Hallmark’s line of Star Trek Christmas ornaments is 30 years old.
Forget hanging stockings with care. When it comes to Yuletide decorating, I take the most care hanging my Hallmark Star Trek Christmas ornaments! And I know I’m not the only Star Trek fan who does. On social media I see photos and videos posted by fellow fans for whom the holiday season doesn’t really arrive until they hang a shining Star Trek ship, character, or scene upon the highest bough.
This year is the 30th anniversary of Hallmark’s popular Star Trek Christmas ornaments. In 1991, Hallmark released what would become the first of many Starship Enterprise ornaments. That ornament can prove elusive and expensive on the secondhand market. Fortunately, Hallmark has produced so many fantastic ornaments since—most of them designed by artist Lynn Norton, whose enthusiastic eye for detail is unmatched—fans like me who lack that original Enterprise have plenty to look forward to when we haul out our boxes of decorations each December.
My Hallmark Star Trek ornaments aren’t in mint condition. Each year one of them no longer lights up or plays sounds. (As much as I prefer the battery-operated ornaments for ease of hanging, the older ones that plug into light strings have held up better.) And once or twice, I’ve broken some of my little ships (though accidentally and less violently than Picard broke his in Star Trek: First Contact).
I still proudly hang them all anyway, from a garland on my staircase’s bannister and on a three-foot tall tree nearby. But it’s the ones that are still boldly glowing with light and sound “magic” that remain my favorites.
I tweeted out pictures of five favorite Star Trek Christmas ornaments from Hallmark:
1. The Galileo shuttlecraft (1992)
The Galileo was Hallmark’s second Christmas Star Trek ornament, and my first. My college roommate was working at a local Hallmark store. He grabbed one to give me as soon as he unboxed them—yes, he paid for it!—and kicked off my collection.
Twenty-nine Christmas season later, the late Leonard Nimoy’s voice still clearly and loudly wishes my household a happy holiday whenever I push the button on the shuttle’s underside.
2. The Delta Flyer (2002)
Tom Paris’ “hot rod” shuttlecraft was one of the coolest things about Star Trek: Voyager. Hallmark’s ornament version of it is still one of the coolest ships in my collection.
Not only do its red and blue running lights make it “pop,” but when you push its button, you’ll hear a greeting from Captain Kathryn Janeway herself. Now that Kate Mulgrew is playing a holographic Janeway on Star Trek: Prodigy, this ornament is timelier than ever!
3. “Amok Time” fight scene (2010)
While I confess I prefer the starship ornaments to the scene ornaments, I couldn’t pass up the iconic “koon-ut-kal-if-fee” from “Amok Time” in ornament form.
The authentic details are amazing: the lirpas, the purple sash around Spock’s waist, even the sand on his and Kirk’s trousers. Plus, the ornament plays composer Gerald Fried’s iconic Vulcan fight music. Who needs “Jingle Bell Rock” when you can have that unforgettable theme instead!
(My daughter, who was three years old at the time, called it the “runaway monkey music,” which is what we call Fried’s composition to this day.)
4. Romulan Warbird (1995)
Another confession: Hallmark’s Romulan Warbird ornament underwhelmed me when I first got it. It was a faithful replica of the vessel we’d seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation and subsequent series, but it just seemed… kind of dull.
But I’ve grown to appreciate the green glow its warp nacelles give off. It makes the ornament look ferocious and festive, all at the same time!
5. The Guardian of Forever (2004)
The image of Kirk and Spock returning from their mission to save the timeline in “The City on the Edge of Forever” was an inspired choice for a Star Trek ornament. Artist Anita Marra Rogers outdid herself with this one. Her sculpture elegantly renders the Guardian and the desolate, rubble-strewn landscape in which it sits. It also brilliantly captures Kirk and Spock in mid-leap.
Unfortunately, my Guardian ornament only played the three audio excerpts from the episode that it was supposed to the first time I hung it on a tree. For years, I thought I’d ended up with a defective ornament. But “Hallmark may have used a bad batch [of] capacitors” when manufacturing this ornament, according to The Ornament Factory. Examples of it that work properly are extremely rare.
The ornament’s lights are still pretty, so I’ve taken to hanging it up again in recent years. It’s still a beautiful representation of one of Star Trek’s most famous and enduring episodes.