Christmas, Hannukah, and all the other traditional winter holidays are around the corner. That means it’s the time of the year for lots of commercials, including ones for computers. Here are some holiday classics.


Every year on TV there are the classic holiday shows. You have A Charlie Brown Christmas. Rudolf the Rednose Reindeer. Frosty the Snowman. Miracle on 34th Street. Interspersed among all these shows are the traditional holiday commercials. It’s always an opportunity for computer companies to goose sales a little bit as well.

Here are some classic computer commercials to enjoy with your traditional TV shows.

Radio Shack

Radio Shack was always big for pushing computers this time of year. The Tandy 1000, as I’ve mentioned before, was one of their big pushes in the early 80s. Here’s the special sale that Radio Shack put on for the Tandy 1000 one Christmas. Save $300:

You’ll note that the computer has only one floppy drive. The base configuration didn’t come with a hard drive or a second floppy. The memory was only 128K. The family couldn’t have been nearly that happy Christmas morning to see THAT machine under the tree.

To touch on nostalgia, Radio Shack pushed the CoCo3 in 1986. Dad’s dad got him an electronics kit. Now he gets his son a computer from Radio Shack.

Again, the kid couldn’t have been that happy. Although a good machine, by the time the CoCo3 came out, the CoCo line was nearing an end. The C64 was a much more popular unit in this class with infinitely more software and support.


A boy wants a computer for Christmas. What better way than to create a pre-YouTube video for his parents.

This, of course, is the beginning of the Dude You’re Getting A Dell line of commercials. Certainly this was the coal in the stocking for all of us. I think it also heralded the downward spiral of Dell in general.


Being primarily consumer focused, like Radio Shack, Apple hits the holidays strong and has since the Mac debuted. Here’s a nice play-off of the Christmas traditon of building the bike under the tree.

Today, of course, it’s all Mac vs. PC. Here’s one in Rudolf the Rednose Reindeer tradition.


Before the Internet, if you wanted to go online your choice was a local BBS or a paid dial-up service like AOL or CompuServe. One early service came from Sears of all places and was called Prodigy.

Again, this was certainly not a present you’d want. It was slow and expensive and wound up getting crushed by CompuServe and AOL. Not the gift that kept on giving.