7 Old-School Pastimes That Are Making a Comeback

Snap some Polaroids of pals at your vintage cocktail party. These classic hobbies—and more—are coming back in a big way.

Drive-in movie theater in black and whiteShutterstock / Everett Collection
Shutterstock / Everett Collection

Maybe it’s the way everyone’s staring at a screen these days or that natural sense of nostalgia, but throwback hobbies have us wondering why we ever left them by the wayside. I texted a few old souls (because who actually calls people anymore?) to ask what vintage activities they were into. Check out their pastimes that bring back everything good about the old days—and then some.

(Psst: Staring at a screen too much? Maybe a digital detox will do you good. After you finish reading this, of course.)

1. Collecting Vinyl

My bow tie-wearing brother-in-law Nick is crazy about LPs. “One side of a record takes the perfect amount of time you need to sit back and relax while appreciating the music the way it was meant to be heard,” he says. Plus, he gets to raid his in-laws’ house for hidden gems (and some duds that should stay hidden!). If digging through storage and thrift stores isn’t your thing, plenty of current artists are releasing hip new tunes on vinyl, too.

2. Mixing Classic Cocktails

Before you lower that needle onto the latest addition to your vinyl collection, mix a drink and thank Mad Men‘s Don Draper and his old-fashioneds for bringing back the classic cocktail. Stick to tradition with a gin martini, a citrusy sidecar or a brandy old-fashioned sweet, or give your soirees your own signature drink. Get into the fun names, too. For example, the Bee’s Knees was more than just lovely flapper lingo; it was a cocktail made with gin, lemon juice and honey, honey.

3. Shooting Polaroids

Perhaps there’s no better time than the digital era for these instant keepsake prints to stage their return. This time around, the Polaroid is available in a newfangled model that updates and honors the classic OneStep, which came out—brace yourselves—40 years ago. No shaking (or blowing) necessary.

4. Using Typewriters

Writing this on a laptop makes my heart yearn for the hard work of punching each letter on an old typewriter, like the one at my grandfather’s house that we’d use for school papers before we had a home computer. After we got a hand-me-down Mac, with the green letters set against the black background, the typewriter became a toy for creating play memos to pass around an imagined office. It took play to the next level, as it does now for the work of writers and enthusiasts across the country (including Tom Hanks) who are nearly fanatical about using and tinkering with their vintage typewriters.

5. Taking Road Trips

Make your best playlist and pack some board games. Both RV sales and the number of visitors to national parks have really hit the gas in the past few years. Thank the affordability of gasoline and not-so-enticing headlines surrounding air travel, and you’ve got a recipe for road trips. Check out these foil packet dinners from campers who know how to bring the heat on trips in the great outdoors.

(Traveling with kids? Here’s how to make your trip a blast for everybody, front seat and back.)

6. Canning

On the heels of the farm-to-table movement, and with farmers markets filled with bushels, stacks and pints of anything your heart desires, canning is the new, well, canning. But not to worry if you’d rather not sterilize and prep way, way ahead. You can jump on the trend with these summer-simple refrigerator pickles. They’re totally that extra backyard-barbecue something that makes your burgers sing.

7. Quilting

Move over, knitting. Quilting is the latest old-is-young-again hobby for people who love to make heartwarming heirlooms with their own two hands. Just like hipster baby names Agnes and Edith (OK, they’re Despicable Me characters), quilting is all the homey rage these days. Not ambitious enough to take on a whole quilt? Dust off your needle and thread and start small with a suggestion from my pal Lacy: “Embroidery is always en vogue.”

So go ahead and look through your old photo albums or ask your folks what they did for fun back in the day (if you want to know), and bring back the activities that remind you of simpler times. I promise: They’re even better when you get to share them with the ones you love.

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Elizabeth Harris
Liz is an unapologetic homebody who loves bowling and beers almost as much as food and fitness. The highlight of her week is making cheesy popcorn for her family on movie night. She's been hooked on Taste of Home since interning for the magazine in 2010.