I wanted to sneak one last edition of Classic Christmas Commercials onto Dino Drac before THE BIG DAY, which is now approaching so rapidly that it might actually be January by the time I finish this paragraph.
Below: Five more Christmas commercials from 1987, featuring ALF, Garfield and Santa Claus.
ALF’s Special Christmas! (1987)
Here’s a promo for ALF’s Special Christmas. If you’ve never seen it, just know that there are reasons why the one-hour special has become so internet-infamous.
The episode dealt with some very heavy subjects, from suicide to terminal illness. The script handled them well enough, but at the end of the day, it was still ALF — a show about a wisecracking alien Muppet who loved cat meat.
Depressing, sure, but I’d stop short of calling it “bad.” They probably should’ve been more suggestive than literal with some aspects, but if anyone was gonna introduce ‘80s kids to the darker facets of life, I guess ALF was an okay choice. He cushioned the blows with jokes and fur.
CBS Holiday Specials! (1987)
This video combines two quickie 1987 promos for various Christmas specials.
Charlie Brown and the Grinch teamed for a prime time run on Friday, December 18th, but the bigger story was on Monday the 20th. On that night, the world was introduced to A Garfield Christmas!
I never pushed Snoopy out of my top slot, but A Garfield Christmas was certainly the fresher of the two specials… and in fact the only “cool” Christmas special up until that point. (Never doubt Grandma Arbuckle’s street cred with 1980s grade-schoolers. We adored her!)
7UP’s “Countdown to Christmas” Posters! (1987)
I’ve already written a huge tribute to 7UP’s “Countdown to Christmas” posters, but I thought you’d appreciate being reminded of ‘em again. Because they were great.
On behalf of 7UP, supermarkets gave out awesome Santa posters that let kids count the days until Christmas by gluing cotton balls over Saint Nick’s beard. (Yes, we really did this. We thought it was the best thing ever.)
Remember the advent calendar house from Christmas Vacation? How it threaded unrelated events and threw everything under a holiday umbrella? Those 7UP posters were our versions. They made all of December feel like Christmas — not just the days when we decorated our trees, watched Charlie Brown or opened presents.
Children’s Palace! (1987)
I can’t claim that this ad for the long-dead chain of Children’s Palace toy stores is Christmassy, even if it did air during Frosty the Snowman. Can we settle on calling it half-Christmassy?
Children’s Palace was by that point run by the owners of Child World, another fallen chain. I don’t remember ever visiting one as a kid, but judging by its TV spots and print ads, Children’s Palace was way incredible.
Mix the size and scope of Toys “R” Us with the anything-goes quality of Kay-Bee, and then have that whole circus run by E.F. Duncan from Home Alone 2. From what I can gather, Children’s Palace was basically that.
As for this commercial, I’m not 100% sure what they were going for when they built an oversized arcade claw machine that fished out glowing orbs, but it’s indeed very effective in making me want a glowing orb.
M&M’s Holidays! (1987)
I covered a different M&M’s Holidays commercial back in the first edition of Classic Christmas Commercials, but this one is so much neater.
In the late ‘80s, there were far fewer Christmas-themed candies than we get now. While it might seem overstated to do a whole ad campaign over what were essentially just red-and-green M&M’s, this really was that big of a deal. For a while, M&M’s Holidays was the definitive Christmas candy.
(On a similar note, remember how magical Hershey’s Kisses used to seem in their red and green wrappers? Back then, it didn’t take nearly as much to move us.)
Thanks for reading! If you’d like to relive more old holiday commercials, I’ve now covered over 50 of them: