With Christmas season in full swing and a new Star Wars movie in theaters, I thought it was a perfect time to once again remember my favorite Christmas present ever.

I've received a lot of presents I loved as a kid like my first tape recorder, remote controlled car and digital watch. That being said, when thinking about my favorite Christmas present, I'm instantly brought back to 1977, the year the movie Star Wars came out.

I, like seemingly every kid in America, was completely obsessed with Star Wars.  I believe I saw it about 8 times in the theater (which helped me get back at my sisters who made me sit through 'Grease' at least a half dozen times.  That movie drove me crazy, I still remember everybody getting up whenever the 'Beauty School Dropout' song came on.  To this day, whenever I hear that song I instantly have to pee).

Anyway, Star Wars was all I could talk about in 1977 and when Christmas got closer, I made it known that I needed to have action figures!  I not only wanted my favorites Han Solo and Chewbacca, but I wanted them all.  Unfortunately, every kid did and Kenner, the toy company who was making them, was not prepared for the demand.  Not to disappoint the children of America, Kenner came up with a plan.

As you can seen in the vintage commercial below, they instead sold an "Early Bird Certificate Package" which included a certificate which could be mailed to Kenner and redeemed for four Star Wars action figures.  The box also contained a display stand, stickers, and a Star Wars Fan Club Membership Card.  The actual action figures would be mailed the next year, beginning sometime in February of 1978.  My mom, bless her heart, secured this for me.

That means my favorite Christmas present ever was, in reality, an empty display stand.  It didn't matter to me as I set it up, sent in my certificate and filled out the Star Wars Fan Club Membership Card.  This helped extend my Christmas excitement for months as I awaited my action figures.  There was no package tracking then, instead I would stare down the mailman every day like he was the leader of a Publishers Clearing House balloon team.  Finally, on a magical day early in 1978, I received my first Star Wars action figures, completing my favorite Christmas present.

Over the years I would get countless Star Wars action figures and other Star Wars related toys, including a stuffed Chewbacca (whose itchy fur could have been used to scrub pots and pans) and a remote controlled R2-D2 (that I believe became haunted as it would make noise and move even without batteries, but that's another story).  I also learned an important lesson:  I never should have played with my first action figures.

I have discovered that these early action figures, in perfect condition, are worth thousands of dollars today.  Of course, I would play with them and and lose them all over the years, but that's what kids do.  I had a lot of fun and I wouldn't take back those memories for the money today.

However, fellow parents, if you find yourself getting your kids action figures or other items that your gut tells you might be worth something in the future, do yourself a favor and buy two of them.  Don't expect your kids not to rough them up and lose them, so get one that you can hide away on the off chance that years later it can help pay for your kids college text books.  I've done that with a few things over the years just in case.

Whatever you get or receive this year, have a very Merry Christmas and May The Force Be With You.

Kenner unveils their plan in 1977 and I was totally on board:

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