As a child of the '80s, Christmas and Star Wars have always been a pair. There was the year I unwrapped an X-Wing. The year I received Jabba the Hutt—complete with a tiny Salacious Crumb. Then the apotheosis of Christmas gifts: an AT-AT walker.
I was a lucky kid and rich in Star Wars figures. I had two Darth Vaders. Six stormtroopers. I had three Han Solos—pilot, Hoth and Endor. Two Princess Leias (Jabba slave and winter garb), two Lukes, three Gamorrean guards, Greedo, R2D2, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, three Admiral Ackbars, Max Rebo's whole band. Between my brother and me, we had the Ewok Village complete with Ewoks... you name it. I even inherited a busted up Millennium Falcon from the older neighbor kid when he moved.
My earliest concept of the "meaning of Christmas" was a kid-mind version of The Force: treat others as you would be treated, be kind and grateful. Not bad lessons for a space opera and its merchandising empire. However, hubris started to creep in as my galaxy of Star Wars guys expanded. I could afford to be cavalier with my lesser figures: the Ugnaughts, Klaatu, the Rancor Keeper. I ceased being grateful, and my greed led me down a dark path.
Balance was restored, though painfully.
On a family road trip to Los Angeles, I loaded my favorite guys into a bag. At some point during the two-day drive I got it into my head to stick them all in a bucket. Then I stuck the bucket out the window. Then the bucket tipped in the wind, scattering at least 20 of my prized Star Wars men across two lanes of freeway. I stared out the back window of our '87 Toyota Tercel hatchback, watching my action figures being blown to pieces.
I screamed. My father cursed. I demanded we pull over. My dad jerked the car to the shoulder and I jumped out, running down the shoulder to retrieve whatever might be left.
I recovered only one—and it shouldn't have even been in the bucket: The goddamn medical droid from Hoth. 2-1B.
The moral of this story needs no explanation. With the spirit of Star Wars recaptured, I'll sign off with a simple holiday message: Be kind and grateful, and don't put all your toys in one bucket.