There are many great things about the holidays, from time with family to the food, from charity to traditions. Of course, the holiday season is a great time to give to others, and many Star Trek episodes and feature films reveal the importance of giving to others. In honor of the "12 Days of Christmas" Trekmovie presents this list of the 12 of the best gift giving moments in Star Trek.
12 days of Trek giving
Here are our 12 favorite ‘giving’ moments in Trek (in order of airing), along with a discussion of some of the lessons the episode might be teaching.
Chapel makes Spock some soup
(TOS "Amok Time")
Sometimes the best gifts are simple and homemade, including food. While Spock’s condition initially prevents him from enjoying the gift of Plomeek soup made by Christine Chapel, he is recovered sufficiently later in the episode to realize the value of such a gesture. Christine’s reaction also shows how much joy there is helping a friend with these kinds of gifts.
Scotty gives the Klingons a special present
(TOS "The Trouble With Tribbles")
Joke gifts can sometimes be very funny. In this episode, Scotty transports the tribbles to the Klingon ship and hilarity ensues. Scotty not only gives the Klingons a joke gift, he provides his friends with the gift of laughter (a theme that is resonated in TNG’s "Deja Q" when Q gives Data the gift of laughter literally).
Spock and Bones remember Kirk’s birthday
(Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)
Admiral Kirk’s birthday is a maudlin time for him, yet his friends provide him with gifts that show he is loved. Spock’s A Tale of Two Cities and McCoy’s eyeglasses are perfect presents because they are not only functional, they are personal. These are gifts that show that Kirk’s friends really know him and what he likes. The best gifts do not have to be expensive, they really just need to be personal. Of course, the presents are also great because they are symbolic of many of the themes of the movie. When Kirk sits to read the book at the end of the movie, yet discovers his glasses are broken, it shows that Kirk needs both McCoy and Spock to function. He cannot read the information (Spock’s gift) without the ability to understand (McCoy’s gift) the material. With Spock gone, Kirk is diminished. Friends are gifts, too.
Enterprise kids honor Picard
Captain Picard forms a bond with children from the Enterprise, saving them from the disaster that has occurred on the ship, and them saving him from his lifelong avoidance of children. Their homemade plaque is a great reminder that the best gifts sometimes are those that cost almost nothing.
Data paints Worf a painting
Again, the theme of homemade presents is in this alternative universe episode. Data gives Worf an expressionist painting of the Battle of HarOs, which is not only a nice gesture, yet also continues the interesting bond the two characters have on the show. In episodes such as Data’s Day and Birthright, Worf and Data often show they have more in common than might be thought, and Data’s gestures shows that even if friends seem different, they can celebrate what is unique about the other.
Dax brings Worf music
(DS9 "Bar Association")
In juxtaposition to Quark’s greed in this episode, Dax gives Worf a collection of her favorite Klingon operas. The episode is showing that sometimes kindnesses can lead to more meaningful relationships, as witnessed by Dax and Worf’s subsequent marriage.
Jake goes out of his way to get his dad a card
(DS9 "In the Cards")
Fifteen years after its premiere episode, one of the best things about DS9 continues to be the amazing father and son relationship between Jake and Benjamin Sisko. In this episode, the bond is expressed with Jake wanted to get his father a Willie Mays baseball card. His look of appreciation at the end of the episode makes all the challenges worth it for Jake. The episode also reminds us to appreciate not only our parents, yet also our mentors. Nog recognizes (with some help from Jake) that Ben is his mentor and deserves someone doing something nice for him.
Kes moves Voyager
(VOY: "The Gift")
Each person possesses special gifts, and they are best utilized to help the community. As Kes begins to realize her special nature, she leaves her friends with truly appreciated gift. She uses her Ocampan abilities to help Voyager out of Borg space and 10 years closer to home.
Tuvok dances for Neelix
It is merely the movement of a foot in dance, yet Tuvok’s action is very emotional. For seven years, Neelix and Tuvok have had a strained relationship, beginning with Neelix embracing Tuvok in the premiere episode. While the emotional Neelix and logical Tuvok often seemed in conflict with each other, a mutual respect had grown. Neelix always wanted to see Tuvok dance, and when Tuvok does so, it is an appreciated gift by Neelix and the audience.
Hoshi researches Malcolm’s favorite
(ENT "Silent Enemy")
Amidst the dangers of facing unknown aliens, the crew of the NX01 and especially Hoshi Sato tries to discover Malcolm’s favorite food. Continuing the Trek tradition of food being a gift (mostly because humans in the future are not materialistic), this episode shows that it is often the thought that is important. It isn’t so much the pineapple that makes Malcolm happy as it is realizing the effort his friends must have went through to find out his favorite food.
T’Mir makes an anonymous donation
(ENT "Carbon Creek")
T’Pol’s relative T’Mir develops an affinity for a resident of Carbon Creek named Jack who wishes to go to college yet cannot afford the tuition. T’Mir sells the patent for Velcro to help get the money and leaves the tuition anonymously for Jack in the bar. The Vulcan T’Mire reminds us that sometimes the most pure human kindnesses are those for which we get no credit.
Data gives the gift of song
(Star Trek Nemesis)
At the wedding of Cmdr. Riker and Deanna Troi, Data announces that after studying Betazoid and Terran marriage giving traditions he decided to sing them Irving Berlin’s ‘Blue Skies’ which he says is “in honor of their conjugation." Data shows again that not all gifts have to be material things and can just be a nice gesture, especially when it is something that shows it comes ‘from the heart’…as only an android can show.
MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY HOLIDAYS
To fellow fans everywhere, happy holidays from the staff at Trekmovie.
Special thanks to Mary Jo Tenuto and Trekcore.com