The History and Descriptions of Hallmark's Star Wars Themed Christmas Ornaments
by Angela Colley
In 1996 Hallmark launched a series of Star Wars related Christmas ornaments. These ornaments were an instant success among Star Wars aficionados due to their rarity and highly detailed displays. Each ornament was produced in limited quantities only sold during the 1998 holiday season, and featured popular characters from the films. The unprecedented high demand of these collectible items by both Star Wars and ornament collectors alike gave way to what is now a series of yearly Star Wars ornaments produced by the company.
From the originals in 1996 to the upcoming series in 2008, these collectibles have been bought, resold, and fought over in authorized retail stores, online reseller stores, and auctions sites like Ebay. They range from $12.95 to $50.00 depending on popularity, stock shortage, and condition. However, ornaments in their original packaging with all Hallmark issued keepsake materials retain the highest resale value.
The 1996 series featured the Millennium Falcon and a mini-ornament set entitled, "The Vehicles of Star Wars." The Millennium Falcon is a true likeness of it's original counterpart. Displayed as a stand alone piece, the Falcon is what Hallmark calls a "magic ornament," meaning, the engine lights and cockpit light up when plugged into an outlet. The "Vehicles of Star Wars" set includes a Tie-Fighter, AT-AT and X-Wing scaled down to a miniature size, or roughly one fourth to half the size of a standard ornament. Each piece is a stand alone and single hung.
1997 saw the addition of four more ornaments. This series included three full size editions, and a miniature set featuring: Darth Vadar, Yoda, Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, and R2-D2. Darth Vadar stands on a platform, has a light up light saber, and talks when activated. Luke Skywalker stands alone and features his Bespin costume. Yoda is also a stand alone figure, shown perched on his cane in reflection. The miniatures this year were a set including C-3PO and R2-D2.
In 1998 Hallmark released four additional ornaments to the series, including a miniature set. Princess Leia is displayed as a stand alone piece, in her classic white dress. Bobba Fett is remembered in ornament form this year as well. An X-Wing Starfighter is the "magic" ornament for the series, with red lights. The miniature set rounds out the group and features three Ewoks.
In 1999 Hallmark upped the ante for the release of Episode One: The Phantom Menace, and created six ornaments for the year. The series features a magic TIE Interceptor with a light up cockpit. Stand alone pieces of Hans Solo and Chewbacca. As well as two additional stand alone pieces commemorating Episode One; a Naboo Starfighter and Queen Amidala. The miniature set for the year is a three piece of the Max Rebo Band.
Six ornaments were created for 2000 as well, and heavily featured Episode One. The stand alone pieces in the set feature Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Maul, Qui-Gon Jinn, and an Imperial Stromtropper; all posed in battle mode and wielding light sabers. The series also featured a Gungan submarine with light abilities, and a three piece miniature set. The set includes; Yoda seated in his counsel chair with Saesee Tiin and Ki-Adi-Mundi.
In 2001 one, Hallmark scaled back to five ornaments for the series. The first stand alone features nine-year old Anakin Skywalker after having one the Podraces. The additional stand alones include, the Naboo Royal Starship and Jar Jar Binks. This year sees the first battery operated "magic" ornament, with a sound enhanced R2-D2. The miniature set is entitled, "The Battle of Naboo," and includes a Naboo Starfighter, a Trade Federation Driod Starfighter and the Driod Control Ship.
2002 saw several concept redesigns from Hallmark; new presentation boxes and the addition of a keepsake card. The year also went without a miniature set for the first time. The stand alone pieces included; Luke Skywalker as a Jedi Knight, another Darth Vadar, yet another Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jango Fett, and a Slave 1 metal ship. The "magic" piece for this year was the Death Star, including both light and sound.
In 2003, the miniatures returned along with four additional ornaments. The stand alones feature Yoda in Jedi fighting form, Padme Amidala, and C3-PO. As well as another battery operated ornament, a Tie Fighter with activated sound. The miniature pieces in this set included two Clone Troopers in battle poses.
In 2004, Hallmark boosted their creativity and began offering scene specific pieces, such as, the ornament featuring Chewbacca carrying a broken C3-PO in his satchel. The year also introduced a non-character piece with the addition of the A New Hope Theater One Sheet. A grown Anakin Skywalker rounds out the stand alones. While the "magic" ornament for this year includes a sound enhanced Star Destroyer dangling a miniature Tantive IV ship.
Another five piece set, including miniatures, was released in 2005. The pieces this year continued the scene specific theme from 2004, and included another Darth Vadar posed on on the gantry after the classic Luke Skywalker light saber battle. This piece is also battery operated, and features sound. Another Princess Leia piece is included, this time she's wearing the infamous golden bikini and wielding a vibro-axe. The final stand alone pieces commemorate a Clone Trooper Lieutenant, and Anakin Skywalker's Star Fighter with R2-D2 in tow. The miniatures this year are a two piece set of the Tie Advanced xI and Millennium Falcon.
In 2006, the first Clone Wars ornaments were released. This year also saw an increase in grandeur for the stand alones. Each piece is easily twice as elaborate as previous years; encompassing whole scenes. The first ornament features an Imperial AT-AT, marching through the snow, with a Rebel Snowspeeder at it's feet. This piece is sound activated. The second stand alone marked the battle between Anakin Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi. This ornament includes both light and sound. The final stand alone, features Luke Skywalker carrying Yoda in a pack on his back. This piece is not a "magic" ornament. The miniatures this year highlight the Clone Wars, and include light saber wielding Asajj Ventress, Yoda, and Anakin Skywalker.
For 2007 Hallmark released four stand alone pieces, and encompassed even greater detail then previous years. The ornament entitled, A Jedi Legacy revealed, was issued to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Wars. The piece features a highly detailed scene of Luke Skywalker practicing light saber maneuvers with Obi Wan Kenobi and C3-PO. The second ornament for 2007 featured the Millennium Falcon flying high above the city. This is a battery operated "magic" ornament with both light and sound, featuring the Star Wars theme song for the first time. A Jawa and R2-D2 in a duo pose, and a limited edition Tusken Raider round out the set.
For the 2008 season, Hallmark has released a four piece set, including two "magic" ornaments, a stand alone piece and miniatures. The first "magic" ornament shows an Imperial Shuttle. The piece is battery operated, and includes both light and sound. The second "magic" ornament depicts the final battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vadar. It is also battery operated, including light and sound. The stand alone for the year features Emperor Palpatine seated in full robes. The miniature set includes both the Death Star and a Star Destroyer.
With no end to the Hallmark Star Wars series in sight, these ornaments are a desirable edition to any collection. With an affordable price range and a wide character base the pieces are become more and more scarce with each passing year.
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