Below: Five cereal boxes from Christmases past. They’re all from my personal collection. I’ll thank you in advance for reading this, as it helps to justify why I have a personal collection of Christmassy cereal boxes. As always, you’re my silent enablers. My tongueless Iagos. Go you.
Christmas Crunch! (1999)
I love that Quaker still makes Christmas Crunch, but hate that they haven’t updated the box design in umpteen years. It doesn’t help that the current box looks like a Target circular, stylish as hell but completely bereft of the simplistic charm that originally brought Christmas Crunch to the dance.
Heck, even this box — which came out more than a decade after Christmas Crunch’s debut — still knew how to work it. This is all I want from my Christmas Crunch boxes. Flat colors, art that looks like it was torn from Dollar Tree coloring books, and advertisements for Pokemon watches.
“Dear Santa, and this is gonna sound weird, but…”
Golden Crisp! (1995)
While not seeming very Christmassy at first glance, look close and you’ll notice a promo for a free Sugar Bear ornament. I had that thing. It ruled. A spinning Sugar Bear figurine, dancing within a glow-in-the-dark icicle. For kids who picked Sugar Crisp over Honey Nut Cheerios in 1995, Christmas came early!
Christmas ornaments were popular cereal premiums throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, to the point where you could arguably decorate an entire tree with ‘em. (In fact, this wasn’t even Sugar Bear’s first ornament! An earlier version — which was basically a tiny-sized Sugar Bear doll that just happened to work as an ornament — was somehow even cooler.)
What strikes me most about this box is its shiny gold cardboard. Do today’s boxes of Golden Crisp still have that? Hope so, because that shit was a draw. Made me feel like I was eating something totally legit and not at all like honeyed animal feed.
Ho Ho Holiday Rice Krispies! (1994)
This ‘94 box looks like an ‘84 box, and I’m in love. I won’t repeat my Christmas Crunch spiel, but yeah, this is exactly the type of box I want from my Christmassy cereals. The fact that Snap, Crackle and Pop look like they doubled down on the tramadol is just the gravy.
Holiday Rice Krispies, which mixed red and green pieces into the mix, was a staple for many Christmas seasons. I was pleasantly surprised to see it return in 2015, albeit with a less-funky name, and a color palette that could not at all be mimicked with an 8-pack of crayons.
Bonus points: I can take the still-fresh cereal from my 2015 box and use it to follow the wacky recipes on this 1994 box. The back includes instructions for something called a “Pineapple Cloud Pie,” and I think finding out how Rice Krispies plays into Pineapple Cloud Pies is my destiny.
Winter Lucky Charms! (2000)
While it gets nowhere near the press of other holiday cereals, Winter Lucky Charms is indeed one of the classics. Versions of it have been around since the ‘80s, and the saga continued well into the 2000s.
I don’t believe that General Mills rolled the dice this year, but it’s highly likely that it’ll return someday. (Or maybe I’m just saying that because the thought of no more magical Christmas Lucky Charms emotionally cripples me. Lots of weird things do. You should see me when CVS is out of Pine Brothers throat drops. Niagara Falls.)
In 2000, Lucky was joined by Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Ostensibly there to promote his various specials on video and DVD, Rudolph’s cameo was more worthwhile for the crossover headcanon. Picture Lucky as Hermey the Elf, sassing the broken toys before hurling glowing marshmallows at them. Now try to unsee it. Ha ha, you can’t.
Also: This is a fantastic box. We got Christmas-specific red AND fun-for-everyone icy blue. Love it. Also love that one of the holiday marshmallows looks like the Magus’s chest insignia.
Rice Chex! (2001)
This box didn’t need to go heavy on the holiday design elements, because there’s a goddamned CHRISTMAS MUSIC CD smack-dab in the middle of it. Yes, an entire hour of holiday music was given away free with Chex cereal, and if you’re a fan of Lorie Line and the smooth stylings of the Pop Chamber Orchestra, holy cow was this made for you.
Laugh all you want, but I would’ve been all over this. You could find Christmas music online in 2001, but nowhere near as easily as you can now. A CD full of sleigh bells and leftmost piano keys would’ve scored my season and made me so much happier doing whatever I was doing back then. (Which, now that I think about it, was probably exactly what I’m doing right now. I may have been blogging about bullshit for a bit too long.)
Course, this cereal box didn’t need a CD or even a special design to be worth including. Chex is always Christmassy. Not a year goes by when I don’t make and burn a batch of Chex Mix, owing to a childhood spent watching Charlie Brown do the same. If you’ve only ever tried the prepackaged kind, you have no idea what you’re missing. It tastes like you took every twenty-year-old spice from your kitchen cabinet and poured it over crackers. SO good.
Thanks for reading about cereal boxes from Christmases past!
PS: My latest Star Wars piece is now live, and we’re heading into familiar territory for Dino Drac readers. This week, I’m looking at Star Wars sections from old Sears Wish Books!