Christmas Crunch may be the most known “holiday edition cereal,” but friends, there are OTHERS. Or at least, there were others. While Cap’n Crunch surfed the red-and-green wave to obscene heights of glory, other cereals tried to do the same.
Post’s Pebbles cereals and General Mills’ Lucky Charms might not be doing it this year, but in the past, they too made dark pacts with Santa. Most of the “big cereals” gave Christmas a shot at least once, so long as it made sense. Sometimes, a “big cereal” gave Christmas a shot even when it made no sense.
Case in point: Christmas Cookie Crisp, from 1991.
Rare during its time and all but forgotten today, I have never once eaten Christmas Cookie Crisp, but I am still IN LOVE WITH IT. Rightly believing that it would take extreme measures to pass Cookie Crisp off as holiday cereal, Ralston went incredibly over the top. This wasn’t a measured bet. Ralston put it all on the line, and they used enough red food dye to mimic 100% of the bloodshed from both world wars.
Before we talk about the cereal, consider its box. It’s a tricky box. If you look at it too quickly, you might not notice its many justifications for acoustic tribute songs.
Let’s start with the logo. The “Christmas” part makes it seem like Ralston was aiming for old-fashioned sincerity, but the “Cookie Crisp” part throws a serious wrench into the works. I guess they were trying to convey candy and icing, but by using two shades of green, it comes off more like slime, as if this was a Halloween version of Cookie Crisp, masquerading as a Christmas thing for reasons we don’t want to know.
Then, there’s the trio of characters. Officer Crumb, the Cookie Crook and Chip the Dog. I love how they maintained the illusion of strife even when it was so obvious that all three were friends, because come on, only friends would conspire to don equally accentuating Christmas costumes.
It doesn’t end there. Check out that cereal bowl. Not what it’s in it, because we’ll get to THAT in a minute. I mean the bowl itself. There’s a goddamned ribbon tied around it. And wait, what’s that? Look closer! The whole bowl is actually in some kind of miniature sleigh!
“Boring white box?” My ass. If Ralston was guilty of anything, it was a poor sense of arrangement.
But the cereal itself is where Christmas Cookie Crisp truly shined. I never had the chance to try it, but I don’t think that makes a difference. No matter what the stuff tasted like, it was still worth eating. Our taste buds are so easily influenced by our eyes, and if you’re looking at something this beautiful, you’re going to force yourself to believe that it tastes good.
The box defines it as — and I quote — “crunchy little ‘Christmas Cookies’ with frosty sprinkles.” Even the description is cute!
The usual chocolate chip cookies were replaced with what I guess were intended to be holiday sugar cookies, in red and green. The standard “chocolate chip bits” were transformed into snowy flakes, which, of course, are better known as “snowflakes.” Remind me of this paragraph the next time I get mad at people for regarding me only as a photo gallery operator.
Solidifying the cereal’s place in my heart, there was even a side panel recipe for “Christmas Cookie-Crispies.” They looked like bricks made from driveway gravel.
Currently, there is no way to make true Christmas Cookie-Crispies. This explains the serious boom of antidepressants over the past few years. Searching for a bright side in the blackest corner, at least we still have one picture of them. I’m going to cut it out and toss it in my wallet, and then, when I’m on the front line, Lieutenant Jimmy will learn what I am fighting for.
The back of the box features three cutout ornaments, which admittedly rank pretty low on the cereal premium totem pole. But then, Ralston was always skimpy with their prizes. They had a strange obsession with giving us free plastic bowls, but aside from that, Ralston was pretty Scroogey.
I decided that this no-cereal cereal review was going to need something to salvage it, so with tears in my eyes, I cut the holy shit out of my twenty-year-old cereal box. Remember that when all else fails and I pretend that this site warrants a Kickstarter.
I liked the ornaments just fine with their inbuilt Cookie Crisp characters, but according to the directions, I was supposed to slide my own photos into them. So, here we have Adam Warlock, Freddy Krueger, and Mr. Clamp from Gremlins 2.
That’s what I did today. Yesterday, I came home with a 42” animated dinosaur, and cut one of my shirts up so it could have a cape. I didn’t think today would prove more idiotic, but here we are. A Daniel Clamp Christmas tree ornament, made from a sliver of a decades-old cereal box. Am I a star, yet?