odds and ends: my christmas decorations

Seeing as it’s the last Friday before Christmas, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share with you some of my holiday decorations.

Please note the possessive pronoun “my” in the last sentence. While the family has many nutcrackers and ornaments that are shared throughout the house, the decorations I’m going to show you are emphatically mine. Indeed, I am sure Ellen is more than happy to let me take full responsibility for the following. Most of them are Christmas themed action figures I’ve collected over the years. There seemed to be a moment in time in the early ’00’s when EVERY Christmas special ever created received a high-quality line of toys. This was probably not a great idea, as evidenced by my admission that almost all of these were picked up at some kind of After-Christmas closeout sale for 75% off.

At any rate, you’ll find my collection behind the cut. If you’re a fan of 30 year old men blathering on about action figures, you’re in for a treat. Please enjoy and have a happy holiday!

Here we have my Nightmare Before Christmas shelf. I have a decent sized collection of the denziens of Halloween Town.

Those go on display at Halloween, but I save Santa Jack Skellington for December. I’m predisposed toward picking up any closeout Nightmare Before Christmas toys I see primarily because I love the movie, but also I remember my frustration trying to locate the original toys when the flick first hit theaters in 1993. They were goddamn impossible to find then!

The little toys in the front are “trading figures” from JUN Planning. I got them in my stocking a few years back. Elliot and Henry made short work of destroying most of them as soon as I took them out this year, so they’re rather incomplete. The “Jack opening the Christmas Town door” is missing a little Zero, the “Santa Jack puts presents under the tree” is missing a bony hand. The only one to come out relatively unscathed is the “Jack looking at the sleeping elves” trading figure in the middle.

The Playmobil shelf is comprised primarily of a bunch of toys from one of the company’s elaborate Advent Calendars. Every year, Playmobil releases a Christmas scene playset whereby every day, a kid has a new piece of the playset to open. December 5th might be a Playmobil figurine… December 6th, you might just get a hat or a scarf for that toy. On December 24th, inevitably the final toy is a Playmobil Santa Claus.

Ellen and I bought a Playmobil calendar the first year we were dating (or rather, I bought it the first year we were dating and she tolerated its’ presence in her apartment) and I have fond memories of the thing. Of course, that particular year’s Playmobil was a wintery park scene and every day for two weeks, we’d open the boxes to find tons and tons of tiny birds.

The gigantic Santa’s sleigh was not part of the Advent Calendar… I found it at the Union Square Barnes and Noble, marked down to $3 dollars from $25, and I had no choice but to buy it.

The Peanuts action figures are new to me this year. I bought them for my mother in like 2001/2002 and she used them to decorate the guidance counselor’s office where she used to work. In the years since, she’d moved to a new job and doesn’t decorate as much. Since they were just sitting in our shed, I asked her if I could take them and she was nice enough to let me.

There are two sets here- the first was a three pack comprised of Charlie Brown, Sally, and Linus. The amount of accessories they come with is truly impressive. You get the things you’d most expect those characters to come with- besides winter hats, Linus has his security blanket and CB comes complete with raggedy Christmas tree… but the depth of detail  is sort of impressive. Sally has a clipboard on which you can find, completely transcribed from the animated special, her letter to Santa where she asked him to bring her money.

The other set up here is the Deluxe Snoopy’s Doghouse with Snoopy. Decorated as it looked at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas, the doghouse has a cool sound feature. Press the “First Prize” ribbon and you can hear several sound clips from the animated special.

I have to admit, I love these toys. They’re perfect 3D representations of the characters and although they’re not exactly the type of toys a kid would like to play with, I love their articulation- Snoopy in particular has some really creative joints which allow him to both sit and stand, without mucking up the roundness of the action figure. The only thing that bothers me when I look at this shelf- I don’t have a Lucy! There was another three pack made by the company, featuring Lucy, Schroder, and Pigpen. I’ll have to get it off of eBay someday.

These are another recent acquisition. I went into Toys r Us in January and all of their Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer toys were on deep discount. The initial Rudolph toys hit shelves around the same time as the Peanuts action figures, but unlike that specific Peanuts sets, these have been offered in stores every year since. I’ve always been tempted by these, as they’re nice representations of the stop-motion animated special… and at like $2 bucks a pop, I picked a whole bunch up. I think I spent like $8 dollars total on this set of figures.

The standard toys are the elves (Herbie, the green Head Elf, and the sunglasses wearing Cool Elf); they don’t do much but look cool. The other toys all have some kind of action feature. Santa comes with a bag which, when squeezed, plays some sound clips from the original animated special. Ditto Yukon Cornelius. Rudolph has the most natural accessory- press down on his tail and his nose glows. These are all wonderful toys and they’ve withstood a lot of abuse from the boys. The Santa Claus toy has a defect in that he came with two left hands, but that’s easy enough to ignore.

Again, these toys have really won me over, but I don’t feel compelled to fill out my collection any more than you see above, partly rooted in my knowledge that there were a metric ton of these action figures made in the last ten years and I’ll never get ’em all. I would pick up a full-grown Rudolph and Clarice, if I saw them at a reasonable price.

The final shelf I’ll share is sort of The Island of Misfit Christmas Toys. Lots of wind-ups and one-offs here. The Playmobil Santa, for example, comes from the Advent Calendar I talked about above. I couldn’t fit him into the Playmobil shelf and honestly… two Santas in one Playmobil display? Ha! Right? I mean, come on. I’m really asking you to suspend your disbelief on that score, amirite? Anyway, Other Santa was marooned here with his musical hurdy-gurdy. Press the button on the back and it plays a bunch of public domained Christmas carols.

The three Star Wars guys are from a stocking stuffer set Target put out a few years ago. They’re basically normal Star Wars figurines with some sort of holiday twist. The Obi Wan and Anakin both come with Christmas-sy sleeves for their lightsabers, and the Clone Trooper’s gun is wrapped in Christmas lights. There were two additional sets with characters from the Original Trilogy. I freakin’ LOVED these things when I first saw ’em in stores… but I did what I usually do with X-Mas junk. I waited until January to buy them. This proved a mistake, as the two sets I really wanted were nowhere to be found. I settled for this one, but at least I got it for like seventy-five cents.

The only other really notable toy on this shelf is the wind-up carousel, which is (I’ve gathered) a very old toy. It used to belong to my maternal grandmother and I loved playing with it as a kid. These days, the winder barely works and it falls apart if you breathe on it… but it’s probably the toy I’m most sentimental about in this set.

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3 Responses to “odds and ends: my christmas decorations”

  1. […] Last year, I posted about my Christmas toy collection. That’s been a weirdly well-trafficked post, if all the WordPress site traffic things are to be believed. Seeing as that was popular, I thought I’d update a bit with some of my newer holiday acquisitions. […]

  2. Hiya! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in exchanging links
    or maybe guest authoring a blog post or vice-versa? My blog goes over a lot of the same topics as yours and I believe
    we could greatly benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel free to send me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Wonderful blog by the way!

  3. […] It’s so singularly strange. Yet… I must admit, I am the perfect buyer for this thing. I have a small collection of Christmas themed action figures that I decorate with every December and I love oddities born out of the 1980′s and […]

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