That Christmas was one of the best Christmases ever. I was surrounded by a plethora of Star Wars toys. Santa knew what I wanted and was extremely generous that year. I was probably eight? Maybe nine? Not sure, but I still remember the absolute joy that came with tearing open the wrappings and finding a treasure trove of vehicles, space stations, creatures, and action figures.
I know I talk about Star Wars a lot. Probably way too much, but it had a profound impact on my childhood and continuing on into my adult years. It’s even awesome to see how, for a number of my friends, when they see something Star Wars-y, I’m the first person they think of. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ll have five different people post the same awesome meme or link or video to my walk because they knew I’d dig it.
Even recently, I had two experiences that warmed my heart to the point of tears. The first was on my birthday. My friend Rose said she had a special surprise that she’d found back in July, but she’d been holding onto it for my birthday. It was this classic Darth Vader figure case. It can hold a couple dozen action figures and their accessories. As soon as I opened the package, I started bawling. And not like a few tears welling in the corners of my eyes. Full on ugly heave crying.
Unbeknownst to Rose, I had the Vader case as a child, but in an early-twenties moment of desperation, I sold the majority of my Star Wars collection to pay rent. While paying rent was a smart choice, I always, ALWAYS regretted selling off my toys. A few years ago, I started rebuilding my collection, and it’s now housed in my shrine: an antique curio cabinet I inherited from my great grandmother. While I had been working on the collection, I was still looking for some of my favorite pieces from childhood, in particular my Vader case and my AT-AT. So when Rose gave me Vader, complete with designation stickers still in tact, it was like being reunited with an old friend.
Fast forward a couple of weeks, and another friend brings me another gift. Jeremy and his wife were making some room for their own collection and had a spare AT-AT that was taking up prime real estate on their shelf. So, after seeing my Facebook post about the Vader case, they decided to gift it to me. Again, I cried. Not the overwhelming tears of the previous week, but still enough to need to compose myself. One of my other friends took the opportunity while it was unguarded to take a selfie with him. Through her suggestion, I’ve decided to name him Squishy.
So what does all of this have to do with Wear Star Wars/Share Star Wars Day? It’s a story to show that for some little girl, receiving a Star Wars toy for Christmas would make them ridiculously happy. And not just now, but potentially 30-40 years down the road, as they grow nostalgic for their favorite childhood memories.
Wear/Share Star Wars Day was borne out of the experience of one little girl. She loved Star Wars and carried a special Thermos to school everyday. Until she started getting teased and told that she couldn’t like Star Wars or play with Star Wars toys because “that’s for boys.”
No, it most assuredly is not. I wouldn’t have been brought to tears twice in two weeks if it was.
The point is, toys shouldn’t be about gender. They should bring joy to the child who is playing with it, regardless of their body parts. Whether it’s the girl who likes Star Wars and Pokemon, or the boy who likes My Little Pony and wants an Easy Bake Oven, we should be encouraging their exploration. And I’m not saying it’s not okay for girls to like princesses or boys to dig trucks. I’m just saying that they shouldn’t be restricted in their choices.
So today, in an act of solidarity, wear your favorite Star Wars shirt. For me, it’s hard to choose because I have like 20 of them (not even exaggerating). Then go buy a Star Wars toy to put in the box for Toys for Tots or any toy donation site. Make sure to stick a note on the toy indicating that you want it to go to a girl, because otherwise by default they will gender select boy.
Make some little girl’s dream come true this holiday. My hope is that at least one girl unwraps her present and is as excited to receive a Star Wars toy as I was. And let’s be honest; still am.