Five Classic Christmas Commercials

Man, what better way to keep getting pumped up for Christmas than watching some old Christmas commercials!  No?  You’re not a fan of commercials, are you?  Well, once upon a time I didn’t use 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 Mickey’s Christmas Carol Special that aired on NBC every year in the mid-late ’80s, 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.  That seems like enough of an opening…let’s get to five of my favorite classic Christmas commercials.

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. 

Budweiser Clydesdales

There’s something about those old Budweiser commercials featuring their famous Clydesdale horses that I just love.  Now, there was never any drinking in our family, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying these commercials.  And this one, in particular, is really good.  Just seeing those horses tromp through the snow with the Christmas music in the background is enough to take me way back in time to maybe a Friday night in front of the fireplace while the folks watched the latest episode of Dallas.  It makes me think of all those good old days in the ’80s. 

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 doesn’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 lets 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. 

McDonalds 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 up in the middle of my favorite show.  Do you have any old favorites?   Share them in the comments if you do. 

McDonald’s McD.L.T.

The McDonald’s McDLT gets mentioned on its fair share of fondly remembered food lists and for good reason. Of all the great, and horrible, things to ever grace the menu of McDonald’s, the McDLT was one of the best items they created. I was a fan during its all-to-brief run in the ’80s, and it’s the subject of this edition of Retro Ramblings.

McDonald’s McD.L.T. was a burger similar in size to Burger King’s Whopper sandwich and featured mostly the same ingredients. A quarter-pound beef patty, lettuce, tomato, mayo, cheese, pickles, and ketchup on a toasted sesame seed bun. The beauty of the McDLT though was its packaging. It came in one of McDonald’s signature styrofoam containers. But this one was slightly different from all the rest, as it featured two separate compartments instead of one. 

On one side, the bottom bun and burger patty rested, while on the other were the rest of the toppings and the top bun. This allowed the hot parts to remain separate from the cold parts until you were ready to put it together and eat. And that was the brilliance of it all. A fresh-tasting McDLT when the hot patty met the cold toppings.  What I could never figure out though, was why the slice of cheese was included on the cold side.  To me, it would have made much more sense to put it on top of the patty on the hot side so it could get all melty.  But apparently, I’m not a genius like the burger builders at McDonald’s. 

It was released in the early ’80s to much fanfare but was eventually pulled in 1990 due to pressure from environmental groups protesting their use of polystyrene containers. Once the divided container was gone, so was the magic of the McDLT. It was later re-released as the Big ‘n’ Tasty burger, but without the separated ingredients, the burger fell flat. 

When I first discovered it as a kid, I was at the age where I was getting a little old for Happy Meals and found the McDLT to be a perfectly acceptable replacement for it. I’m guessing it was basically the novelty of it that turned me on to it, but it was a great burger in its own right so that kept me coming back for more. 

As a side note, McDonald’s lost a little luster to me with the fall of those original foam containers. Each container was a different color to represent what was held inside, and even the McNuggets had a little compartment built-in to hold the sauce cup. I understand the environmental impact and agree with the decision to stop using them, but dang, they looked cool, and figure prominently in my memories of McDonald’s and childhood in general.

The timing of the fall of the McDLT kind of lines up perfectly with my ascent to a teenager from childhood.  Maybe that’s why it holds such a special place in my memories, and why I miss it so damn much.