Why you need this Star Wars LEGO holiday set

2023 Star Wars Holiday LEGO set. Photo credit Eric Clayton
2023 Star Wars Holiday LEGO set. Photo credit Eric Clayton /

I spent not an insignificant amount of time on a recent day off of work constructing the Millennium Falcon Holiday Diorama LEGO set, a birthday gift from my brother. At risk of sounding hyperbolic, it’s literally 282 pieces of Star Wars holiday LEGO delight.

I mean, there’s a holiday tree topped with a snowflake sitting right there in the Millennium Falcon. Holly and mistletoe hang from the rafters, and a string of multicolored lights dangles cheerfully over the heads of our plastic heroes. Put away your LEGO-sized Jedi texts because, is that tip-yip I see on the table? (No. In fact, according to the official LEGO page, it’s turkey and a carrot—but what does your headcanon say?)

Most importantly, our heroes, Rey and Finn, are wearing festive holiday sweaters—green with a tiny Millennium Falcon and blue with the red Rebel insignia, respectively. They’re joined by Chewbacca, BB-8 and an adorable little porg. (Did I invite the holiday sweater-clad R2-D2 and C-3P0 from last year’s Star Wars LEGO Advent Calendar to join the fun? You bet I did.)

The scene is straight out of the 2020 LEGO Star Wars: Holiday Special. Looks like it’s time to celebrate Life Day.

But listen—even the most incredible LEGO builds are met with questions. And my five-year-old daughter, upon laying eyes on this colorful scene, had this one.

“Where’s Chewbacca’s sweater?” A beat, then: “And what about BB-8? And the porg? Why aren’t they wearing sweaters?”

Now, what’s the Star Wars parent/fan supposed to say in response?

Chewbacca has no sweater because he basically is a sweater? What size would he even wear?

The way LEGO designs the Chewbacca minifigure, there’s actually no way to show a sweater and still have his head?

Chewbacca’s lack of sweater is to the Star Wars: Holiday Special what his lack of medal is to A New Hope?

“Good question,” I said. “Who can really say?”

But here’s the thing: I love that she asked that question because of what it authentically says about the Star Wars universe—and about this particular LEGO build. I’ll explain.

There are a lot of really cool LEGO Star Wars dioramas available right now: the Death Star Trash Compactor, the Endor Speeder Chase, the Death Star Trench Run and the Emperor’s Throne Room. Each captures a pivotal scene from one of the films, a scene that’s full of energy and high stakes and clashes of heroes with destiny. These story beats mean something; they’re part of our heroes’ quests. They take place on the way to the story’s conclusion, to good triumphing (hopefully!) over evil.

And then, we have this set: Rey, Finn, a sweaterless Chewbacca, BB-8 and a porg are sharing some (definitely) tip-yip. Just a meal on a holiday like any of us. Decorations, fancy outfits. The stakes are relatively low. I’m not sure anyone is meeting fate in this particular scene. (Though, to be fair, there was a bit of time-travel-pontification that went on in the actual movie.)

When we build Star Wars LEGO sets, do we ever do so in a way that completely removes the “war” part? That isn’t in some way depicting a battle or the preparation for combat or a dangerous situation in which our heroes are trapped? Do we ever actually see moments like this: heroes enjoying the aftereffects of their hard-won victories?

Chewbacca is probably never going to wear a holiday sweater—for at least some of the reasons I mentioned above. But the fact that anyone is, that we can imagine our heroes in a state of peace and companionship and learning for its own sake—Finn does have a lightsaber, after all—brings this story closer to our own life stories.

The fact that the biggest “problem” to contend with here is whether or not Chewbacca should have a sweater is almost refreshing—and relatable.

Because very few of us indeed go into combat wielding laser swords and a mystical energy field. But many of us, I hope, do enjoy friendship and family around a common table. Laughs that come with funny clothes and funnier guests (the porg!). The simple pleasures of a large tree in a place it decidedly does not belong basking in the glow of countless colorful lights.

The Millennium Falcon Holiday Diorama is available for a very limited time. Get yours here.