stars vs. Ottawa, this was just two regular teams. Ah yes, good times for everyone. Or at least for me.
Among the many other things that can really spark memories is a good old-fashioned set of LEGOs, an option that is far less likely to cause the angst brought on by what I thought was a really good time playing the ol’ Sega. Everyone had LEGOs as a kid, right? And every parent knows that pain of stepping on a LEGO left on the floor — we’ve all been there. Nowadays, they have the perfect combination of nostalgic LEGOs and just plain old nostalgia — LEGO building kits of nostalgic things! Fun kits, a chance for everyone in the family to work on building them together, and stories that go with whichever kit you’ve selected.
So here we go — let’s take a look at some of the coolest of said sets, brought to you by someone who lives in the heart of Generation X. You can learn a lot about someone by which of these sets they find super fun, and to that end, you’re about to learn a lot about me. Here are nine of the best classic LEGO sets to gift to favorite Gen-Xer.
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Bonsai! Bonsai! Look, if you know, you know. Somehow, nowhere in the entire description of this product are the words “Karate Kid,” “Daniel-san,” or “Cobra Kai,” but the Bonsai Tree Building Kit is a really cool gift for anyone who’s a fan of that franchise or just a fan of bonsai trees in general. This kit comes with interchangeable pieces that allow you to style your bonsai tree with either classic green leaves or pink cherry blossom blooms. An ideal gift for those who love interesting LEGO projects or are completely invested in watching Cobra Kai.
Note: If you’re not watching Cobra Kai, you need to be watching Cobra Kai.
Between Tecmo Bowl, Baseball Stars, Punch Out, Dr. Mario, Excitebike, and all of those Super Mario games, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) helped to create video game addictions and memories for an entire generation. Now, you can build your own NES with LEGOs! With incredible details thanks largely to this set containing over 2,600 pieces, this model is sure to be fun to put together and spark memories and stories for days. There is even an ’80s-style television as part of the kit!
Note: If you have any trouble getting the pieces to fit properly, there is no evidence that pulling them back apart and blowing on them will help, but it’s probably worth a try.
Who can forget the iconic 123 Sesame Street building or Hooper’s Store from the classic kids’ show Sesame Street? Now, thanks to the Sesame Street Building Kit, you never will! This kit includes Elmo’s bedroom, Bert and Ernie’s apartment, Oscar’s Trash Can, Big Bird’s Nest, and tons of other incredible authentic details. This kit is a great project for those looking to reminisce about telling their kids or grandkids how to get (how to get!) to Sesame Street.
As you did, I grew up watching and loving the modern Stone Age family known as the Flintstones. Whether you loved them on television or lived for those Flintstone vitamins, chances are you got to know Fred, Barney, Wilma, and Betty quite well during your childhood. Now, you can create your own Flintstone scenes with this amazing Flintstones Building Kit. A great decorative centerpiece for the living room or your home office, your wife will be thrilled after you pick this one up and put it together for everyone to enjoy.
When I was growing up, the Ford Mustang was — to me — one of the coolest cars out there. As an adult, I had the pleasure of owning two different Mustangs and loved them both. Unfortunately, though, neither of them was nearly as cool as the 1960s Ford Mustang GT depicted in this LEGO Building Kit. Now you can build and customize your very own Mustang with dark-blue bodywork, white racing stripes, a V8 engine, and a bunch of other really cool details. One of the classic American Muscle Cars, the Ford Mustang is sure to be a conversation starter before, during, and after you spend quality time with friends or family putting this sharp and handsome kit together.
If you want to make a time machine — out of a Delorean — you’ve come to the right place! Featuring opening doors, fold-up wheels, a flux capacitor, Marty’s skateboard, and lots more, this Delorean Time Machine Building Set will definitely take you back to the future! You can customize this kit to match the movie versions, hop on the skateboard, or engage hover mode. Memories and fun will be the theme of the day while you and your family build your very own LEGO time machine.
No, I am not old enough to remember when Disney released Steamboat Willie — over 90 years ago — and introduced the world to Mickey Mouse. Thanks to the Steamboat Willie Building Kit, though, even those who weren’t around to see this happen in real time can now build their own Steamboat Willie model toy, which features steam pipes that move up and down, rotating paddle wheels, an adjustable crane, and lots of other authentic details! This set comes with Mickey and Minnie Mouse figurines along with Mickey Mouse’s parrot figure. Gather the family and relive your favorite Mickey and Disney memories while putting together this incredible kit.
Another car that I always thought looked fun to drive was the classic Volkswagen Beetle. And while I never got to own or even drive one, I always admired the couple of high school buddies who owned one and did enjoy driving the Volkswagen Cabriolet that my mom had in the late ’90s. A fun car for sure, but not a VW Bug. Now, though, you and I can both own our own Beetle in LEGO version with this Volkswagen Beetle Construction Set! Packed with authentic 1960s details, this kit includes curved fenders, distinctive hubcaps, round headlights, wing-mounted turn signals, and more! Make a night of memories and great Beetle stories by picking this one up — a true classic.
How YOU doin’? Admit it, you all heard it and you remember it. If you ever thought hanging out with Ross and Rachel would be fun, why not grab a Central Perk Building Kit and make it so (ish)! This LEGO version of the classic cafe and coffee shop Central Perk is packed with authentic details that are sure to create stories, memories, and laughs as you and your friends and family build your own miniature version of Central Perk. All of the gang minifigures are included — even Gunther! With over 1,000 pieces, you’re going to have a blast recreating classic scenes or just having it on the coffee table as a constant reminder of this classic comedy.
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