I think it’s safe to say that we’re in the holiday season now, right? Good. That means I can blather on about old Christmas commercials without those nagging doubts.
Yes, it’s time for the glorious return of Classic Christmas Commercials, the series in which I celebrate batches of old TV ads, all featuring some degree of yuletide cheer.
All of these were donated by my pal Larry P., who knows full well that the key to my undying loyalty is a commercial for Cool Whip starring an orgasmic Santa Claus. I’m easy to please, so long as you’re hyper-specific.
Christmas Crunch Cereal! (1988)
Hard to believe that this is the first time I’ve mentioned this ad on Dino Drac. It was one of my major favorites as a kid, and if pushed, I’d probably still count it among my top ten Christmassy commercials of all time.
Christmas Crunch is still around, of course, but it hardly means as much now. Back in the ‘80s and early ‘90s? Good God. It was an integral to the season as virtually anything else I could name. Right between “Christmas tree” and “red & green M&M’s.”
The beautifully animated commercial looked like a teaser for a nonexistent Rankin/Bass special. Pay close attention to the last ten seconds, where we break from the cartoon for a look at Christmas Crunch’s best-ever cereal premium: Cardboard Christmas tree ornaments starring the Cap’n and the evil Soggies!
Twin Valu: Holiday Headquarters! (1992)
I know absolutely nothing about Twin Valu stores, but this commercial is still very much worth including, since it’s basically just a highlight reel of 1992’s hottest toys.
Of particular interest to me: Those Troll dolls, the Super Soaker 100, the Crash Test Dummies doll, and that nearly 1:1 scale version of Baby Sinclair. Those things scream “early ‘90s” to me almost as loudly as yesterday’s P.B. Crisps!
If you’re even remotely close to my age, I guarantee that you had several of the toys featured in this ad. Give it a watch, and count ‘em up. If you happened upon a genie who only granted meager wishes, which one do you wish you had right now?
Smurfs Christmas Special NBC Promo! (1984)
Despite this promo’s advanced age, The Smurfs Christmas Special was already a few years old by 1984. Honestly, I’m not sure that we give that special enough credit. It was never as huge as Charlie Brown or Garfield’s specials, but it did air for on network television for several years, before enjoying a whole second life on cable channels.
I won’t say that it’s not dated — it is — but it’s still a cartoon wherein the Smurfs decorate a Christmas tree. It’s also a nice break if you feel like the more popular holiday specials lost a little something after the literal hundredth viewing.
Stick with this promo through the end, and you’ll also see shoutouts to Christmassy episodes of long gone sitcoms, including Double Trouble and Gimme a Break. (Plus network graphics that will for some reason make you want ginger ale.)
Cool Whip! (1992)
Man, Cool Whip. Anyone out there still eat it? I remember it being around all the time as a kid, but can’t recall seeing one of those tubs outside of grocery stores in years. Weird, because there was a point when every introduction of Cool Whip came with mental drum rolls.
Considering what it advertises, the commercial is fittingly sugary. One listen of its jingly jingle is all it will take to make you melt into a pile of concentrated love syrup. You will lose all ability to be edgy for at least 24 hours, and your touch will become so much gentler.
I’m really digging those dessert ideas, too. A dollop of Cool Whip over a glass of red and green Jell-O cubes is like, Christmas in a nutshell for a person like me. That steaming cup of well-dressed cocoa with the candy cane stirrer is nothing to sneeze at, either.
Jeez, I’m so gonna make the entire 1992 Cool Whip Christmas menu by the end of the weekend, aren’t I?
Ice Capades Presents: The California Raisins! (1988)
There’s something freaky about this, though I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised that six foot skating raisins come off that way.
For those with only a cursory familiarity, I can confirm that the California Raisins really were popular enough to warrant a live show. I personally never felt more than total ambivalence towards them, and even I had at least sixteen California Raisins PVC figures. These characters seemingly inserted themselves into the collective fabric of our lives.
Granted, I’m stretching the definition of a “Christmas” commercial on this one, but ice means winter and winter means Christmas. Besides, if I have to be full of dead-eyed singing raisin nightmare fuel, I want some fucking company.
Thank you for reading!