Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Genre Christmas Ornaments

Karen: I was out doing some Christmas shopping and I went into the Hallmark store and took some time to look over the ornaments. Maybe I am becoming a traditionalist, because I felt sort of annoyed with all of the Star Trek, comics, sports, movie and other ornaments that had nothing whatsoever to do with the holiday! On one hand, I understand wanting to have collectibles of favorite characters, shows, etc., up on the tree. I certainly have my fair share of figurines and other memorabilia crowding me out of my home. And  it's not like I don't have some genre-related ornaments too. When Hallmark first started making Star Trek ships, I bought them each year. But then they started putting out scenes from Trek episodes, and that's when the disconnect between Christmas and the ornaments really started to happen for me. I remember seeing poor
Capt. Pike, scarred and paralyzed in his futuristic wheelchair, and I thought, "Well that's a cheery Christmas ornament!" This year, it is the Gorn about to stab Capt. Kirk. It would make a great diorama, but as an ornament? I don't know, doesn't say 'peace on Earth, goodwill towards men' to me.

Karen: There are a ton of Disney ornaments. and some actually feature characters in Christmas scenes, but some make little sense, like the big Jolly Roger from Pirates of the Caribbean. Yes, nothing says Noel like the Skull and Crossbones.

Karen: But perhaps the ornament that truly captured the spirit of the season was Heath Ledger's Joker. Really? Why not just hang a picture of Charles Manson from one of the branches?

Karen: I did wind up buying a new ornament: It was Linus from the Charlie Brown Christmas special, with the little tree next to him. It has a button you can push and hear Linus' speech about the true meaning of Christmas. Yes, it's a licensed character from a comic strip, but at least it is connected to the holiday! 

Karen: I know most of us here are collectors, to one degree or another. But I'm just wondering if anyone else out there ever feels like sometimes the licensing just goes too far. 


J.A. Morris said...

My wife & I have a rule now about ornaments:They have to be "Christmasy" or we won't buy them.

For instance:
We would NOT buy the "Kirk Vs. Gorn" ornament. But if there was an ornament that featured Kirk holding a Christmas present, or Kirk wearing a Santa hat, we would consider getting it.

This is mainly due to the fact that we have too many ornaments as it is, not because we're sticklers about ornaments.

Edo Bosnar said...

For me, Christmas is above all a time of good cheer, warmth toward others and generosity, i.e., that's what I think the 'meaning' is, so I have a pretty "whatever floats your boat" attitude about ornaments, decorations, etc. Also, since my wife and I are not at all religious and not particularly traditional, most years we don't even have a tree (but we always put up lights).
All that said, I have to agree with you about the psychopath Ledger-Joker and even that Gorn about to gut Kirk 'ornament' - like I said, Christmas should be a time of good cheer and warm feelings, which are pretty much the opposite of the grim-n-grittiness or dark undertones reflected in those pieces.

david_b said...

Ah, wonderful topic today.

I'm continually amazed at the level of detail on those small Trek ship ornaments. Having said that, no I have no desire to have the exclusive DS9 Worf or that Gorn ornament on my tree.

It's the truely tacky excesses of an extremely lucrative franchise, recalling those crazy mid-'90s where 'Friends' and Next Gen ruled the bookstores, gift shops, you betcha. Ah, entire aisles of TRU and Target devoted to Next Gen, DS9, Voyager figures, mugs, limited editions, they **really** milked us good back then.

My main stink is for some of those ornaments (a fav is my beloved Galileo shuttlecraft with Nimoy's voice) won't work with the new light strings. I'm sure there's adaptors out there, because I'd hate to have my TOS shuttle remain forever silent.

I do like the Konami line of Space:1999 Eagle ships are small enough to hang under the tree, or I can string up a Johnny Lightning Jupiter II for a nice variety. My wife is sort of geeky (likes Next Gen), but I do find most of my more whimsical ornaments don't get the 'top billing' location on the tree (I still have my '80s 'excited Garfield with presents on the toboggan sled' ornament.. Love it).

When not on the tree, they're great just hanging 'round my desk at work. I have a '96 Spiderman ornament hanging down via a webline posed right next to my MU Goliath (red/blue version), looks perfect for color/scale.

'Course I have 'em in front of my framed 'Satanic Majesties' Stones cover and lava lamp. I'm such a 'hippy-chick'.

Doug said...

It's a little different in our house than most, I suppose. We decorate five trees, each themed. Several years ago I post some pics of my comic book tree, which as you might assume is full of superhero ornaments. We have a small tree dedicated to a family tradition -- years ago, my mother-in-law started buying each of her daughters personalized family ornaments. They originally were made of some sort of hardened dough; I think they're all resin now.

My wife has a tree that has all of her Precious Moments ornaments, and the boys have a tree in the basement that is all sports. In our family room is the large tree with ornaments that belonged to my wife and I when we were children, from places we've traveled, and then from the boys' childhood. In that regard, you will indeed find ornaments that were topical to them at a certain age -- there's Barney and Baby Bop, bought at a craft show. There are a few Lion King ornaments, and Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. So it's a neat mishmash of traditional and topical ornaments.

And to confess, Emperor Palpatine is indeed sitting on his throne on that tree.


Anonymous said...

Karen, agreed. Your Manson comment made me chuckle.

Doug, love the five trees tradition.


david_b said...

Yep, way cool idea Doug.

Remember 'Charlie don't surf'.

In all honesty, it's interesting the ol' guy's finally tying the knot in prison. What do you get a crazed piece of slime for wedding gifts..? Do they make electric-chair ornaments..?

Doc Savage said...

I wouldn't buy any of those. I just use traditional stuff plus some Rankin & Bass Rudolph stuff because my kids love it.

I don't associate Star Trek or super heroes with Christmas.

But I also don't associate Christ with it. So there ya go.

J.A. Morris said...

Speaking of superheroes at Christmas, my wife & I recently blogged about the Batman:Brave And The Bold Christmas episode:

Sorry to be a blogwhore, but this is an episode every comics fan should appreciate this time of year, and I'm guessing some of our regulars may have missed that episode.

Doug said...

J.A. --

Not at all -- I think all of us appreciate a good read that stimulates conversation. You plug your blogs all you want! We are better for knowing what you're providing.


mr. oyola said...

I would totally put that Kirk/Gorn ornament at the center of my nativity scene under the tree!

I am a Grinch. The only reason I celebrate X-mas is out of love for my wife who loves it. If it were up to me I'd be happy to make an agreement to not ever exchange gifts for this holiday.

I don't like any holidays really - except maybe for Labor Day.

Sorry I haven't been around as much, but have been working a temp job for additional holiday cash.

Redartz said...

Another good topic today! I admit to a few hero-themed ornaments on our tree. At least our Spider-man has a Santa hat and bag of gifts...

Perhaps our favorite is a light-up diorama from Charlie Brown Christmas. It depicts Charlie and Linus in the tree lot, and all the lights are LED's. It resides proudly atop the entertainment center.

Edo Bosnar said...

Hey, J.A., I just watched that episode of B&B rather recently! And I enjoyed reading your review - I share your fondness for the B&B series in general, and that Christmas episode was indeed fun with well-done "serious" moments. Also, I really liked Red Tornado as depicted - which is saying a lot for me, as RT was by far my least favorite member of the JLA back in the Bronze Age.

Greg said...

Yes I do think the licensing gets out of hand at times. I don't buy many genre- related ornaments, even though I'm cheerfully into all things geeky, but for Christmas we stick with traditional stuff mostly. I did get a chuckle out of the Gorn ornament though- good grief what's next? :)

MattComix said...

Not genre, but I do rock a Rankin-Bass Rudolph and Yukon Cornelius ornament on our tree.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Karen on this one - while the Gorn figure and the Joker figure might appeal to Trekkies and Batman fans respectively, I for one would not put that on my tree or use it as any sort of Christmas decoration.

Someone would have to have a really morbid sense of humour to use these. I can understand a figure of Spidey in a Santa hat, for example or maybe the Hulk as one of the wisemen bringing gifts for baby Jesus, at least these would have some link to Christmas. Nothing would kill my Christmas buzz faster than waking up to see Kirk about to be gutted by a Gorn!

Mike 'still looking to buy a Christmas tree' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Teresa said...

One year a friend bought me a TOS Enterprise ornament.
By default, I'm a traditionalist when it comes to my Xmas tree. Colorful bulbs, light string and tinsel are fine. But the Enterprise ornament gift came from the heart, so I hung it with care on the tree.
Fast forward years later....
It was such a great idea, other friends and family members joined in. I now have a starbase space dock cleverly disguised as a Xmas tree.
This wouldn't be my first choice. But it represents thoughtfulness, love and friendship. So every year the starbase is assembled.

Doug said...

Off topic --

There have been some notable celebrity deaths in the past week or so. I just saw on Twitter, from the Chicago Sun-Times, that former WLS-AM morning disc jockey Larry Lujack has passed away from cancer. I don't know how many of you folks could listen to that super station back in the 70s and early 80s, but his show was a treat. If you have the time, go on YouTube and search for "Animal Stories". "Uncle Lar" and "Little Tommy" Edwards did a daily show where they read newswire stories about animals. Good lord, sometimes I laughed until I cried. Not good to be driving when that came on air. A piece of my childhood and teen years, gone.


William said...

I love my WB Store Batman and Superman ornaments. They are sculpted in the style of the Timm Animated Series, and they are both Christmas themed. Batman is holding a present with the Joker's head popping out like a Jack-in-the-box, and Superman is in a landing pose with a sack of toys slung over his shoulder.

Speaking of which, it's getting about time to break out the DVDs of the Batman Animated Series episodes "Christmas With The Joker", and "Holiday Knights", as well as the animated Justice League "Comfort and Joy" episode. One of my personal favorite holiday traditions.

Redartz said...

Doug- sorry to hear about "Uncle Lar". Loved Animal Stories; WLS came in loud and clear in Indianapolis and I tried to catch his show as often as possible.

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