The Collective: Review of Hallmark 2008 Communciator Ornament + 2009 Preview

October 11-12th, Hallmark stores are celebrating their annual "Ornament Debut" weekend with in-store parties. Star Trek fans have reason to join the festivities because one of the best Star Trek ornaments ever is now available, the TOS Communicator. continues coverage of the Hallmark line with a detailed look at the new ornament, and news of next year’s line.   

Communicate with Santa
The Communicator represents the 49th Star Trek Christmas ornament from Hallmark. The item is an excellent miniaturized version of the communicator from the days of Captain Kirk. Especially impressive are the frenetic display of the three lights (appropriately energetic, these lights will look great on a tree) and the number of phrases from the show featured when the two buttons are pressed. While the miniaturized size takes some getting used to (it is about 1/2 the size of the real communicator), it is good that Hallmark didn’t scale their ornament 1:1 because an opened communicator of full size would have been ungainly on a tree. As a bonus, this ornament is a fun toy, perfect for display and play during the entire year.

Hallmark 2008 TOS Communicator open (w/ packaging) and closed
(click to enlarge)

In addition to the opening and closing sound, there are fifteen additional voice effects, more than any other Hallmark ornament ever. Pushing the two buttons accesses Original Series phrases from Captain Kirk, Spock, Scotty, and Uhura. See and hear the communicator ornament in action in the video below.

Priced at $18.50 (the usual price for electronic ornaments from Hallmark), the communicator is available starting today (although some stores were selling early for lucky fans). The Communicator joins the already available 2008 ornaments of the USS Reliant and the Trouble with Tribbles (see TrekMovie review of those items).

Hallmark’s previously released 2008 Trek ornaments
(click to enlarge)

A look into Christmas future
For 2009 Hallmark is planning on moving up to four ornaments, which they haven’t done since 2004. TrekMovie previously provided a sneak peek from Comic Con of one of the ornaments, a scene from "The Menagerie" featuring Captain Pike, Kirk, and Spock. We now know what the other three ornaments planned for 2009 are. The second ornament will be based on a TOS phaser, to go along with this year’s communicator ornament. There will also be two movie related ornaments, but not the movie you might be thinking of. Fans might be assuming there will be ornaments related to JJ Abrams new Star Trek movie, but actually Hallmark ornaments based on the Trek films have always come out the year after the film due to the time needed to make the ornaments. 2009 may be the year of JJ Abram’s revitalization of Star Trek, but it is also the 30th Anniversary of the release of the original "revitalization" feature film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In honor of that film Hallmark will release a K’t’inga Class Klingon Battlecruiser featured in the film. Kevin Dilmore, who in addition to being a Star Trek novelist also works for Hallmark, promises the Klingon ship will be "complete with incredible detail of the hull plating and glowing torpedo launchers". The second TMP Hallmark item planned for 2009 is a limited edition Ilia Probe ornament. So far the only picture available for 2009 is for the "Menagerie" scene, shown at Comic Con. The 2009 ornaments should be available in the Summer and Fall of 2009.

3 beeps for ‘Merry Christmas’ ?
(click to enlarge)


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October 11, 2008 2:10 pm

I buy a new ornament every year. I just found this years!

October 11, 2008 2:13 pm

Cannot beat those classic designs!

October 11, 2008 2:21 pm

The pike toy is creepy, for some reason.

October 11, 2008 2:25 pm

Perhaps I should just put a golden flap on my Iphone, please ….

… I want a TOS Communicator “mobile phone”

*will this ever be possible?*

T Drake
October 11, 2008 2:29 pm

Not the scene I would have picked (or the episode), but OK. Like to see the rest of the bridge crew (Scotty, Chekov/Sulu at helm).

October 11, 2008 2:36 pm

Dear Santa,,

Can I please have a new Star Trek Trailer and the Hallmark 2008 TOS Communicator .


Sir Martman

October 11, 2008 2:37 pm

Can’t wait for the TMP Klingon battle cruiser!!! Now if only Johnny Lightning would make one…

October 11, 2008 2:44 pm

I get them all every year… I have to start in July when they come out so I’m not dropping a fortune all at once… I have a very star trek christmas tree

October 11, 2008 2:45 pm

That communicator is too cool. The sounds on it sound better than the Diamond Select to me. Cool.

And I gotta have that Pike ornament. Fun.

October 11, 2008 3:41 pm

Star Trek Christians?

Of course!

It’s ST-TOS related!

The REAL Redjac
October 11, 2008 3:49 pm

Damn, they don’t even TRY to make these things have anything to do with Christmas anymore do they?

At least Shuttlecraft had a holiday greeting from Spock.

October 11, 2008 4:05 pm

Nothing says Christmas like radiation burns and a court martial.

Um… I really love the starships on my tree, so I won’t slam Hallmark. Would love to see more each year. And hey… what about a Planet Killer Christmas ornament?? Or a Fesarius? Botany Bay?

I love the sound quality on the communicator… in addition to getting some Uhura and Scotty sound. I already got the Reliant, so that’s probably it for this year, but it’s a nice piece.

October 11, 2008 4:16 pm

Do you like Christmas, Mr. Pike?

Beep. Beep.

October 11, 2008 5:51 pm

Dear Hallmark,

Can future ornaments include:

– TOS Romulan Bird of Prey
– TOS Klingon Battle Cruiser
– TMP Klingon Battle Cruiser
– Gorn
– Mugato

Thank you!

Scott B. out.

Dr. Image
October 11, 2008 5:58 pm

I love the Pike!
Who would have ever thunk?
I want a V’ger!
(It would have to be BIG, though:)

October 11, 2008 7:37 pm

Why won’t anyone make a BIG USS Reliant like the rest of the ships how many times can we get the Enterprise..give the other classic ships some love

I am not Herbert
October 11, 2008 7:58 pm

4. Stef* : ” … I want a TOS Communicator “mobile phone” *will this ever be possible?*”

This has been on my Xmas Wishlist for years too…

I’ll betcha something comes out about the same time the movie does… ;-)

For now, I’m making do with “Communicator Chirp” ring tone (among others)


October 11, 2008 7:59 pm

I was at the mall earlier today, and saw this year’s Trek ornaments at Hallmark. Very cute! I like the communicator and may get it as a collectible, but I won’t be putting it on my tree. As huge a Trek fan as I am, I just can’t see having Star Trek, Star Wars, or the Wizard of Oz on a Christmas Tree. Still the same, great for showing off and a great conversation piece.

October 11, 2008 9:06 pm

Got my communicator today and I love it! I have 32 Hallmark ST ornaments now! I don’t put them on my tree…I have them displayed all year in my home office. The ships hang from monofilament line above my bookcase with white Christmas lights acting as the stars. The communicator is one of my favorites…it says so many things!

October 11, 2008 9:26 pm

I got my communicator ornament last weekend and it’s great! I’ve been playing with it all week. It’s small, yeah, as an ornament should be, but the sounds are great. The opening chirp sound is perfect (at least to my ears).

Robert Bernardo
October 11, 2008 11:22 pm

Great ornaments! Must have them all!

Capain Hackett
October 12, 2008 1:52 am

I wanna them so badly!

October 12, 2008 7:10 am

I Started collecting them from the very beginning. We have two x-mas trees.
We fill one with nothing but Star trek!!!! Cant wait for this Christmas.


Denise de Arman
October 12, 2008 8:19 am

NTRPRIZ#23- You have all the ornaments?! And two trees? Lucky you, and good Trek fan.

Mr. Bob Dobalina
October 12, 2008 9:54 am

Forever, the difinitive communicator design. Even in this day of the cell phone, the TOS communicator kicks ass both in functionality and aestetics. I’ve never met anyone that did NOT enjoy flipping open a communicator… Wah Chang, take a bow.

October 12, 2008 11:05 am

I’ve always liked the ship ornaments! I have all of those! But the rest of them I’ve never really cared too much about, but I do have a few of them.

The REAL Redjac
October 12, 2008 4:41 pm

“As huge a Trek fan as I am, I just can’t see having Star Trek, Star Wars, or the Wizard of Oz on a Christmas Tree. ”

Used sparingly, it’s okay (IMHO)…I have some of the ships. But, like you, I ‘ve never cared for the idea of secular things/pop culture things taking over the tree.

October 12, 2008 5:09 pm

27 The REAL Redjac

“I ‘ve never cared for the idea of secular things/pop culture things”

Like… an “X-mas Tree?”

Tanner Waterbury
October 12, 2008 6:28 pm

Hey anthony, you made a wee mistake. The ornaments came out a couple weeks ago, and i bought the reliant and communicator. Anyways i just want to say that the Communicator has great sound quality and they got the lights right on it too. it always irritated me that the DST communicator lights have yellow red and BLUE instead of yellow red and GREEN. Anyways… cant wait foor the KTinga class Amar.

Trek or Treat
October 13, 2008 5:45 am

I just got all 3 ornaments. Gotta shop early or my local store always sells out.

The communicator and Reliant are very cool, but how about some love for the tribble ornament? C’mon it drops tribble on the captain! That’s cheesy but waaay cute!

Our house now has 2 Christmas trees every year. One’s the regular tree and one’s the Trek Tree. How much of a geek am I!

October 13, 2008 7:39 am

What a fun post this was, it’s great reading all of the responses. I agree about the planet-killer ornament, that would be VERY cool :D Also, like others have already stated, ya just can’t beat TOS design, it’s still the best!

Gary the Gorn
October 13, 2008 3:03 pm

Coming in 2010 from Hallmark.

The Chekov series of ornaments.

From Star Trek II: TWOK “Creatures in our bodies” ornament

and from Mirror Mirror: “Chekov in the Agonizer Booth”

Gary the Gorn
October 13, 2008 3:11 pm

Nothing says Merry Christmas better than Chekov in an angonizer booth.

Coming in 2011

Kirk’s series of questionable relationship ornaments.
1. Kirk and Janet Lester
2. Kirk and Ruth (From Shore Leave) She look 50 years old.
3. Kirk and the Android Chick (multiple episodes)

Gary the Gorn
October 13, 2008 3:14 pm

I forgot.

Kirk and Carol Marcus (She’s a very handsome man).

Not that good looking. I can see why he never called her back after he got the, “Uh, Oh I’m pregnant” call.

October 13, 2008 8:43 pm

24. Denise de Arman…. Started out on the family tree, I would say somewhere between the Janeway ornament and the Borg cube we had no room for the family stuff. Wife made me get another tree.(lol) I had missed the blown glass original constitution but found it 2 years ago on Ebay!
7 of 9 always goes on top!!! Wish Hallmark would go back to putting the ships inline with your string of lights, pushing the buttons to light them up SUCKS!!!
Reliant is cool, communicator is awesome. And what the hell is up with the co-co puffs/ rice crispies….errr… I mean Tribbles.

Jim Nightshade
October 13, 2008 10:30 pm

Well after reading about it I ran out to the Mall this weekend and got the communicator ornament. It is cool I must admit. I already have a full sized communicator from when Star Trek the experience first started selling them so it has sounds but no voices…I have a feeling that one might be more collectible. What I Really like about the Hallmark Ornament….is that there is a Capt Kirk Speaks button and an EVERYBODY ELSE SPEAKS button…So you push the buttons in the right order and every once in a while it almost sounds like they are having a conversation. Also sometimes it sounds like neither one can hear each other! heheheh….The communicator has an opening chirp but nothing when you close it..Did the original have a closing noise? I dont remember anymoe….I wish the Hallmark had the STATIC noise and the single chirp chirp when someone is calling the communicator. I looked at the Reliant and Tribbles but got the PAC MAN ARCADE game ornament instead..WOKA WOKA WOKA BLUEEEPPPP>…..

Kevin Dilmore
October 14, 2008 1:46 pm

36. Nice catch, Mr. Nightshade. We rigged it so the middle button had “landing-party-to-ship” dialogue and the right button had “ship-to-landing-party.” With a little practice and syncing, you can press the buttons alternately and listen to your own scene. Well, kinda. :)

29. What Anthony didn’t anticipate was a decision by Hallmark to introduce a couple of weeks early ornaments that were scheduled to go on sale during Ornament Debut weekend (Oct. 11-12). So, yeah, the Communicator was available to Hallmark Gold Crown shoppers ahead of schedule. If you want one, get it quickly. We knew this one would be popular, but it already is selling even above expectations. Just a friendly tip. :)

14. Scott, the TMP Klingon Battlecruiser you requested will be in stores next year. As for the others, some have been discussed, so keep your fingers crossed for your favorites. I was told at lunch today that our brainstorming team for 2010 soon will be called into action. I guess Lynn Norton wants to get to work!

Thanks everyone for your support and enthusiasm for our Star Trek ornaments. We sure have fun making them.

Jim Nightshade
October 15, 2008 10:15 pm

Thanks for the Kudos Kevin….That ornament and all the star trek ornaments are awesome. You guy sdo a fantastic job…Wish I could have afforded all of them..In fact the only other one I have is last years alternate ship….I never could afford them when they came out…I looked at them a lot though ahahah..

If the communicators are selling that good I should get a couple more for gifts for friends then hmm..thanks for the tip….

Me I like the VGER idea…Lets see you guys come up with one of them on a tree eheheh Take care…

Chuck Wilson
October 16, 2008 7:07 pm

I especially love the ship ornaments (have them all back to Galileo), and I’m catching up on the characters. I’m consistently impressed with the quality of the ornaments. And I agree w/ the decision to move to batteries from plug-in — they’ll last a lot longer.

37. Hey, Kevin — A few ships that I’d love to see sometime in the future:

USS Enterprise-B (Excelsior class) (ST:Generations)
USS Enterprise-C (Ambassador class) (TNG: Yesterday’s Enterprise)
ISS Enterprise (TOS: Mirror, Mirror)
Romulan Bird of Prey (TOS: Balance of Terror)
SS Botany Bay (TOS: Space Seed)
Space Station K-7 (TOS: Trouble with Tribbles)
USS Stargazer (TNG)
Cardassian Galor-class
Spacedock (ST III)
the Phoenix (ST: First Contact)
USS Titan (ST fiction)
the Captain’s Yacht (ST: Insurrection)

There’s your next decade, plus. ;-) Oh, and the Doomsday Machine would be fun, too. I’d especially love to have a complete “set” of Enterprises we’ve seen on-screen. Thanks!

Chuck Wilson
October 16, 2008 7:08 pm

I especially love the ship ornaments (have them all back to Galileo), and I’m catching up on the characters. I’m consistently impressed with the quality of the ornaments. And I agree w/ the decision to move to batteries from plug-in — they’ll last a lot longer.

37. Hey, Kevin — A few ships that I’d love to see sometime in the future:

USS Enterprise-B (Excelsior class) (ST:Generations)
USS Enterprise-C (Ambassador class) (TNG: Yesterday’s Enterprise)
ISS Enterprise (TOS: Mirror, Mirror)
Romulan Bird of Prey (TOS: Balance of Terror)
SS Botany Bay (TOS: Space Seed)
Space Station K-7 (TOS: Trouble with Tribbles)
USS Stargazer (TNG)
Cardassian Galor-class
Spacedock (ST III)
the Phoenix (ST: First Contact)
USS Titan (ST fiction)
the Captain’s Yacht (ST: Insurrection)

There’s your next decade, plus. ;-) Oh, and the Doomsday Machine would be fun, too. I’d especially love to have a complete “set” of Enterprises we’ve seen on-screen.

October 18, 2008 10:20 am

Just got my Hallmark Communicator today: AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wonder why it took so long for someone to come up with a version that automatically makes the “chirp” sounds when the lid is opened?

Jim Nightshade
October 20, 2008 10:38 pm

Hey John the version FULL SIZE that I have from THE EXPERIENCE Did make the chirp sound when opening….it also had a call button at the bottom when you press it goes beep beep twice like someone is calling…it does not have the voices but it does have static and other noises as you press the buttons….

November 2, 2008 10:07 am

Ok, I have been trying to figure out the whole “landing party” vs. “ship” conversation and I have a scenario worked out. The problem is there are three more phrases on the right button than on the left, so it cycles differently.

But if start with “Kirk to Enterprise” on the left button (L) and “Spock here. Are you alright Captain?” on the right button (R), you can (kinda) have a conversation that goes like this:
L, R, L, R, R, R, L, R, R, L, R, L, R, L, R

Does anyone else have one that works? The phrases always repeat in the same order, so that limits variability. (Yes- I’m a nerd and yes I have a spreadsheet with this information in it.)

The Black Flame
January 6, 2009 12:17 pm

Greetings. I don’t put up a tree, but I have two shelves and a dresser loaded with Star Trek and Star Wars ornaments. I didn’t much care for the tribbles ornament (I’m blind and that plastic case doesn’t turn me on) and being blind can’t see the lights on the Reliant, but I went absolutely nuts over the communicator. As for which order, I use the same one used by BrittFlok but I first press R, L, L. Nice work Michael, and please please please produce something for the 10th anniversary of SW Episode I, like a Sith Infiltrator that plays Duel of the Fates and a Qui-Gon Vs. Darth Maul Tatooine diorama or Darth Sidious hologram with lights and sounds!

D. Wilson
February 5, 2009 4:12 pm

Have asked Hallmark every year for a NOMAD ornament. Sounds and lights- it’s so doable! Perfect ornament and a must have. Everyone should write Hallmark and petition it!!

March 8, 2009 6:49 am

April 7th, Hallmark will come out with their Keepsake Ornament Dreambook. Ornaments usually release July 4th weekend with one hold out till October. So far, there’s a total of 3 Trek ornaments that I gotta have:

1. K’Ting Class Klingon Battlecruiser
2. TOS Phaser
3. The Menagerie scene

We just have to guess which of these will get held back to October!
Remember the date and make your reserve request at your local Hallmark store!!

2010 NOMAD ornament????????

March 23, 2009 2:36 am

I am angry a wee bit at hallmark. It seems that about every other year they come out with another Original Enterprise. I think that the 91 enterprise should of been it. Enough of the repops. I did like the original enterprise ’95 in metal. That was nice and didn’t seem like a copy of the 91. Also, whats up with KAHN? its like each year, I see a ship, character, or battle scene with that movie. Hallmark, please move on. I have not a clue to this years ornaments and I hope they make me happy. I would love to see the following star trek ships:
1. Enterprise B <—unless they did come out with it lol.
2. enterprise C
3. Klingon Vorcha Class
4 Ferrengi ship
5. the new Romulan warbirds
6 the last Klingon flag ship in the movie
7. a cardassian ship

but ENOUGH OF THE enterprises (original) ones. sick of em

March 24, 2009 4:30 pm

TOS characters and ships are still relevant to a lot of people. I agree that the Enterprise ship has been done enough but there are lots of other TOS characters and ships that should be made (and hopefully will someday). Subjects from the later series are being done about at the same rate as those from TOS. They are releasing the K’Ting Class Klingon Cruiser from the Motion Picture which is the same ship as from the Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country so that should fill your bill for #6 on your list. I spoke with their people awhile back about how to request or petition for new ornaments (for a NOMAD ornament) and it all has to do with what CBS/Paramount will release. Hallmark can’t do anything without permission from the rights holder. That’s who you should write to about those from your wish list. Me, I’m just glad to get what little bit they put out-makes them that much more a keepsake.

Mauricio M.
April 5, 2009 2:14 pm

USS Reliant (from Wrath of Khan)
The USS Reliant ornament features lights. This continues the TWOK line that started last year with a scenery ornament of Kirk, Spock, and Sulu responding to Khan. The ship ornaments are often very detailed. The Reliant will retail for $32. USS Reliant ornament features lights now warth more money after actor died age 88 year old. WOW,WOW,SWEET,WOW,SWEET……………….