McDonald’s used to be a part of the holiday tradition–I remember the commercial with the children ice skating–and that’s when I knew Christmas was coming closer. I have McNostalgia. I’m talking about the little boxes of McDonaldland cookies, not those “fresh-baked” cookies sitting in a plastic showcase, which appear to be in the first stages of rigor mortis. I’m talking about cheeseburgers, before you had read Fast Food Nation, cut off your long hair, and became a vegetarian. I’m talking about Happy Meals, with fries and a chocolate milkshake–no bags of apple slices, no cups of yogurt-like goop, no sides of guilt.
In 1988, McDonald’s combined the holidays and happy meals to create a lasting memory, as well as a way to get your parents to take you to McDonald’s six times in one month. You know them as the Christmas Muppet Babies; officially they were called Holiday Huggables. Whatever they were known as, I scooped up these little guys at a flea market over the summer, and everyone remembers them instantly and lovingly.
These are adorable. Allow me to be very blunt here —
THESE ARE FUCKING ADORABLE.
I could crush their little heads, they are so cute. Has there ever existed a cuter bunch of soft polyvinyl chloride dolls? These did not come inside the Happy Meals–instead, a non-Christmas-related book about the Muppet Babies came with the Happy Meal. But for a few more bucks, you could throw in a Holiday Huggable.
I remember we went to McDonald’s every week to get the next one. Kermie of course came out first, and if I recall correctly, then Miss Piggy, followed by Fozzie. But one of them was hard for us to obtain–I think it was Fozzie, and we had to keep going back until we finally had all three. I have a half-blocked out memory of Mom yelling at the cashier for having Miss Piggy again, when we already had the goddamn pig. I had a set and my sister had a set, meaning my mother spent at least $40 getting all those dolls and fries and nuggets.
We were suckers for a good promotion and a Kermit doll in a Santa hat. I remember sleeping with them for a few weeks, and upon waking up, one would be by my feet, one would be on the floor, and one would be completely missing. One by one, the dog found them and chewed off the eyes. And children, that’s how Muppet Babies die.
Even the trayliner was cute as fuckall. That is until the trayliner absorbed the fry oil, creating a halo of grease around Miss Piggy’s Christmas bonnet, and a glop of special sauce blotted out Fozzie. Then you simply felt ashamed, thinking to yourself, oh god, what the fuck am I eating?