I appreciate the humor of the headline and I certainly understand the author's puzzlement at a Christmas ornament that depicts death. However, I see this as far from the least seasonally appropriate Star Trek ornament Hallmark has produced. For me, that honor goes to "Locutus of Borg," released a decade ago, because nothing says Christmas like "Resistance is Futile."
Star Trek has been closely associated with Christmas for many of us through Hallmark ornaments since 1991. That was the year Hallmark released its first Star Trek ornament, "Starship Enterprise," depicting the Enterprise NCC-1701 in honor of Star Trek's 25th anniversary. (For those of you keeping track, that will be 25 years ago next year. Feeling old yet?)
The following year, Hallmark released an ornament depicting the Galileo shuttlecraft and featuring a specially recorded message, voiced by Leonard Nimoy: "Shuttlecraft to Enterprise. Shuttlecraft to Enterprise. Spock here. Happy Holidays. Live long and prosper." Since then, Spock's voice has greeted many of us every Christmas.
"Hallmark's Keepsake Ornament team starts working on each year's ornament line about two years in advance. "The Needs of the Many" ornament was planned, designed and produced months prior to the death of Leonard Nimoy. The ornament design was fully approved by our licensing partners at Star Trek and CBS, as well as by Mr. Nimoy himself, in early 2014."
Hallmark was aware, however, that this could become a potentially difficult situation.
"Out of respect for Mr. Nimoy and his family, and sensitivity to the situation, we consulted with our licensing partners at Star Trek and CBS this spring, to see if they had concerns about releasing this ornament in 2015. Our partners agreed that this ornament is a fitting tribute to Leonard Nimoy in one of his most memorable scenes."
And I absolutely agree. Honestly, outside the context of Nimoy's death, the ornament seems far less appropriate, even if the man himself approved it. That is, unless you view it from another perspective.
While there are other elements involved, the moment depicted in this year's Hallmark ornament is the moment in Spock's character arc that most solidly earns him his well-known distinction as a Christ figure.
As we celebrate the coming of Christ, we celebrate not only his birth, but the bringing of salvation--a salvation wrought through sacrificial death. Certainly, his birth takes precedence during this season and his death and resurrection have their times of remembrance as well. So, it could be said that this is perhaps a more appropriate Easter (or at least Palm Sunday) ornament.
Still, meditating on the birth of Christ is only enriched by also meditating on his life, death and resurrection. So, for me, this stands as a uniquely beautiful moment in the history of the Hallmark Star Trek ornaments--the moment when Star Trek, Christmas, and Christ all came together in one singular piece of popular art. In that sense, then--truly--nothing says Christmas like the death of Spock.
Happy Christmas, everyone. Live Long and Prosper! (John 10:10)