QUICK, what’s your favorite Christmas special?
If you answered “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” you’re right! (If you said “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” you’re a filthy liar because though no one wants to publicly admit it, that first Peanuts special is dull, poorly animated and depressing; and then there’s all that Fundamental Christian proselytizing by Linus at the end – completely out of place in a Christmas special; an offensive affront to the modern holiday aesthetic which frankly I’m surprised hasn’t been edited out for recent airings.)
Anyway, with regards to Rudolph, despite it being your favorite special, there was a time – decades, actually – when each Christmas season we weren’t inundated with endless Rudolph merchandise. Indeed, there was, like, nothing other than maybe a record album from when it first aired in 1964 until the late 1990s.
Then in 1999, CVS offered these Beanie Baby-like beanbags during the height of Beanie Baby stupidity. (Forget the housing bubble; it was the people who invested in worthless Beanie Babies that put this economy in the toilet.) The Rudolph beanies were a huge hit and after that, in the true spirit of Christmas, countless licensees climbed aboard the Rudolph gravy sleigh.
More and more and more Rudolph crap was manufactured: both figures and figurines, ornaments and tree decorations, plush and stuffed dolls, each new item more redundant than the last and nearly identical to previous offerings until we got to where we all are today: hating the very sight of Rudolph and sick of that stupid special, and tuning in only because the tall elf with the horn-rimmed glasses reminds us fondly of character actor Herbert Anderson for whom we’ve always had a soft spot in our heart.
The point is, if you’re really into Rudolph memorabilia, or Rudolphibilia as its known in collector circles, you have your inflatable Rudolph yard decoration (mint in box), your Clarice lip gloss (unopened), you have your Abominable Snow Monster bobblehead (in original packaging), your Yukon Cornelius mustache grooming kit (unused), your Hermey the Elf home dentistry molar pliers (still in blister-pack)…and of course, dozens and dozens of resin figures by Enesco of all the other characters, every last one in just slightly different poses and each released a year apart (and you collectors have to have them all!), but brother, you ain’t got everything. You ain’t got everything.
Because here, then, is the rarest, most obscure piece of Rudolphibilia:
The official Mr. Coffee Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Iced Tea Maker.
See, it’s, eh, it’s got “Iced Tea Maker” in that famous Rudolph font. That’s the same lettering they use in the opening credits of the special, right? You see it, don’t you?! …Why am I such a misfit?