5 Classic Christmas Commercials

Christmas Commercials

Man, what better way to keep getting pumped up for Christmas than watching some old commercials!  No?  You’re not a fan of commercials, are you?  Well, once upon a time I didn’t used to be.  But that was back in the days before Tivo, Netflix, and other streaming services that allow you to skip all the advertising.

These days, I find myself kind of missing commercials.  Not every commercial break, but some old commercials in particular.  It was rare, but sometimes commercials could actually enhance the show you were viewing.  Hang on…hear me out!  I can remember watching the Mickey’s Christmas Carol Special that aired on NBC every year in the mid-late 80’s, and when the commercials that aired were Christmas in nature, it kept the cool Christmas vibe going for my young self.  So these commercials we’re viewing here today get a pass.

Folgers Coffee, “Peter Comes Home for Christmas”

I’m not sure why this commercial ever touched me as a kid.  It probably had something to do with the fact that my old man traveled a lot, and there were times he would come in early in the morning like this.  Never at Christmas though.  He was always in town for that.  But whatever the reason, this commercial has continued to resonate with me for all these years since I first saw it air.

I think it really embodies the spirit of Christmas in the form I like to think of it.  Families being together, and enjoying simple things in life like a fresh cup of coffee is endearing to me.  I actually keep this commercial on my Christmas playlist on YouTube to make sure I see every season.


Polaroid Cameras

One of the great frustrations for me growing up was trying to prove or disprove that Santa Claus was real.  I tried my own ways of getting to the bottom of things, but trying to snap a picture with a Polaroid camera was never one of them. I give these two kids an A for effort here, as their plan kinda worked.  They just didn’t anticipate Santa being a petty thief and sneaking away with their snapshot.


More Christmas:  Making My Christmas Wish List From the 1986 Sears Wish Book


Coca-Cola, “Holidays Are Coming”

Something about Coca-Cola and Christmas just goes together.  Maybe it’s the red and white color scheme that Coke has in common with Santa Claus.  Whatever it is, the two seem to be synomous with each other year after year.  I don’t even care much for Coke, but I consider them a large part of Christmas.

In this commercial, the Coca-Cola trucks all decked out in lights is an impressive sight.  If I saw that rolling up the road I live on, I’d probably just go ahead and switch from Mountain Dew as my soft drink of choice.  That image in real life would be that powerful.  I believe in later years they changed the chorus from “holidays are coming”, to “Santa packs are coming”.  Does anyone else remember that besides me?


Fruity Pebbles Cereal

Ok, so here is another product I identify with Christmas, based pretty much on just this commercial.  Now I’ve always loved me a big bowl of delicious Fruity Pebbles, and it don’t have to be Christmas for me to enjoy them.  But I always make sure I have some on hand for the holiday season.  When it gets to be about October, I start keeping my eyes out in the stores for the special Christmas edition of the cereal with the red and green pebbles.

This commercial embodies the Christmas spirit as well as Fred finally let’s Barney have a bowl of his Pebbles that he’s always after.  Maybe those kids should have paid attention to this lesson and let the Trix rabbit have some for Christmas.


McDonald’s Ice Skating

Of all the commercials on this list, and all the commercials that have ever aired with a Christmas theme, this one is my favorite.  I’m not sure I can pinpoint exactly when I first saw it, but I CAN pinpoint when it first connected with me.  It was on during the airing of Mickey’s Christmas Carol in 1985.  For whatever reason, watching the sad tale of the little boy who was left behind while everyone was ice skating was something that I held on to.  Nowadays, I include this commercial on every bootleg Christmas special I put together for my kids.  I really don’t associate Ronald McDonald with Christmas in any other way, but for this 30 seconds, he’s as big a hero as Santa Claus.

Well that’s it.  Five classic Christmas commercials that I never minded seeing pop in the middle of my favorite show.  Do you have any old favorites?   Share them in the comments if you do.

The Year Santa Became Real

By the fall of 1986, my thoughts were starting to turn to the coming Christmas season, and anticipation was starting to build for the holiday. The hope of children isn’t easily pushed to the side, but back in those days, I would be lying if I said that Christmas didn’t feel a little lacking.

Admittedly, I personally never felt slighted on Christmas morning. Whatever was under the tree from Santa Claus always left a lasting impression on me, even if I sometimes felt the little internal tug of wanting a little bit more. But when I would return to school, and see and hear about all the cool things my friends and others had gotten for Christmas, I would get a little jealous.

I was a good kid. I never caused trouble at school, and I definitely knew better than to cause trouble at home. I did my chores and I ate my vegetables, so why did I seem to be farther down Santa’s Nice list than some of the other kids? “Jonathon pushed Samantha down and hurt her arm”, “why did he get a huge Lego set and I only got a trumpet?”. “Zach punched me in the arm all year…hard.” “Why did he get a cool G.I. Joe HISS Tank and all the Dreadnoks figures and I ended up with a set of cars?” Such are the worrisome wonderings and questions of a kid who is not aware of all the comings and goings of adulthood.

What I didn’t know or understand back then, and actually I’m still learning and gaining a greater perspective on now, is that times were very tough for my family in the early eighties. My Dad was a self-employed business man. He bought and sold new and used conveyor belts to coal mines, and as the coal business went, so did my family’s financial well-being.

1983 was a very tough year. My Grandfather’s alcohol addiction was in the last stages of consuming his life, and my Dad spent more time helping my Grandmother, both emotionally AND financially, than he did on the business. The first week of December, my Grandfather passed away. Christmas was lean due to dealing with the emotional struggles of losing someone close, and the fact that so much time had been spent away from the business.

1984 came along, and so did the large-scale United Mine Workers of America strike in West Virginia…..primarily against the A.T. Massey Coal Companies and subsidiaries. West Virginia was always the bread basket of my Dad’s business. When strikes occurred, it crippled his business and our financial well-being for quite some time, and unfortunately, this strike would not be over quickly.

1985 came, and the strike was still on. It wasn’t resolved until late in the year. Too late for lost income to be made up. Several straight years of lean and underwhelming visits from Santa Claus was wearing on my faith in the man.

But then came 1986. The strike had been resolved, and with the mines back in full-time operation, orders poured in from all sides. It was a VERY good year. Not so coincidentally, Santa seemed to fill his sleigh completely just for my family. I guess he was making up for lost time.

Continue reading “The Year Santa Became Real”

Retro Rambler’s Christmas Gift Guide 2017

Christmas Gift Guide

As a true retro lover perpetually stuck in the 80’s and 90’s, sometimes it’s easier for me to spot awesome retro gifts than say you’re average joe or millennials.  What if someone from the current generation wanted to get their Pop something cool from Christmas to remind them of their childhood?  Would they have any clue what he would like?  Or what if you’re like me, and want to get something for someone who isn’t as retro as we are?  Would you know what is out there to be had?  Well have no fear, because the Retro Rambler is here!

I’ve scoured the ‘net to find the gifts that all retro lovers will love, and taken a lot of guess work out of the gift buying process for you.  We’ve put together a list of 25 gifts that are retro through and through, so take a look and find that perfect gift for someone in your life.

We’ve added links to all these products to their Amazon page.  If you see something that you’re going to buy, we ask that you use our link here.  It will help the site as we get a small cut for sending traffic their way.  It don’t add anything to your cost, and you would be helping the site here stay afloat.  With that all said, let’s take a look at this years top gifts for the retro lover.


Rubiks Cube

01.  Rubik’s Cube

Does it get any more 80’s than the Rubik’s cube?  This thing was everywhere throughout the decade, and if you were alive back then, you probably had one in your hands at some point.  This would make a great gift for anyone, as it will test their skill and patience trying to solve it.

Get Rubik’s Cube at Amazon for $11.59



02:  Simon

The classic 80’s game of quick action, memory, and recall is back and has a sleek new look and improved performance; it’s surprisingly addictive.

Get Simon at Amazon for $24.02



03:  Lego Classic Brick Box

Lego’s were one of the top toys of the 80’s and 90’s, and still are today.  You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy them, as anyone can have fun making and building things with them.  These boxes include a wide range of Lego bricks in 35 different colors so your imagination can run wild.

Get the Lego Classic Brick Box on Amazon for $27.99


Lego Ideas Book

04:  Lego Ideas Book

If you’re thinking of getting the Lego’s Classic Brick Box, or if you already have a bunch of Legos on hand, then you’ll want to pick up this Lego Ideas Book.  It’s got details on how to build all sorts of stuff, and no matter what you have in mind, you’ll probably find an idea that works in this book.

Get the Lego Idea Book on Amazon for $17.86

Continue reading “Retro Rambler’s Christmas Gift Guide 2017”

Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas Lineup for 2017

25 Days of Christmas

Once again, Freeform is back with their 25 Days of Christmas programming, and here is their complete schedule for this year.  Once again, it’s loaded with plenty of old school cartoons and movies, so have a great “retro” time watching these and getting ready for Christmas.

Friday, December 1
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – RICHIE RICH’S CHRISTMAS WISH
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. – JACK FROST
9:15 – 11:25 p.m. – ELF
11:25 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. – DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Saturday, December 2
9:00 – 9:30 a.m. – MICKEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL
9:30 – 11:00 a.m. – MICKEY’S ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS
1:05 – 3:10 p.m. – DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL
7:00 – 9:10 p.m. – ELF
11:50 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. – THE POLAR EXPRESS

Sunday, December 3
11:05 a.m. – 1:10 p.m. – SANTA PAWS 2: THE SANTA PUPS
1:10 – 2:15 p.m. – SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN’ TO TOWN
3:55 – 6:05 p.m. – THE POLAR EXPRESS
10:50 p.m. – 12:55 a.m. – THE SANTA CLAUSE 3: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE

Monday, December 4
7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. EST – SANTA PAWS 2: THE SANTA PUPS
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – MICKEY’S TWICE UPON A CHRISTMAS
12:30 – 2:30 p.m. – ARTHUR CHRISTMAS
2:30 – 4:35 p.m. – THE SANTA CLAUSE
4:35 p.m. – 6:40 p.m. – THE SANTA CLAUSE 3: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE
6:40 – 8:50 p.m. – ELF
12:00 – 2:00 a.m. – FOUR CHRISTMASES

Continue reading “Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas Lineup for 2017”

7 Retro Thanksgiving Advertisements

If you’ve been a reader of mine for any length of time, you already know that I love vintage advertising, and love to share it with the rest of the world.  Those ads that are long forgotten, and maybe haven’t seen the light of day for many years.  Sometimes, I bust out ads for products that haven’t even been available in many years, and some feature stuff you can still get today, albeit in a slightly different form.

Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, here are seven vintage ads that were created to push products for the holiday.

Miracle Baste Turkey

First up, we’ve got this ad for Maple Leaf’s Miracle Baste frozen turkey.  Now I don’t recall of ever hearing of Miracle Baste, because in my lifetime, Butterball has been the gold standard of frozen turkeys.  In addition, we’ve got Captain Obvious telling us that “Butter makes it taste better”.  Well no shit.  I can’t think of a single thing that butter doesn’t make better, but good on them I guess for capitalizing on people’s love of butter.  I’m not sure exactly when this ad is from, but judging by the fashion and hair style choice of the “model” in this ad, I’d place it in the late 70’s.

Del Monte Corn

Del Monte canned corn (or some other brand) has been a staple in everyone’s household their whole loves I’d be willing to bet.  And I’m sure that vegetables of all sorts are spread on the table for the Thanksgiving feast, so why not run an ad like this to put the Del Monte brand in the forefront of the shopper’s minds.  Long gone are the days of raising your own food and preserving it and busting it out for Thanksgiving.  Canned goods like these ushered in the quick heat variety of vegetables, and there’s no going back now.

McCormick’s variety of spices compliment so many different traditional Thanksgiving dishes.  From the Poultry seasoning for the turkey, to the various spices that make the pumpkin pie so delicious, McCormick has a spice for every dish you want on your Thanksgiving table.

Holy crap!  Does this look horrible or what?!?  Hellman’s Mayonnaise came up with recipe to promote sales of it’s product, but good Lord couldn’t they come up with a better idea than combing mayo with cranberry sauce?  In what world would some executive think this was a good idea?  Can anyone out there reading this testify to ever having this?

Now while I enjoy a slice of fried Spam on a rare occasion, I just can’t see making it the center of my Thanksgiving meal.  And I really can’t see trying to pass it off as a turkey substitute, complete with stuffing rolled up inside of it.  Spam always tried to be creative with uses for it’s product, but this may be pushing it.

If you’re into weird food at your Thanksgiving table, you may want to check out MeTV’s article on 14 Vintage Thanksgiving Foods We’re Thankful to Never Eat Again.

Banquet rolled out their frozen “TV Dinners” in the 60’s, and their Turkey dinner was patriarch of the line.  While not a bad idea to go after the “single” or “alone at Thanksgiving” market, I just can’t imagine sitting down to a previously frozen Thanksgiving dinner.  That is not a knock on the dinner itself, as I find it to be tasty the rest of the year.  It’s just not what I’m looking for on Thanksgiving.

And here we are at the seventh and final ad for today.  The Kodak camera.  Have you ever thought about the Kodak camera’s place in our love for nostalgia?  Without it, a lot of those old memories wouldn’t have the visual reminder of those things and times we loved so much.  I salute you Kodak for your fine product, and your contribution to keeping memories alive.

Planes, Trains, & Automobiles is a Thanksgiving Gem

Planes Trains and Automobiles

Anyone who has ever endured the horrors of holiday travel can appreciate this endearing tale of a man simply trying to get home to see his family. His adventurous and hilarious journey made Planes, Trains and Automobiles, released in 1987, a box-office hit for John Hughes and remains a beloved favorite among millions.

Neil Page is a stressed-out advertising executive who is traveling home from New York to Chicago for the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. He quickly learns that this will not be an easy journey when his efforts to get a cab to the airport are unwittingly thwarted by portly shower ring salesman, Del Griffith (played brilliantly by John Candy). Things only go downhill from there.

Finally at the airport, he learns that the cab-stealing Griffith is seated next to him on his flight. A happy-go-lucky slob, Griffith manages to annoy Neil all the way to Kansas, where the plane is forced to land due to the increasingly bad weather. With all flights eventually cancelled, Neil decides to rent a car, only to be dropped off in the middle of an airport parking lot, his transportation nowhere to be found. After an angry (and hilarious) confrontation with the lady at the rental counter (a priceless scene with Edie McClurg), he decided to join forces with Del, a seasoned traveling salesman with many supposed connections.

Continue reading “Planes, Trains, & Automobiles is a Thanksgiving Gem”

How Major Retailers Changed When We Celebrate Thanksgiving


In the early part of the 20th century, American retailers were up against a unique challenge.  Falling at the end of November, Thanksgiving, with it’s football rivalries, quiet family gatherings, and emphasis on gratitude rather than wanting was antithetical to the whole commercial ideal.  Yet such a major holiday, and one so thoroughly American, could hardly be bumped aside.  The solution was to Christmas-ize Thanksgiving, and make it the official start to the shopping season.


In 1920, Gimbel’s department store in New York organized the first Thanksgiving parade, the highlight of which was a fireman hired to dress as Santa Claus.  Other stores around the nation quickly followed up on this idea themselves.  In Detroit, Hudson’s started the Santa’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, and that same year, back in New York, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade got it’s start.  With Santa arriving in the very last float, Christmas – and the shopping season – was officially underway.  Since many people had the next day off, store owners made the Friday after Thanksgiving a sort of national shopping day, with special sales, special hours, and special attractions to lure in customers.  In most American cities, the Friday after Thanksgiving became the day when downtown shopping districts turned on their holiday lights and stores unveiled their Christmas windows.

So important did the intense, month-long burst of Christmas related shopping become to the national economic well-being, that, in 1939, when Thanksgiving fell on the last day of a five-Thursdayed November, Federated Department Stores protested the shortened shopping season.  President Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week, thus adding six days to the shopping season.  In 1941, Congress passed a bill officially moving Thanksgiving from the “last Thursday” of November to the “fourth Thursday”, ensuring that there would always be a maximum number of shopping days.

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