As I’m told, several readers have already begun their annual Christmas Crunch cereal hunts. These, naturally, will extend to any breakfast box filled with limited edition Santa marshmallows.
To date, it doesn’t seem that anyone has been successful. After all, it’s still early November. No reason to panic. I can’t remember a year going by without some highfalutin cereal company giving us our red and green glories. It’s just a matter of boring, painful patience.
Well, for you, it is. For me, it’s an excuse to weather the complicated unlocking process to my top secret all-steel vault, where I keep everything from social security cards to twenty-year-old sealed boxes of Christmas-themed cereals. Ahoy!
From 1991, it’s Holiday Lucky Charms! Though General Mills has more recently used the “Winter Lucky Charms” moniker, the concept has remained consistent: It’s Lucky Charms, with all of the usual marshmallow shapes replaced with things that make you want to sing carols and do good deeds.
What really separates the 1991 version from the kind you might find this year is the box design. I’m not sure if it’s fair to charge one single cereal box with summing up the entire “flavor” of my childhood Christmases, but this is coming pretty damn close. It’s simultaneously wholesome and gaudy, like all the best things were.
Absolutely love that sleek, deep Christmas green, and the red ribbon effect. As today’s holiday decorations experiment with less traditional colors and just grow more and more complicated, this design seems almost foreign. More things should look like this, even if they have nothing to do with Lucky Charms.
Also: Take a look at that old school, pre-makeover Lucky! He hadn’t yet found his attitudinal face or that wild, arms-flailing gallop, but his eyebrows were so much more caterpillar-like. In the great war of Lucky the Leprechauns, I think it’s a wash.
For cereal that’s older than some of you, it’s held up remarkably well. A few of the pieces look burnt, and the stench isn’t completely unlike a long dead elephant, but if I was really really hungry, maaaaybe.
I’ve fondled many cereals just as old as this one, so I’m all too familiar with the sad byproduct of ancient breakfast: The marshmallows tend to shrink and shrivel. Can’t blame them. They’re twenty-years-old. In marshmallow years, that’s gotta be 800. The next time I want to kill Jaden Smith, I’ll picture him rattling off that lame Yoda line to my old cereal box instead of Jackie Chan.
Starting at the upper-left and going clockwise: A candy cane, a Christmas star, an ornament, a Christmas tree, a stocking, and a bell. You probably could’ve figured that out yourself, but I worried about certain idiots confusing the ornament for a duplicated-but-sideways bell. It ain’t.
I think every cereal-eating 1991 child would’ve preferred a more literal “toy,” but the free, cutout gift tags aren’t bad. I especially like that they went with “to” and “from” instead of “dear” and “love.” I’ve always found the “love” on some gift tags to be aggressive and presumptuous. Can anyone say that they’ve truly loved everyone they’ve ever given a Christmas present to? Only the blind and hapless.
All of the gift tags feature Lucky. Sometimes he’s alone, and sometimes he’s with the kids. Sometimes he’s on a train, and sometimes he’s in a wreath, looking quite a bit like a dead deer head mounted on the wall. Whoever found the end of that rainbow gained some seriously impressive salvage rights.
The important thing is, all of the tags include Lucky. All except one. One tag just has the two pointless kids, rocking on a wooden horse. That’s the tag you use when wrapping a present for your least favorite person.
Also, is it just me, or is the entirety of the upper box copy just begging to be turned into a radio ad? G-get ready for Christmas with L-Lucky’s Ho-Ho-Holiday Cut-Outs! I wonder if Vince Curatola does voice-over.
Ugh. God. Want. The side panel’s recipe for MICROWAVE HOLIDAY BARS sounds easy and delicious, and if my Lucky Charms weren’t prehistoric, I would absolutely be making them right now. Wouldn’t call them MICROWAVE HOLIDAY BARS, though. No flair in that.
This isn’t the first time that I’ve unearthed ancient Holiday Lucky Charms. More proof that I’m cool. A few years ago, I wrote about the 1994 version, which came in a canister and had free Gummi Lifesavers. I don’t mean this only in terms of numerical sums, but 1994 > 1991.
If that doesn’t satisfy your quest to connect Lucky to Santa conclusively, in 2003, I wrote about then-new Winter Lucky Charms, which were less Catholic and more bluey.