Dino Drac’s 31 Days of Christmas!

Welcome to Dino Drac’s 31 Days of Christmas! Check back every day between now and December 25th for bite-sized blogs about ridiculous holiday things. I won’t be plugging this feature on social media often, so it’ll be on you to remember!

Monday, December 25th:

Merry Christmas, everyone! I’m full, I’m tired, and I feel like if I blink, it’ll be two weeks from now. So while I have the energy, here, have a look at my favorite Christmas present. The best gift anyone has ever received.

Enjoy what’s left of the holiday, and thanks so much for reading Dino Drac’s 31 Days of Christmas. I know it wasn’t exactly a big thing, but I hope it added a little somethin’ to your season!

PS: The “monster Freddy cats” I mentioned a few entries back were a big hit. I’m gonna have a hard time topping that one next year.

Sunday, December 24th:

Live from his Santa-themed castle, Halloween the Cat wishes you a merry Christmas Eve!

I’ve been up since 6:30, wrapping presents, washing clothes, making food, and obsessively refreshing Amazon’s no-good lying tracking system for that last gift that still hasn’t arrived. Thank God the party isn’t until tonight, because I’ll never survive without napping first. I’m old!

Hope you all have a splendid day, no matter what you’re doing, how you’re celebrating, or even if you’re not “celebrating” at all. If all you get out of Xmas Eve is a Chinese combo platter and your 157th viewing of Batman Returns, hey, there are worse days.

I’ll be back tomorrow to put a bow on this, but for now, again, merry Xmas Eve!

Saturday, December 23rd:

For Christmas this year, I bought everyone in my family – irrespective of their age or personal interests – one of these weird, cheap, Freddy Krueger-inspired monster cat dolls. I’m wrapping them up tonight. The reactions should be legendary!

Anyway, happy Christmas Eve Eve! I am EXHAUSTED! Among a billion other to-dos, I couldn’t avoid a Target run earlier, and it was complete madness. Online shopping may have ended the former chaos of Black Friday, but it’s no use against the people who wait until the literal last minute to buy presents.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I’m gonna be a good sport and brave the brouhaha, but if I’m being honest, I’m craving a quiet Christmas, and I’m already looking forward to the 25th. I have zero engagements for Christmas Day, and no plans to change that. Just gonna be me, the cats, Ralphie, and a foil pan of greasy leftovers. Bliss!

Friday, December 22nd:

I finally found them. After last year’s successful return, Lay’s brought Crunch Tators back for another hot holiday hootenanny. Or some shit.

These were famously seen in Home Alone, during the scene where Kevin was “eating junk and watching rubbish.” While Lay’s hasn’t copped to it, that’s obviously why they keep releasing Crunch Tators during the holiday season.

I didn’t have an easy time finding these. They’re exclusive to Dollar General, so I took for granted that they’d be at all Dollar Generals. Oh, what a fool I was. After going to two stores that had a severe lack of alligator-fronted chips, I checked Lay’s product locator and struck greasy gold.

Are the chips good? Yes, they are, and they’d better be, since all Lay’s did was rebrand their existing “Kettle Cooked” chips as “Crunch Tators.” You’re mostly paying for the cool bags and Kevin McCallister connection.

It’s a limited time item, so it stands to reason that Dollar General won’t be getting any additional shipments in. If you’re interested, I think you should definitely prioritize Crunch Tators over everything else you have to do RN.

Thursday, December 21st:

After working ratty dolls with missing hats and scratched eyes in and out of rotation for the last few decades, this year I invested in a mint set of the McDonald’s Muppet Babies “Holiday Huggables” dolls, from 1988.

10/10, would recommend. The prices have gone up, but they’re still way cheaper than a modern analog would cost at, say, a Hallmark store. Also, a great many of them were simply stored away and never actually used for anything, so they’re pretty easy to find with the tags still attached, and without any concerning stains.

Nostalgia is the draw with these, but honestly, they’re nice dolls even without any memories attached. If you have kids or if you yourself are a big kid, you won’t regret buying a set. I know that sounds shilly, but who would sponsor a puff piece about Muppet dolls from 1988? I’m not on the take; I just like baby frogs in Santa hats.

Wednesday, December 20th:

When I was very young, my father always spun an old Chipmunks Christmas album while the family decorated the tree. Absolutely blew my mind to discover that Alvin, Simon and Theodore weren’t invented for the ‘80s cartoon, and in fact had a storied musical career long before I was born.

The album we had wasn’t the one shown above, which lacks the critical track, The Chipmunk Song, aka Christmas Don’t Be Late. That was the *anthem* for our tree-decorating festivities. In truth, it’s hard for me to listen to nowadays. The memories attached to that song are overwhelming to the point of being piercing. I can’t just “listen” to it, y’know? It’s always more like I’m experiencing it, or in a sullen moment, enduring it.

Pretty heavy for a squeaky song about getting presents!

Tuesday, December 19th:

You know, it’s wild. With all of the Christmas presents I got as a kid – and believe me, there were times when I made out like a bandit – this simple ALF doll would probably be my all-time favorite.

I got it in 1986, and I wanted it more than anything. Bucking the usual tradition of letting me open all of my gifts at midnight on Christmas Eve, my parents actually put this one out by the tree on Christmas morning.

I flipped when I saw him. Whatever other kids got out of their My Buddy and Kid Sister dolls, I got from ALF. He wasn’t just “another doll” to throw in the corner. For a while, he was my best friend. We ate together, we played together, and we watched Superstars of Wrestling together. I loved his humor, his patience, and his Chiclet teeth.

Monday, December 18th:

I’m using these Italian Christmas cookies to distract you from the fact that this entry is going up five days late. (Sorry, it’s been a long week!)

These days, I’m all about the rainbow cookies. As a kid, I found the almondy sweetness a little too cloying, and stuck with what I mentally referred to as a “Bakery Chips Ahoy” – that, of course, being the cookie loaded with chocolate chips.

Sunday, December 17th:

Back in June, I purchased the comic strip versions of Garfield’s three main holiday specials: Garfield’s Halloween Adventure, Garfield’s Thanksgiving, and A Garfield Christmas.

A baller move, if I do say so myself. While I assume that a deeper dive would reveal at least one Garfield book rare enough to fetch high prices, I’ve yet to see it. These old titles are super cheap on the collectors’ market, and readily available to boot.

While all three cartoon specials are genuinely good, nostalgia is obviously the big draw. And what could be more nostalgic than those little rectangular Garfield books? The same ones that we used to buy from the book fairs and book clubs at school?

10/10, would recommend. It’s wildly late advice for 2023, but before the holidays roll around next year, remember what I told you.

Saturday, December 16th:

New acquisition: This is a McDonald’s translite (a word Google Docs refuses to accept, btw) promoting their Oliver & Company musical ornaments, from 1988. That year, you got one free with the purchase of a book of gift certificates.

McDonald’s and Disney ran that gimmick a bunch of times in the ‘80s and ’90s, for different movies. There were Little Mermaid ornaments, Rescuers Down Under ornaments, Cinderella ornaments, and then this pair from Oliver & Company. Every time, the only way to get ‘em was by buying gift certificates.

(I can’t blame Ronald for that one. By and large, the ornaments were too nice to use as Happy Meal toys. Besides, they already came in special gift boxes. If he was going to invest that much, he needed big returns.)

I already had a few of the Oliver & Company ornaments (with dead batteries, of course), but this translite is really tough to find. Very pleased to add it to my collection. It’s a beaut!