I must’ve handled more than 200 Christmas tree ornaments over the course of my childhood, but I only distinctly remember a select few.
There was the candy cane that I made out of glitter and construction paper. Then the too-heavy Santa with the missing foot. And who would forget our old pinecone, covered by what was supposed to be fake snow but more closely resembled snot?
Above them all, though, was that cheap plastic Energizer Bunny.
Back in 1992, Energizer gave away four Christmas tree ornaments. While I initially believed that these were widely available across the country, further research indicates that they may have only been released regionally. If you’ve never heard of these, sucks for you, but I think you can see why applicable kids went wild for ’em!
The commercial embedded above — not my upload, by the way — goes a long way in explaining how silly plastic rabbits could’ve caused such a stir. You’ll notice that it aired during children’s programming, sandwiched between Charlie Brown and an advertisement for a LEGO set. It wasn’t hard for kids to put 2 and 2 together: These were the tree ornaments that we could own outright. Us, ourselves. Not our moms, not our dads and not our siblings. None of that “communal” bullshit, either.
The ornaments were freely given away to anyone who spent enough money on Energizer batteries. Displays like the one shown above — among my prized possessions, by the way — popped up in supermarkets, department stores and even in totally random discount stores. Energizer must’ve made a record-setting number of those ornaments, because they’re still absurdly easy to find on the secondary market.
Though there were four ornaments available, they all looked so similar that not very many people remember that part. If you do, it’s because you got caught up with what every kid gets caught up with at one point or another: Collecting the whole set because you were subtly challenged to.
I may call them “cheap,” but that’s overstating things. In truth, the plastic ornaments were beautiful, looking three parts crystal and two parts ice. The biggest reason to own multiples was the delightful “clang” they made when bumping bunny asses. Like dull cymbals that hadn’t yet been informed of their fate.
Course, it helps that the Energizer Bunny was such a hot mascot. It’s easy to forget how heroic and awesome he used to seem, and how we’d consider any appearance by him our reward for gutting through a commercial break. If you think about it, the Energizer Bunny was the only product mascot who never lost his cool factor.
I still throw them on my tree every year, in part for tradition’s sake, but also because they just look so damn perfect on there, what with the surrounding lights competing for shine prominence. They’re rabbit-shaped icicles that never melt, and when I put it that way, it’s no surprise that some of us worship them as decorative deities.
When I hold one of them now, I transform back into the horrible junior high version of me, with the terrible shirt and the bootleg Skidz pants, and the haircut that looks like an atomic explosion, and the cheeks that resemble cans of Play-Doh.
So I don’t hold them too often.
But they still look great on the tree.