Time for Moore: Fantasy by Folgers

In what universe does a college student arrive home at 6 a.m. on Christmas morning with just two bags?

Jane Turpin Moore mug

If you’re over, say, 40, there’s a solid chance you’ve seen the Folgers coffee commercial, circa 1985-86, in which what can only be termed a “dream sequence” plays out in the course of a fantasy minute.

Here’s the scene: Impossibly handsome college kid Peter (depicted by actor Greg Wrangler, who IMDb indicates was propelled to career-length TV success on the strength of this ad) is inexplicably dropped off around 6 a.m. Christmas Day by someone in a Volkswagen Beetle with a dangerously snow-obscured rear window.

The front door of the family’s stately Colonial is wreath- and garland-bedecked, and the black welcome mat is somehow clear of the snow that covers all other surfaces, including the artfully flocked shrubbery.

Peter shoulders two bags and an armload of gifts, entering through the apparently unlocked door. Meanwhile, Peter’s blond younger sister, approximately seven, hears him and rushes down the stairs. Below, Peter has walked in (without removing his shoes, yet no snow muck appears on the polished wood floor) and flicked a switch that illuminates a Martha Stewart-approved Christmas tree, at the base of which rest an abundance of designer-wrapped packages.

Little sister hugs her adored older brother before announcing that everyone else is still asleep; he replies, “I know how to wake them up,” and a new can of Folgers is popped and a fresh pot brewed. Mom, dad and another sibling awaken with smiles and descend to embrace, sip and unwrap in style.


Like, really? A college student myself when this first aired, I recognized the ad for what it was: A beautiful dream that bore little resemblance to my reality.

But as a parent of three young adults, all of whom are currently either in college or graduate school, this Folgers fantasy now causes me to chortle and choke on my (non-Folgers) dark roast.

Let’s see … first, none of them comes home with only TWO bags in hand. Backpacks, overflowing laundry baskets, duffels, musical instruments, sports gear, multiple pairs of shoes and boots, maybe a paper sack with a few unwrapped gifts — it all takes multiple trips to unload, while the entryway becomes a melting mess.

“Hope there’s tape and wrapping paper,” I might hear, or, “I need to go shopping.”

NO ONE ever arrives at 6 a.m., though 9:42 p.m. has proven to be a prime time for entrance, too late for even straight caffeine to prop up the tired 50-something elders. (And what kept “Peter” till Christmas morning? Did he procrastinate on his final semester projects or party all night in the big city before heading home?)

Once settled, our kids find a lit tree or two — but in recent years, their parents have slacked on decor and waited for more motivated younger hands to pluck a few ornaments from storage boxes and hang in place.

Come Christmas morning, our “kids” are still sawing off visions of sugar plums ’til around 10 a.m., no matter how much fragrant java the hubby and I brew. On what planet does the college student arise before all others in the household?

Perfection takes another hit in the kitchen, where this year a daydreaming assistant (who shall remain nameless) managed to sprinkle a full complement of Lawry's seasoned salt, onion and garlic powder — all intended for the Chex mix pan — into the kettle of wassail heating on the stovetop. Good thing that sous chef wasn’t also in charge of the coffee!


Still, it was a merry Christmas, even without picture-perfect garlands and glamorous decorations.

There’s only one thing Folgers got right in that memorable mid-’80s ad: steaming black coffee is a holiday necessity.

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