The drawback to being a child (and/or fan) in the golden age of LEGO was that the Christmas fun arrived on the big day. Unwrapping presents revealed the bricks. Of course a bucket of bricks leads to Santa and Snowman MOCs, but with the festive nostalgia that LEGO brings it was a missed opportunity for the company not to have holiday themed products. It was at the end of the 1990s that LEGO began releasing Advent Calendars as LEGO Store exclusives. The LEGO Advent Calendars that we now expect each year really kicked off in 2005 with the first LEGO City Advent Calendar (7324).
Over the years there have been additional small sets for Christmas, and now each year a Winter Village luxury set too. This year saw the greatest range of releases, building on what has come before with successful re-releases and fun new ideas. Once again there were the three Advent Calendars; City, Star Wars and Friends.
Santa’s Workshop (10245) is something of a deviation from the previous Winter Village sets, in that it is based in a fantasy setting rather than being based in the idyllic European winter wonderland of previous years. This has been a breath of fresh air, as the designers must have been scratching their heads to know where to go next with these sets. Who wouldn’t want to build the mythical location where Santa creates the toys for the children of the world?
Whilst Santa’s Workshop and the Advent Calendars make great centerpieces for a LEGO Christmas, LEGO Stores also have a range of exclusive decorations. The Santa Set (850939) has limited building involved, but makes for a neat decoration that could be displayed anywhere – Collectible Minifigures put a clear price on what a mini-figure should cost, and this isn’t bad value for money.
The Snowman (40093), Reindeer (40092) and Turkey (40091) make fun buildable characters to dot around the house. The price seems slightly high, but they are well designed and look fun. The Reindeer uses the Mixels eyes to great effect! These would be a great way to get the children to count down each week to Christmas.
Perhaps the most appropriate introduction in recent years has been LEGO baubles, which kicked off with the red, green and gold brick filled baubles. This has been expanded over time, with a range now available with little buildable models to display in the bauble and hang on the tree. Some are more seasonal than others, with the log cabin being the highlight. Even better than the buildable model baubles are the empty ones, available at LEGO Stores to be filled with Pick a Brick elements or a build-a-mini-figure. The clever design of the bauble allows the filled sphere to give a great look, but the plate allows mini-figures and models to look sharp too.
There’s something for most tastes this year, with the range of Christmas products available. Most AFOLs make the trip to a LEGO Store for Brick Friday goodies and to buy the big Christmas set, and it’s likely that more than ever they have been leaving with some extra goodies. Deck the halls with lots of LEGO, tra la la la la…