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!
Wednesday, December 6th:
In a world where we can buy the leg lamp from A Christmas Story and the moose mugs from Christmas Vacation, I think it’s high time for a Gremlins plushie with light-up eyes that we can stuff in our Christmas trees.
It’s such an obvious idea, I have no doubt that some company will eventually do exactly that. And whether they’ve seen this post or not, I will absolutely take credit and demand a free sample as payment.
The above scene is, of course, from Gremlins. Even without the red-eyed monster hiding in there, I’ve always been fond of the Peltzers’ Christmas tree. I’m a sucker for old school silver tinsel, and there was enough of it on that tree to choke every vacuum on the Eastern Seaboard. A+.
Tuesday, December 5th:
When I was a kid, my mother always put out Hershey’s Kisses during Christmastime, in their special holiday wrappers. I emptied those bowls as fast as she could fill them, but it wasn’t really for the chocolate.
No, I was way more interested in the foil wrappers, which I passed along to my action figures. The five-inch freaks on my bedroom floor had a million uses for ‘em. Some used the foil as extra armor. Others used them to wrap teensy tiny gifts. Still others crafted strange works of art that I could best describe as the stylistic midpoint between Delia Deetz and Nick Moore.
I still think of it whenever I see Hershey’s Kisses in their holiday wrappers, which are still made today. I couldn’t have been the only kid who did that, but judging by the lack of response to a since-pulled post on Dino Drac’s Facebook page, I dunno, maybe there were only 3 or 4 of us.
Monday, December 4th:
I was never big on Sierra Mist, so when I heard that Pepsi was swapping it out for Starry, I was hardly upset. Besides, I liked Starry’s weird, retro, fake-product-in-a-sitcom vibe. All was well.
But eventually it hit me. Losing Sierra Mist meant that we were also losing Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash. Ouch! Introduced in 2006, I *adored* this soda. It was easily among my favorite holiday junk foods of the modern era, and it was around often enough to feel like a safe staple of the season. (It even survived that temporary “Mist TWST” rebrand.)
Today we pour one out for Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash, a high-point for the holidays in the 2000s. May the next generation of nostalgists steal my obnoxiously-watermarked photo for their Tikky Tok videos about how they tried it when they were 7. One love.
Sunday, December 3rd:
Shown above is the Star Wars Cloud City Playset, a Sears-exclusive from 1980. If you’re wondering why it’s turning up on a Christmas blog, well, that scan is from the 1980 Sears Wish Book, so it stands to reason that 95% of the kids who owned Cloud City had Santa to thank.
If you think it looks like cheap cardboard… it was! Cloud City wasn’t the only Sears-exclusive Star Wars playset from Kenner, and most of them were similar. You’d sometimes get a plastic “base” with a cardboard backdrop, but this one didn’t even have that much.
It was flimsy as fuck, but still totally gorgeous. If there was one benefit to cardboard construction, it was that Kenner could create environments that would’ve been far too pricey to do in plastic.
In truth, these “playsets” were usually just added value to what Sears was really selling: multi-packs of action figures. Cloud City came with four: Han Solo, Lobot, Dengar, and one of those rascally Ugnaughts. The whole shebang retailed for $11, which was actually less than the four figures would’ve cost if purchased separately. In effect, the cardboard playset was free!
Saturday, December 2nd:
If Santa brought you crayons back in 1992, they were definitely in that tin. Crayola must’ve made a bazillion of those things, which came with the standard 64-pack boxes of crayons inside.
I say this not just because of anecdotal evidence – I had one, and so did every other kid I knew – but because the empty tins have been all over eBay since the site’s inception.
It’s not surprising that so many tins have survived, as they were customarily repurposed again and again, even long after the crayons were trashed. Some of you might look at that tin and remember thread, thumbtacks, paper clips or store receipts way more than anything from Crayola.
Side note: Tin or no tin, I’m a big proponent of kids getting boxes of crayons for Christmas. They aren’t flashy, and they’re certainly not a “main gift,” but who doesn’t get at least a little excited over a fresh pack of crayons?
Friday, December 1st:
Here’s one of my favorite tree ornaments – Sogmaster, who was once the “big bad” of the Cap’n Crunch universe. As a kid, I was pretty obsessed with this guy, and privately lamented the fact that the only Sogmaster action figure was that teensy PVC figure that came inside specially marked cereal boxes.
Speaking of which, that’s how I got this ornament. It was hidden inside boxes of Christmas Crunch back in 1988. (Christmas Crunch is still around, but it meant so much more back then. Actually, at that time, I think it was the only holiday-themed cereal on the market!)
PS: I just Googled, and apparently I’d forgotten that this dude’s formal name was Squish. “Squish, the Sogmaster.” I understand wanting to punctuate the villains’ desire to make cereal mushy, but screw that. “Sogmaster” sounds cooler on its own.
Thursday, November 30th:
Your new favorite photo just hit Dino Drac! Bask in the holy glow of this early ‘80s McDonald’s restaurant, all decked out for the holidays. Goddamn, this is gorgeous. Looks like a shot from a Bob Clark movie. (A Christmas Story or Black Christmas – take your pick.)
While you’re unlikely to find a fast food restaurant quite so heartwarming this December, plenty of them still do get into the spirit. It’s less about the franchise and more about the particular franchisees. Whether it’s McD’s, BK or Wendy’s, I’ve seen quite a few do some festive setups even in recent years. Like, festive enough to almost make you forget that they’ve all been remodeled to resemble banks.
Still, what a glorious image. Seemed like the perfect thing to throw at you on the eve of December. (Which is actually just a few hours away as I type this. How is that even possible? I swear, 2023 was six seconds long.) Read More…
The time has come! The most anticipated Purple Stuff episode of the year just dropped, and oh yes, it’s time for us to dive into another old Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! And boy, we picked a GOOD one…
Join me and Jay from Sludge Central for an hour-long celebration of the 1986 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is definitely in the running for the best ever.
The three-hour broadcast is nonstop insanity from start to finish, and features everything from He-Man to Barbie to rogue clowns, and even Phyllis Diller driving a goose-shaped car.
This is a big one. Might be my favorite of all the parade episodes we’ve done!
If you’ve never experienced this particular parade, you’re not gonna believe your ears. Even the “bad” stuff is amazing. Hell, even the commercial breaks are incredible – and yes, we’re covering a few of those, too!
Actually, on that note: In addition to the new episode, we also just dropped a surprise bonus show over on Patreon, where we’re covering another two commercials from the parade broadcast. Sign up now to hear that, and to get instant access to our enormous back catalog of bonus episodes!
I also put together this montage of clips from the parade featuring all of the performances (and commercials) that we’ll be discussing. This was made using BMan78’s complete upload of the parade, which you can view here and here. (Montage made with permission – thank you, BMan!)
We hope y’all enjoy the show. We always have a blast recording the parade eps, and this was no exception. If it puts you in the mood for more Macy’s action, feel free to dive back into our older parade reviews:
Thanks so much for listening, and for sharing the show around! The holiday season is here, and we hope this helps you kick it off with a laugh or three.
Dino Drac’s November Funpack is here, and I’m so excited about this one. The November pack is always one of my favorites to do, even if it’s probably the most labor-intensive box every year. A lot of work goes into these babies!
It’s an extremely festive holiday-charged box, and if you’re a current subscriber, good news: You’re locked in!
Subscriptions are currently closed, but I do have a small number of spares that I can sell on an individual basis. The price is $25, shipped anywhere in the United States. Skip to the bottom for ordering info (and please read the fine print), or keep reading to learn about everything in this month’s box! Read More…
Welcome to Dino Drac’s Daily Halloween Thing! The 2023 edition! Check back every day from now through 10/31 for a haunted hodgepodge of spooky reviews, memories and more.
Tuesday, October 31st:
Happy Halloween, everyone! Yeah, on a Tuesday! I know that isn’t optimal, but I hope you’re still managing to squeeze some last spooky drops out of the season.
I realized earlier that Halloween the Cat hasn’t appeared on the site all season, so it’s only fitting that he gets to close out this year’s tiny-sized Halloween Countdown.
(His new thing is begging for me to bring him outside to sit for a few minutes. He has no interest in wandering around, and with his condition, I wouldn’t be able to let him, anyway. He just wants to observe the world, and swipe a few treats on the way back.)
I hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s Countdown, however small it was. It was an interesting experience, as I barely even mentioned these updates on social media. It was really just for you old schoolers, and in many ways it was nice to remove the usual pressure to make everything “link-worthy.”
Gotta thank everyone who’s been commenting along the way, too, whether on this page, or in the Spooky Foods Graveyard, or on After Dark. I can’t even remember the last time I checked my traffic, so comments are really the only “metric” I have to know that people are reading at all!
I do plan to run a similar diary feature for the holiday season, though I haven’t decided exactly how that will look, or what the frequency will be. But yes, expect something! In the meantime, you probably know my socials, but if not, look for me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter/X, and Bluesky.
I’m going to throw on Halloween III and try to resist these leftover packages of Sour Patch Kids. Happy Halloween to us all, and may the Harry & David catalogs land in our mailboxes tomorrow afternoon. Love ya. Read More…