Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hailing frequencies open: Christmas (ornaments) in July

Here in Australia, as I clean up the house in preparation for my annual Midwinter Christmas celebration, my penpals in the USA are scrabbling to find an exclusive Lieutenant Uhura (from Star Trek, of course) Hallmark Christmas ornament! Yesterday, the Hallmark stores were officially allowed to start selling the items in their 2007 Christmas catalogue.


Down Under, our Hallmark ornaments are stocked by Target Australia, but not until about September. Target is not permitted to import the light-up starship ornaments due to the different wiring, but when I got a Spock/Nimoy "holiday greeting" Galileo shuttlecraft via a comic shop, I tried changing the bulb plug on a locally-available light string (ie. unbend the metal leads in the ornament, remove the plastic base, pull a bulb from the Christmas light set and do the same thing; then take the base from the light set and thread it onto the metal leads from the Trek ornament; bend the leads back up and "Let there be light!" And sound, sometimes!).

It worked fine for about ten years. Sadly, a few years ago, the voice chip stopped working, but the ship still lights. These days, the Hallmark light-ups are independent of a light string. Alas, no Star Trek stuff, though.

I did make a point of getting the figural Star Trek ornaments for my collection, and they are in a glass cabinet, on permanent display, alongside similar-sized Trek character ornaments that were sold by "Star Trek: The Experience" in Las Vegas. However, after the great Hallmark Janeway figure - and coinciding with a move towards less-elaborate Star Trek ornaments - Target Australia stopped ordering in any new Star Trek figurals (maybe Janeway didn't sell?), so I've had to rely on US penpals to find me each new annual Trek ornament ever since.

This year the Uhura figural ornament is sculpted seated, and at her console, which is great to see, but she's extremely limited and I've been reading reports from several penpals on the misadventures they had yesterday trying to get more than one Uhura figure out of various shops. (Some places only received two figures in the first place. Other had about fifteen, but all pre-sold. One store insisted that an Uhura was only available with each $50 purchase of other Hallmark merchandise!) It looks like I do have one, but should it be such a chore?

PS. eBay prices for Uhura are going through the roof!

'Tis the season to be greedy.

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