I am both a Christmas tree addict and a pop culture junkie.
All of which means that with the arrival of the most wonderful time of the year, my thoughts tend to go to covering my delightful artificial pine tree – when I was growing natural pine trees were a rarity and an expense my parents couldn’t afford so it was plastic trees from the word go and so shall it always be – with as many pop culture ornaments as is humanly possible.
Which given I am an extrovert naturally prone to excess is a substantial number. A ridiculously substantial number in fact.
Thus I have ornaments from The Muppets and Sesame Street, Looney Tunes, Disney and Hanna-Barbera, Star Wars, comic strips such as Peanuts and Dilbert, feature animation such as Minions, Zootopia and Inside Out, and even Smurfs.
Yep I have a wide assortment of pop culture ornaments, which are added to every year, not by one or two ornaments as my partner hopes and prays, but by 10 to 12, largely because experience has taught me that many of these ornaments are rare and hardly ever come back up for sale again (they’re not like baubles or more traditional ornaments which are far more common).
So without any further ado, here are 5 of this year’s additions to the ornaments collection, which carry a heavy, nay pretty much exclusive, animation bias.
Voiced by with forgetful delight by Ellen DeGeneres, Dory was the breakaway star of Finding Nemo (2003) and of course Finding Dory (2016). In this year’s sequel we see Dory both as a very cute baby fish – we see her origin story in flashbacks – and as the grown up fish we have come to know and love. It’s the adult version that Hallmark have brought to life in this delightful piece, which captures an appealing amnesic glint in her eye. Now if I could only remember where I packed it … kidding she’s on the tree already.
There’s no other word for him – Baymax, the cuddly, kindhearted and trusting protagonist of Big Hero 6 (2014), is adorable. Ridiculously, gloriously, huggably adorable. He is a distinctive hero who departs from the usual superhero in that he takes goes from naive child to capable adult over the course of the film which is warm, rich, action-packed, fun and poignant in equal measure. Baymax stole my heart and continues to delight me so having him on the tree makes perfect sense and is long overdue.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a Marvel maverick film – while it has a bunch of superheroes at the heart of its narrative, so much so template, it also dares to upset the creative applecart, thrown in a good amount of irreverence, silliness and over the top playfulness, something distinctly lacking in its more serious genre counterparts. While everyone loves Star-Lord’s retro ’80s chic, the two characters I love the most are wisecracking mercenary Rocket Raccoon and his sentient tree friend, the vocabulary-challenged Groot. Finding them together in an ornaments pack was thrilling and made my Guardians-loving heart glad.
Voiced by Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), Oh, the protagonist of Home (2015), is a Boov, an outcast member of a compliant, conformist alien race called the Boov who colonise Earth without so much as a how-you-do, sending humanity to live on a beautifully manicured suburban prisons high in the sky. Largely because he isn’t one of the gang, Oh hilariously connects with a young feisty girl Tip (Rihanna), something the rest of his race would never think to do, in the process changing the course of human and Boov history. he’s a delight and the ornament, complete with Tip’s cat is similarly delightful.
Granted The Good Dinosaur is not one of Pixar’s more celebrated movies, possessing a rather pedestrian been-there-done-that narrative that hardly pushes any storytelling envelopes. But there’s something about Arlo (a dinosaur voiced by Raymond Ochoa) and Spot (a caveboy voiced by Jack Bright) that warms the heart and gives the film a deep emotional resonance far beyond what its conventional plot might suggest. I love these guys and so, naturally, I love their ornament.