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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Geek Tree 2015

by Ken Newquist / December 31, 2015
A stone angel, its hands covering its face, stands atop a geek-themed Christmas Tree
The Weeping Angel tree topper from the classic Doctor Who episode "Blink".

The Geek Tree finally has an angel.

For years, the topper of the geek tree -- my personal ode to speculative fiction in Christmas tree form -- had a Santa Yoda at the tree topper. Yoda was great, and I'm sure he'll return to his place of honor eventually, but this year I had a true angel ... a Weeping Angel from ThinkGeek.

The angel is from the classic Doctor Who episode "Blink". ThinkGeek had sold it a few Christmases ago, but I missed my chance to buy it, and it had been sold out for years. This yea it was finally back in stock, and I was able to snag one before they sold out yet again. Now she sits atop the tree, face in her hands, just waiting for someone stop looking at it so it can strike...

View this year's Geek Tree gallery on Flickr.

The Weeping Angel isn't the only Doctor Who addition this year. Joining it are TARDIS string lights. The 9 foot cord of 10 string lights made it about half-way up the 7-foot tree; I'm strongly tempted to buy a second set for next year. I was a little worried they might be overwhelming on the tree, but in truth the blue-and-white lights complement it nicely.

There were a number of other additions to the Geek Tree this year. My wife got me a cartoony version of Sheldon Cooper from the The Big Bang Theory while one of our friends gifted me with two small Star Wars ornaments: Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper (surprisingly, this was the first stormtrooper ornament to grace the Geek Tree).

My parents bought me Hallmark's Y-Wing ornament, which is a sound-only ornament that replays the initial Y-wing attack run dialogue from Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope: (it begins "This is Gold Leader, we're beginning our attack run..."). They also got me Hallmark's Kylo Ren ornament from Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens, so the new trilogy is now represented on the Geek Tree.

Kylo is suitably menacing, but next year I'd love to see them release Poe Dameron's black X-Wing fighter and BB-8 ornaments, both of which would look great on the tree.

After Christmas I was able to add to my Star Trek fleet by picking up the U.S.S. NCC-1701-C, which was featured in the Next Generation episode "Yesterday's Enterprise". When you press its button, the ornament's warp nacelles light up in a particularly striking red and blue while the deflector array shines its familiar light blue. It's a beautiful ornament, and makes me wish that Hallmark still did powered, always-on science fiction ornaments.

My Star Trek fleet is not complete. I still need to find a copy of 1999's Rio Grande runabout ornament, and somehow, someway I'd love to own a copy of the original Enterprise ornament that kicked off Hallmark's Star Trek line, but it currently goes for about $350 on eBay, so that's not happening anytime soon.

Finally, I picked up Hallmark's Predator alien ornament from the movie of the same name. In addition to adding another movie franchise to the Geek Tree, it complements the Alien ornament I already had.

Last year, the great challenge for the geek tree was Zorro, our 1-year-old kitten, who liked to hide in the tree's boughs. Fortunately Zorro didn't try and repeat that stunt this year, but we had a new animal challenge: Olaf, our 11-month-old German Shepherd Dog puppy. Olaf is nearly full-grown, but he's got all of the enthusiasm of a puppy and a tail strong enough to take out small children. He's knocked a number of ornaments off the tree and broke the wing of my TIE Interceptor (fortunately that should be an easy repair).

Animals are one thing -- they grow up. The longer term challenge is the tree itself. Although I've flirted with it in years past, I think we've reached "peak Geek Tree" this year. I might be able to squeeze another ornament or two on it, but it'd be a close thing. I'm at the point where I either need a bigger tree ... or I need to start being picky about what ornaments I put on it.

My Clark Griswold-inspired instincts say that the answer is a bigger tree but those instincts have run up against space limitations. The existing Geek Tree is a 7-foot tall narrow tree that I set up in our library; I'm afraid anything bigger -- even if it's just an 8-foot version of what I have now -- won't fit in the space. That means either we get a bigger tree and I reconfigure the library for Christmas, I start cherry-picking ornaments to put on, or I start going with themed trees.

Themed trees is the most appealing option to me. I easily have enough Star Trek and Star Wars ornaments to do one of each. No other franchise has enough ornaments for a dedicated tree, but I might be able to do themed trees around comic book heroes or fantasy if I creatively augment them with some homegrown trimmings.

Anyway, that's next year's problem. This year I get to sit back and bask in the glow of a few dozen geeky ornaments. Check it out for yourself at Flickr..