One popular gift item for the holidays with fans are Star Wars ornaments. Though there are produced by different companies the best ones are those made by Hallmark. They were first produced by Hallmark in 1996 a few years after the success of the Hallmark’s other sci-fi brand the Star Trek ornaments. The first beautifully detailed ship ornament was of the Millennium Falcon and in that same year, Hallmark produced a set of mini-ornaments which consisted of a TIE fighter, an X-wing fighter and an AT-AT.
Since then, the company has released several ornaments each year and there is no sign of slowing down. Many of these ornaments have become highly sought after in the secondary market like the original R2-D2, while others are duds that would be lucky to fetch a buck on eBay (examples of those include Emperor Palpatine and Princess Leia in her slave outfit).
The pattern of these releases per year consists of a strikingly detailed ship, characters and dioramas. The first Star Wars (and Star Trek) ships featured lights but had to be inserted via a wire into a Christmas tree light socket. These days, batteries replaced the wires but for some reason while the Star Trek ships still have light features (except for the NX-01 and the 2012 Enterprise D) the Star Wars ships only have sound features. It’s too bad, because the lights as seen in the Star Trek ships really add an oomph factor and the Star Wars ships seem kind of pale in comparison.
The character ornaments look great on trees, even the villains like Darth Vader, and they are much more colorful and eye catching when compared to the Star Trek character ornaments who are basically just humans. With Star Wars, Hallmark wisely utilized the many different aliens and droids in that universe and this could be why the ornaments are so popular. Even the human ornaments are nifty with the same characters being released wearing different outfits or accompanied by exotic companions like the Han Solo ornament with him riding on a tauntaun.
The dioramas themselves are usually topnotch. Some include lights and sounds that capture specific moments from the films like Anakin Skywalker’s duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi in Episode III or when the Millennium Falcon leaves Mos Eisley (that diorama boasts John Williams’ iconic score) in Episode IV. Other dioramas were kind of frustrating, take 2011’s recreation of the Han Solo and Greedo confrontation in Episode IV. We still don’t know who fired first!
Hallmark also released ornaments based on the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and even LEGO Star Wars figures. Undoubtedly with the new batch of films coming up in a few years, there will be ornaments based on those as well.
Beginning with 2007, Hallmark had branched out with special, limited edition Star Wars ornaments that were only on sale on premiere weekends. Many of these ornaments, the first being the Tusken Raider, are highly sought after collectibles. But Hallmark raised the ante recently with extra rare, limited ornaments that were only available in conventions. Many of these special ornaments were basically repaints of previously released ornaments such as the K-3PO/R3PO and R2-Q5/R2-A3 sets being C-3PO and R2-D2 painted in different colors. However, Hallmark also put out original ornaments in these conventions of the nefarious bounty hunters IG-88, Dengar, 4-LOM and Zuckuss, as well as Ben Kenobi and Ponda Baba (that alien whose arm got lopped off by Kenobi in the Cantina). All of these extra rare ornaments are hard to find and command a lot of money in the secondary markets.
The success and high value of these rare ornaments are a testament to the popularity of the Star Wars ornaments. Given the diverse nature of the Star Wars universe, there are many ornament ideas to be pursued. Hallmark should consider making these ornaments, as well as those based on the upcoming films:
Characters and Dioramas
- Obi-Wan Kenobi riding on Boga, that agile dinosaur-like creature with the funky honks seen in Episode III.
- A diorama featuring Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Chewbacca in the trash compactor, and have a feature where the chamber starts to compress!
- A diorama featuring the Episode II arena battle with the huge beasts.
- Mace Windu with his purple lightsaber.
- Watto, who would look at home suspended on a tree branch.
- The bug-like droidekas seen throughout the prequel films.
- The MagnaGuards that accompany General Grievous, complete with their buzzing electrostaffs.
- Admiral Ackbar the Mon Calamari military leader who commanded the Rebels in Return Of the Jedi.
- A diorama featuring Luke on Dagobah with Yoda and a force ghost of Ben Kenobi.
- A diorama taking place in Jabba’s palace during Return Of The Jedi.
- The Y-wing, A-wing and B-wing fighters seen in Episodes IV-VI. It would be really cool if the B-wing fighter’s wings would open and close.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Jedi starfighter seen in Episode II. They can even have one with the portable hyper space engines.
- The Mon Calamari cruisers seen in Return Of The Jedi.
- The Medical Frigate seen in The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi.
- A speeder bike complete with a scout trooper. It would blend in nicely on a Christmas tree since they were shown in Endor’s forests.
- A Bespin twin cloud car from The Empire Strikes Back.
- Jabba the Hutt’s sail barge from Return Of The Jedi.
- Anakin Skywalker’s pod racer from Episode I.