It’s a big year around these parts. Justin Timberlake and I are celebrating a milestone. Our 20th Christmas together. And it’s going to be a special one.
I Love the 90s
I’m a proud kid of the 1990s. Give me all the scrunchies, all the snap bracelets, and all the boy bands. I was as basic as could be in the 90s and I regret nothing. Except for the excessive hair crimping. I regret that. No one needed that.
My friends were equally as 90s basic and I loved them for it. We would schedule sleepovers around boy band live TV specials and sit on our blow-up furniture while reading Teen Beat. We rocked Starter jackets based on our favorite colors instead of the teams, and later would help each other line our lips with a dark color and then fill the rest in with Lip Smackers. One of my friends even had a see-through phone that we would use to call in requests to the local radio stations or check movie theater times.
Those were the days.
Finding Love in the 90s
Did my friends and I look all that great in the 90s? Oh… no. Not at all. We had braces and wore those stretchy comb headbands. Our spaghetti strap tank tops never sat quite right over our t-shirts and Noxzema never quite got rid of the teenage acne. But that didn’t stop us from dreaming about finding our true loves.
To be fair in 1998 I was 13, and a late-blooming 13. My middle school crushes were unrequited, and barely admitted. Or I could use the excuse that my parents didn’t let me date… Sure… that was it.
Yet a much easier object of my teenage affection were the boy bands of the day, and my friends were on board too. We were Team NSYNC because as any 90s girl knows, you had to pick one. And then within that band, you had to pick one too. One of the boys you were going to spend your life with.
Commemorating Love in the 90s
Most of us chose Justin Timberlake. Those gigantic jeans, that bleach blonde hair. SWOON.
So in 1998 to commemorate all or our collective relationships with Justin, my friend Meg made our friends Christmas ornaments with Justin’s face decoupaged on them. A little wooden heart that contained all my hopes and dreams. I think I insisted it go at the top of the tree like an angel when it made its tree debut in 1999, much to my family’s chagrin.
Year after year, Justin would get packed up in the box of glass balls, vacation souvenir ornaments, and Baby’s First Christmas. He’d be nestled in with the nutcrackers, Charlie Brown Christmas characters, and snowmen. Then he’d reappear the next year and someone would inevitably ask, “Do we really need to put Justin Timberlake back on the tree this year?”
That was a foolish question one year out, three years out, and ten years out. Of course we did. While I’d moved on romantically, Justin was tradition.
The 90s Love Lives On
Now that I’m fully adulted with my own house and own Christmas tree, Justin now goes up on my Christmas tree in all his curly-headed glory. He finds himself next to ornaments that document “Our First Christmas,” both of the kids’ ultrasound pictures, and several ornaments with our names on reindeer, gingerbread people, and elves. While we collect some funny ornaments as we travel and build our collection each year, Justin is easily the most ridiculous ornament on the tree.
I looked on the back of my Justin Timberlake ornament this year as I placed him lovingly above a snowman going fishing. “To Becca From Meg 1998.” It’s been 20 years. And we’re still together, still going strong.
Wishing You a Very Justin Timberlake Christmas
The older I get the more that I appreciate the nostalgia that comes with the Christmas tree tradition.
While everything around us changes, the Christmas ornaments stay the same. They each transport me back to different times and places, reminding me of memories that we’ve made and people that we’ve lost. It’s a time capsule that gets trotted out each year instead of buried in the ground. A time capsule that for us, includes a tribute to a 90’s heartthrob.
I hope that you’re also enjoying a trip down memory lane this Christmas as you listen for sleigh bells in the snow, or old acquaintances come to mind. Or when you’re looking at a Christmas ornament that brings you back to your early awkward teens, and brings a smile to your face.
Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays.
With no strings attached, bye, bye, bye,
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