'Tis the season for decorating and gift giving, so we're taking a different approach to this week's TOYING AROUND. Instead of the usual run-down of action figure and statue news, this week's column will focus on some of the coolest holiday ornaments based on our favorite movies, TV shows, comics, video games, technology and just about anything else that gets our geekness in the holiday spirit.
MARVEL | The House of Ideas has been entertaining readers for 75 years with their brightly colored heroes and dastardly villains. The former make up a chunk of Hallmark's impressive geek ornament offerings this year including Web-Slinging Wonder Spider-Man, Captain America as seen in "The Winter Soldier" and >Hulk Smash! which actually spouts some of the Jade Giant's catch phrases with the push of a button!
BATMAN | Hallmark also decided to pay homage to Batman by giving fans two ornaments based on very different eras of the character's history. Fans of Batman '66 will love the Adam West-based one called Holy Hit TV Show, BATMAN! featuring the character doing the Batusi. If your tastes run more serious and vehicular, then there's the Batmobile from Tim Burton's "Batman" which will play "The Batman Theme" when a button is pressed.
STAR WARS | Even though "Star Wars Rebels" and "The Force Awakes" draw more attention these, Star Wars fans will always love looking back at the classic films. Hallmark celebrates that with a series of ornaments including The Rise of Lord Vader, Cantina Band, LEGO Star Wars Boba Fett and the Sandcrawler. Boba Fett is silent, but the other three make sounds. Vader and the 'Crawler feature dialog while the band plays their classic song from "A New Hope."
STAR TREK | Hallmark continues to create ornaments based on the sci-fi future of "Star Trek." Each year, they present one member of the Original Series. The 2014 offering is none other than Lt. Hikaru Sulu. Meanwhile, Spock and Horta were immortalized in a piece based on the 1967 episode "The Devil in the Dark" that features dialog from the scene. Finally, Vina the Orion slave girl and the U.S.S. Vengeance can be added to your Starfleet-sanctioned holiday tree.
HALLMARK HEROES | During the holiday season it's important to celebrate the real heroes in the world. At the same time, it's fun to display some fictional ones. Hallmark has a variety of them from the Rocketeer and Optimus Prime to Thorin Oakenshielf from "The Hobbit" and "Planet of the Apes" star Cornelius. Even G.I. Joe got in on the action with a 50th anniversary ornament recreating an original action figure in the box!
HALLMARK MONSTERS | Not everyone can be a hero. Sometimes we need monsters to face off against. Hallmark gets that, giving Frankenstein's Monster, the Xenomorph from "Alien" and the most recent big screen version of Godzilla their due. The terrible thunder lizard even comes with a button that recreates some of the kaiju's monstrous rampage from this year's film!
ADVENTURE TIME | What better way to celebrate the holidays than with friends? Two of the best of the bunch, Finn and Jake from "Adventure Time," fit the bill, especially when dressed in these festive sweaters. For some reason, these Target exclusives aren't listed on the store's website, but we have seen them in stores.
FIREFLY | ThinkGeek keeps the Browncoat flame alive this holiday season with two different ornament offerings. First up is a bulb 4-pack featuring the Independents' flag, the "engineered by Firefly" sign, the Blue Sun logo and an image of the ship in flight on one side and the logo on the other. But, that's not all. You can also pick up a 6.5-inch-tall version of Jayne's hat with a removable loop for year-round usage.
OLD SCHOOL VIDEO GAMES | Video game aficionados -- specifically older ones and historians -- will dig this set of four controller-themed ornaments sold over on ThinkGeek. The 4-pack includes an Atari joystick as well as Nintendo, Sega Genesis and PlayStation controllers. Now, if only they came packed with games!
DOCTOR WHO | While looking around for various geeky ornaments, one name kept popping up: Kurt S. Adler. As it turns out this company creates all kinds of pop culture items along with traditional ones. While there are several different "Doctor Who" decorations, two jumped to our attention. First, the Van Gogh-influenced Starry Night TARDIS ball and also the 3-pack featuring the TARDIS, K-9 and a DALEK. Now that's a solid mix!
THE WALKING DEAD | If your tastes run more towards horror, Kurt S. Adler offers ornaments based on AMC's "The Walking Dead." Zombie-philes looking for a scarier holiday tree can purchase Daryl Dixon and Zombie ornaments this year, both of which stand 4.5 inches tall and will surely raise a few eyebrows at your next holiday part.