Every Christmas at my house, our favorite tradition is decorating the tree. We have ornaments from our trips, from when the kids were babies, from when my wife and I were their age, and then we have this…
Han sits atop his Tauntaun, ready to give his life to find Luke. How do I know? Because I press a button on the base and get the following exchange:
“The temperature’s dropping rapidly!”
“Yeah, and my friend’s out in it.”
“Your Tauntaun will freeze before you reach the first marker!”
“Then I’ll see you in Hell!”
At which point I turn to my wife and sing a rousing rendition of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” Then I turn back to the tree under her withering gaze and stick Han and his Tauntaun in the back.
We’ve accumulated an extensive collection of nerdy ornaments from Hallmark over the years, from TRON Legacy, to Star Trek, to at least half a dozen Star Wars ships and characters; but Han’s always been my favorite (even over the Imperial Walker being attacked by a Snowspeeder, which is saying a lot).
That is, until this year.
Star Wars Storyteller Series
The newest Star Wars ornaments are part of the Keepsake Storytellers series, providing collectors with highly detailed starships that feature lights and sounds from their respective movies. And even if that was all they were, they’d be well worth the price. They’re powered by a Storyteller Keepsake Power Cord that keeps the LEDs glowing all the time. When you activate the ornament you’re treated to a short snippet of dialogue from the original Star Wars movie, with coordinated LED flashes, similar to previous Hallmark Magic ornaments. But when you have more than one ornament in the series connected, a button press treats you to an entire coordinated scene that will turn your tree into the pinnacle of all Star Wars nerdery.
“Scene” is really underselling it. When you have all three ornaments – Vader’s TIE Advanced, Luke’s X-Wing, and the Death Star – you get a huge chunk of the movie (from the destruction of Alderaan forward). The resulting sound and light show takes about five minutes as each ornament interacts with the others.
It makes me grin every time and I can’t wait to see this play out on my tree this holiday season (oh, and the Death Star volume isn’t lower than the others; it was just resting on its speaker in the video above). There are four more spots on the Keepsake cord and I can’t wait to see who else joins the scene. Maybe a couple of regular TIE fighters and the Millennium Falcon?
The Storyteller Keepsake Power Cord is extra long, so it should reach almost anywhere on your tree. It does not have a passthrough power block, so if you have a tree over eight feet tall, you’ll have to plug it in to the last set of lights on your tree or run an extension cord to where you want to hang the ornaments. It’s a small price to pay for holiday nerdery of this power. (Ooh! Ooh! Now I want a Jedi themed set with a Home One ornament so that I can get Ackbar saying “It’s a trap!”) The ornaments themselves command a premium of $39.95 each ($8.95 for the Power Cord). However, if you’re a Star Wars fan (or have one you’ll be shopping for this season), you have to get these ornaments.
Transformers Hallmark Keepsake Series
On the slightly more traditional side, Hallmark continues their line of amazing Generation 1 Transformers figures this holiday season with Soundwave. If you’ve ever owned an original Transformers toy from the ’80s, this is the line of ornaments you’ll want to collect. Soundwave, like previous entries in the series, is a perfect rendition of the original toys, minus the rust, flaking chrome, and peeling stickers. He’s even got the Buzzsaw cassette in his chest, like the original toy. Having him hang from the tree is a perfect callback to those Christmases when I would have Transformers waiting for me. The only problem is that once you have one, you’ll want to track down the previous ornaments in the series (Grimlock especially: I sprung for one on eBay after getting Soundwave). He’s $16 on Hallmark.com, but good luck getting out of there with only Soundwave in your basket.
itty bitty Giveaway
Hallmark has additional Transformers goodies if you’re fans of their “itty bitty” line (think Disney Tsum Tsums, but more upright). You can pick up adorable rendition of Optimus, Bumblebee, Megatron, and Soundwave as a 4-pack for $27.80 (and while you’re there you might as well pick up a Commander Data, Ahsoka Tano, and Alien Xenomorph for $8 each). They make adorable stocking stuffers.
To get you started on your new collection, we’re giving away the set of itty bittys pictured above. Get your own quartet of Transformers plushies just by entering the giveaway below. We’ll pick a winner later this week.
I know we’re only barely back to school; but right now is peak Hallmark Ornament saturation. In another month or so, popular ornaments will have started to sell out and you’ll be wondering why you didn’t just pick them up when you saw them on the shelves (or online). Do yourself a favor and head over to Hallmark.com and grab them now, while you still can! And don’t forget to enter the giveaway below.
Hallmark provided samples for consideration in this review. Opinions and desire to “nerd up the tree” are my own.