Happy New Year, folks. 2018 is here, and none too soon as far as I am concerned. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a fresh start.
I did, however, enjoy being on vacation since December 21. Christmastime is my favorite part of the year, despite how busy it can be. This year, the busiest parts for me were actually before vacation, so I was mostly able to focus on relaxing – something I really needed.
Here is how I spent most of my Christmas vacation:
- Wrapping presents (unless in a time crunch, I find this relaxing)
- Baking Chocolate/Peanut Butter Chip Christmas cookies
- Eating Chocolate/Peanut Butter Chip Christmas cookies
- Enjoying Christmas Eve with my wife and parents-in-law, including a re-watch of Elf (first time for the parental units, though–not sure if they viewed it as a Christmas classic like we do), Christmas morning with my wife and our Beagle, and Christmas afternoon with my wife and my insane family (mom, siblings, nieces, assorted significant others, and dogs)
- Re-watching four Star Wars movies (Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi “unaltered” DVDs, and my second viewing of The Last Jedi in theaters – still love it, even after reading much of the bashing from a disappointed and vocal segment of the fanbase, and can’t wait for a third theatrical viewing hopefully later this week)
- Listening to The Last Jedi soundtrack at least a dozen times (yet another masterpiece from John Williams)
- Re-watching all nine episodes so far of Star Trek: Discovery (it has grown into a fantastic series, I’m looking forward to the resumption of season 1 on CBS All Access January 7)
- Re-watching Spider-man: Homecoming on Blu-ray (one of an embarrassing number of Christmas gifts from my wife)
Speaking of gifts, this year was definitely a Star Wars Christmas for me. Among the Star Wars items I received:
- Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie book (this 22-pound collection of all of McQuarrie’s conceptual designs and artwork for the original Star Wars trilogy consists of 800 pages spread across two hardcover volumes in a slipcase; I flipped through all of it on Christmas day, but I’m looking forward to going back and reading the details; I have a couple of dozen Star Wars reference books, but this gift from my wife is the absolute pinnacle)
- The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens book (it will be interesting to compare the concept art from this 2015 installment to the 1977-1983 installments)
- Star Wars: The Black Series (Titanium Series) – Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa, and Han Solo die-cast figurines
- IncrediBuilds Millennium Falcon 3D wood model kit
- Hallmark X-Wing Fighter ornament
- Star Wars: Complete Locations (2016) book
- Star Wars Insider: Heroes of the Force book
- Imperial Capitol print by Joe Shymanski
Though they do not all weigh 22 pounds like the McQuarrie tome, many of my other Star Wars reference books are quite heavy as well. As an early Christmas present, my father-in-law made me a bookcase for them, which fits right below the action figure display case he made me a few years ago. These handcrafted items are two of my most-cherished possessions.
My wife, who is a Star Wars fan only through marriage, mentioned after we saw The Last Jedi the first time how much she loved BB-8 and wanted one. She has never once asked for anything related to Star Wars, so guess who happened to show up under the tree as a last-second gift?
Check out this brief video (also embedded below), where you’ll hear my wife trying out a couple of voice commands on BB-8. She wishes I listened as well.
With BB-8 ready to go, I’m hoping to sneak in a re-watch of The Force Awakens on Blu-ray at some point today in order to start the year off right.
As mentioned, I’m glad 2018 is here. I will happily take even an artificial reboot due to the arbitrary turning of a calendar page. While many of yesterday’s challenges remain, may the spark of hope burn brighter. Support and enjoyment of the arts, including that of mere pop culture, remains important even while fighting the bleakness of today’s world – perhaps even more so.
In 2017, I completed 19 posts for my little pop culture blog. In 2018, I plan at least to double that number with more posts about Elvis records, Star Wars toys, and other bits of fun. I plan to spend more time writing, here and elsewhere. I plan to spend more time reading as well. Both activities bring me peace.
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How did you spend your holidays? What are your plans for 2018?