Replaced my bulbs as well. My dealer charged me $3.80 per bulb; thot that was a bit steep. (only one was burnt out but figured when one goes they all go...)
Anyway, I too tried the clothes hanger route, but gave up and went through the left speaker grill/defrost vent. Much, much easier.
And re: the red bulbs, according to an MB source, it's NOT merry christmas. It's happy valentine's day. Guess we'll have to wait a few months to verify that one.
I would suspect that a red bulb can't be for anything good so maybe it's just well we not find out?