The progression of holiday-themed Star Wars collectibles has been slow until 2005, that is. This year, the number of Christmas ornaments and decorations has exploded. Before 1996, a Star Wars fan had two, yes TWO items directly linked with Christmas; the infamous "Holiday Special" which only aired once on CBS November 17th, 1978, and "Christmas in the Stars", the vinyl LP released in 1980. Both ventures were, to be kind, not what you would call big hits.
It was hard times indeed until 1996 when Hallmark began their successful line of Star Wars Keepsake Ornaments. From 1996 to 2004, Hallmark created high-quality sculpts of popular characters and ships, which have been documented in Rebelscum's "A Guide to Hallmark Ornaments" from last year.
From 1996 to 2004, a few other products began to hit the shelves at holiday time. To begin, "Christmas in the Stars" was re-released in 1996 on CD.
In 1998, Christopher Radko brought his incredible talent to the Star Wars market with his hand-blown glass ornaments. Since 1986, Radko has created over 10,000 designs in glass, of which about 1/3 are retired each year. In 1998, the Star Wars designs included heads of Darth Vader, Yoda, C-3PO, Chewbacca and a Stormtrooper. In 1999, Radko followed up with four ornaments; two of Darth Vader (one with him poised in front of the Death Star window), a Droids ornament of C-3PO with R2-D2, and a pair of Ewoks.
In 1999, Woolworth's in the UK celebrated Star Wars Episode One with a box of Christmas crackers (the kind with toys, not to eat!). Inside each box, six crackers could be popped open to reveal different Phantom Menace tokens such as a Darth Maul pencil sharpener, a Maul tin, Episode One playing cards and more.
Also in 1999, Rawcliffe created a six pewter ornaments; each one adorned with a red ribbon:
Queen Amidala in doorway
Death Star trench scene
Jar Jar Binks in Watto's junkshop
Jedi / Maul saber duel
Trade Federation ship with Naboo fighter battle
Yoda and X-Wing on Dagobah
As well, they also produced three metal ornaments for Neiman Marcus that year: a silver Stormtrooper helmet, a golden C-3PO head, and an exclusive Star Wars Fan Club ornament of the Naboo Royal Starship.
In 2002, Hasbro jumped on the holiday-themed bandwagon. Based on the Ralph McQuarrie artwork, Hasbro began a series of Holiday Edition commemorative figures with C-3PO and R2-D2 in 2002. This was followed in 2003 with Santa Yoda, 2004 had Holiday Jawas and this year, the red Holiday Darth Vader with card.
2005 has seen the largest offering of ornaments and holiday decor to date: Other than the continuing Hallmark series, both Rawcliffe and Kurt S. Adler have a huge variety of offerings this year. In 2005, Hallmark continues its fine series with:
Blue Clonetrooper Lieutenant
from Revenge of the Sith $ 14.95
Darth Vader from The Empire Strikes Back with sound* $ 18.95
Princess Leia Slave from Return of the Jedi (9th in the series) $ 14.95
Anakin Skywalker's Jedi Starfighter with sound $ 28.00
Set of 2 miniature ornaments: the TIE Advanced and Millennium Falcon $ 14.95
* a bit of trivia here: the line Vader speaks is in fact incorrect: On the ornament, he says "Luke, I am your father" hard core Star Wars fans were quick to note that this is not the line from Empire (it was "No, I am your father")
Rawcliffe has created twelve pewter ornaments, hung on the ribbon with a pewter Star Wars logo on each. These measure between 5.75 and 7 inches tall with hanger:
The Vehicles of Star
The Pewter Helmets:
C-3PO with gold plating
Rawcliffe also have water globe ornaments of Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2 and Darth Vader. Each are 1 1/3 inches high and are actually tiny snow globes hung upside down shake them up and the "snow" will drift around the character.
Kurt S. Adler has a huge variety of Star Wars themed holiday products in 2005 including:
Steinbach Vader Nutcracker. Handmade from wood stands 18.5 inches tall and is limited to 7500 pieces worldwide.
Darth Vader Polonaise ornament. Polonaise ornaments are a special collection of glass ornaments that are hand-blown, silvered, lacquered and hand-painted in Poland. This bust of Vader sits atop a red upside-down cone, emblazoned with "Vader" at the front, a shape somewhat like a spinning top.
Star Wars logo glass ornament. Five inches wide in black and gold.
Orange and black glass Darth Vader head on a shield with "Sith" under it
Green Yoda glass shield ornament with "Yoda" printed on it
Adler distributed the following glass ornaments in two tins:
Four glass head ornaments of Yoda, Boba Fett, Darth Vader and C-3PO
Glass full-body ornaments of Darth Vader, Yoda, R2-D2 and C-3PO with Tatooine background and Boba Fett with firing rocket
Six full body porcelain ornaments are also sold individually: Darth Vader, C-3PO, Yoda, Boba Fett, Chewbacca and R2-D2. As well, four sets of ornament pairs were exclusives to Target: each 2 inch character head came with a miniature Drew Struzan poster: C-3PO with Episode 1 poster, Yoda with Episode 2 poster, Darth Vader with Episode 3 poster and Boba Fett with an Episode 4 poster.
Adler also has created round porcelain Star Wars "spinners": a Boba Fett helment, a TIE Fighter and the Millennium Falcon, as well as a new line of Fabriche ornaments.
"Fabriche" ornaments are created in a way similar to paper mache, with a trademarked fabric. Designed from the vintage Ralph McQuarrie artwork, these ornaments are meant to stand as centerpieces for holiday décor:
8.5 " Fabriche Santa
5.5 " Fabriche Santa R2-D2
6.5 " Fabriche Santa Yoda
Kurt S. Adler didn't stop with their trademarked glass ornaments. They also created a Santa Yoda Holiday Waterball (a musical snow globe) that plays "Let It Snow" as well as plush items including:
Darth Vader Plush head stocking
Yoda Plush head stocking
As well as:
Darth Vader printed appliqué stocking
Yoda printed appliqué stocking
Darth Vader full body stocking
Yoda Clone Wars style stocking
and plush Vader, R2, Chewie and Yoda character ornaments.
Adler also created the MPire line of M&Ms character polyresin ornaments for 2005, including 14 Singles: Amidala, Han, Luke, Leia, Fett, Trooper, Anakin, Grevious, C-3PO, Emperor, Maul, Chewie, Vader, R2.
Four sets of pairs include: Vader / Luke, Luke/Leia, C-3PO/R2, and Vader/Ben
For the smaller tree, you can also pick up a set of five Mpire mini-ornaments of R2, Threepio, Vader, Luke and Leia.
And finally, Adler has created a PVC mini vehicles set. Each ship is about two inches big, and include an AT-AT, X-Wing, Slave I, TIE Fighter and the Millennium Falcon.
Even Gentle Giant has gotten into the Holiday act with their 2005 Holiday Salacious Crumb statue.
Wow. When you compare the incredible variety to choose from nowadays to what was available just a few years ago, Star Wars fans have numerous ways to celebrate the holidays in Star Wars style. Finally, the last item I wanted to share is something unfortunately not available to most Star Wars fans; my favorite holiday ornament I picked up at a very special place just this past year:
Photos by Jeremy Beckett, Dan Curto, Dave Myatt, Dustin Roberts and Maureen Kuppe
Thanks to Campbell Evans and other Rebelscum readers for their input