Arts & Culture

Prepared you are with this ‘Star Wars’ advent calendar

Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), left, and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in a scene from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," the highly anticipated film by J.J. Abrams that hits theaters Dec. 18.
Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), left, and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in a scene from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," the highly anticipated film by J.J. Abrams that hits theaters Dec. 18. Lucasfilm

The countdown is on!

But sorry, Santa. This year, “Star Wars” fans are dashing off the days until Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters Dec. 18. That’s exactly one month from today. (But who’s counting?)

At the risk of being struck by light sabers — er, lightning, we’re doing our part to help die-hard droids prepare by offering a monthlong advent calendar.

Yes, we know Advent calendars usually count down the days until Christmas. But Christmas comes every year. The Force Awakens is the first new film in the fabled franchise in a decade, and advance ticket sales have almost broken the Internet.

If you’re as “Star Wars”-obsessed as we are, keep this calendar on hand in case you find yourself wringing your hands (or your Hans), wondering what to do until the movie premieres.

Nov. 18: The infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, which originally aired on CBS, disgraced television sets 37 years and one day ago. Use today to wipe it from your memory — this is not the movie you are looking for. Instead, dust off your vinyl and give John Williams’ epic soundtrack a spin or two.

Film-Fall Preview-JJ Abrams
Abrams Richard Chambury Invision/AP
Nov. 19:

Build an altar to

Star Wars: The Force Awakens


J.J. Abrams


Star Trek


Star Trek Into Darkness

), who promises to take the franchise where no “Star Wars” film has gone before. Just by watching the trailers, we know it’s going to kick Wookie tail.

Nov. 20: J.J. Abrams isn’t the only “J.J.” crucial to the “Star Wars” universe. John Jackson Miller writes novels about a galaxy far, far away, including his latest, Star Wars: A New Dawn, which has recently been republished as part of the Rise of the Empire compilation volume. Enjoy reading it, you will.

Nov. 21: Since he hasn’t been featured in the advertising, speculation is running wild on exactly what role Luke Skywalker is going to have in The Force Awakens. Is he a Sith Lord? Did Aunt Beru’s blue milk turn him into Max Rebo? It’s Saturday. Sit back with a cup of coffee flavored with Coffee-mate’s limited-edition themed creamer, hop on social media and let the world know your crazy theory.

Nov. 22: Like Luke, you may be a little short for a Stormtrooper, but you can make a costume to fit your frame perfectly by following the directions here:

Four Entertainment Weekly covers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens Entertainment Weekly
Nov. 23:

Drive your landspeeder to the local newsstand and grab a copy of the new double

issue of Entertainment Weekly

, which includes “32 pages of on-set secrets” from

The Force Awakens

. If you’re loyal to the Rebellion, you’ll purchase all four covers.

Nov. 24: Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, a cheaply produced made-for-TV movie that takes place sometime between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, debuted on ABC 30 years ago. Watch it just for fun, and to remind yourself that The Phantom Menace wasn’t so bad after all.

Nov. 25: If you don’t have a heated pool, you probably stopped swimming a couple of months ago. Instead of letting those foam swim noodles languish in your cargo hold, convert them into lightsabers. Here’s how:

Trivial Pursuit Star Wars Classic Trilogy Collectors Edition Trivial Pursuit
Nov. 26:

It’s Thanksgiving!

Give thanks for

Star Wars

creator George Lucas by eating enough turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie to make Jabba the Hutt blush. After you’ve cleared off the dining room table, scoreboard your family by crushing them at

Trivial Pursuit: Star Wars Classic Trilogy Collector’s Edition


Nov. 27: On Dark Friday — I mean Black Friday, Half Price Books is having a storewide 20 percent off sale, including discounts on a variety of new “Star Wars” items, such as TIE Fighter T-shirts, Darth Vader tin totes and soft sculptures of Boba Fett and Chewbacca. Also, Sam’s Club will offer the Star Wars: Battlefront 500GB PlayStation 4 bundle for $389.

Nov. 28: Sit down with your kids, nieces, nephews or other Jedis in training and create masterpieces with the super nifty Star Wars art kit, which you can purchase as an early Christmas gift to yourself on Amazon for $45. Recommended for Rebels age 4 and up.

Nov. 29: Cook up a themed meal: Chewy steak or Ham Solo for the main course, Vader tots and Millennium Falcorn on the side, and Obi-Wan Cannoli or Chewbaklava for dessert. If you’d rather not spend time in the kitchen, simply go to Pizza the Hutt.

Nov. 30: It’s been about a month since scores of little Lord Vaders and young Padawans rang your doorbell, begging for candy. However, you can still carve that Death Star pumpkin you saw on Pinterest, thanks to these plans:

Dec. 1: Get December diets started off right by heading down to your local bakery, grabbing a couple of large cinnamon rolls, slapping one on each side of your head and having the befuddled baker take an Instagram-worthy photo. Extra points for wearing a white robe to complete your semi-organic Princess Leia Organa costume.

Dec. 2: Settle into a comfortable chair in your Emperor’s throne room and read Star Wars: Dark Empire from Dark Horse Comics, in which Luke succumbs to the dark side of the Force. (That sentence was darker than Darth Vader’s uniform.)

Dec. 3: Perform Jedi mind tricks for friends. If the Force is not with you, you should at least be able to tell a few “Star Wars” jokes. Here is an oldy-but-goody to help get you going: Q: Where do Gungans store things? A: In Jar Jars.

Dec. 4: Celebrate “Star Wars Day” five months early by stopping everyone you meet and saying “May the fourth be with you.” You may get some strange looks, but what are you supposed to say on May 4, “Live long and prosper”?

Dec. 5: WinterCon, taking place Dec. 5 and 6 at the Resorts World Casino in Jamaica, N.Y., is hosting a number of events in anticipation of the new film. If you have enough credits to commission a ship to get you there, tell the original Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch) and young Boba Fett (Daniel Logan) we said hello — they’ll be there as guests, meeting fans and signing autographs. For more info, check

Dec. 6: It’s Sunday, a day of rest, even for the Rebellion. Invite some fellow Rebels over and watch all six “Star Wars” movies in order, playing “Star Wars” Bingo as you go. Find free printable cards here:

Dec. 7: Read the new graphic novel Star Wars: Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens — Shattered Empire, which was written by Greg Rucka with art by Marco Checchetto. For the first time in the new “Star Wars” canon, readers discover what happened after Return of the Jedi, making for a good tie-in to The Force Awakens.

Dec. 8: Makeup artist Rick Baker, who worked on Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope, was born this day 65 years ago. Celebrate his birthday by giving yourself an otherworldly makeover with CoverGirl’s new Star Wars makeup line. She-3PO would approve.

Dec. 9: Build your own empire — make that your own Empire — with one of the many “Star Wars” Lego sets available, such as an AT-AT Walker or an Imperial Assault Carrier. If you want a Death Star (believe us, that’s no moon), you’ll have to order one online (, as supplies are running low.

Dec. 10: Laugh like Salacious B. Crumb by taking in one or more of these parodies: Star Warp’d, Hardware Wars, Thumb Wars or, best of all, Spaceballs, the Mel Brooks classic. For a film that pokes fun at both “Star Wars” and “Star Trek,” try Fanboys.

Darth Vader ornament
Hallmark Darth Vader ornament, $19.95 Hallmark
Dec. 11:

Christmas is just two weeks away. Even if you already have a traditional tree in your living room, add a second, smaller tree to the dining room or game room, decorating it with nothing but

“Star Wars” ornaments

, which you can purchase at Hallmark and Wal-Mart.

Dec. 12: Book passage to Disneyland’s Tomorrowland, which has undergone a “Season of the Force” makeover in anticipation of The Force Awakens. Among the many changes, Space Mountain has become Hyperspace Mountain, complete with X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter imagery. If you can’t make the trip to California, watch the video at

Dec. 13: Remember Lobot, the headphones-wearing bald guy from The Empire Strikes Back? Maybe he was future-listening to one of the many “Star Wars” podcasts, such as Full of Sith (, Coffee With Kenobi ( or RebelForce Radio ( You can listen to them, too — for free!

Dec. 14: Spend the evening at a local bar or coffee house, discussing the mythology of “Star Wars” with your significant other or impressing potential love interests with your Wookiencyclopedic knowledge of the franchise. If he or she is not a fan, you’re looking for love in Alderaan places.

Dec. 15: It probably won’t snow in North Texas this December, but even if it feels like Hoth outside, you’ll be safe and Lukewarm inside your house (or Tauntaun), playing the “Star Wars” edition of Risk, the popular war-based board game. Or try Star Wars Battleship, which includes vessels from The Force Awakens.

Dec. 16: Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens the day after tomorrow. Instead of pacing the house and climbing the walls, pick up a couple of Hasbro toy lightsabers and challenge the nearest half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerfherder to a backyard duel. Just be careful, as he or she may be armed with a blaster — as we all know, hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side.

Dec. 17: With costume on, ticket in hand and phasers set on fun (oops, wrong sci-fi franchise, plus some theaters won’t let you bring weapon props), get in line for what many believe will be the best “Star Wars:” movie yet. To stay entertained while you wait, play games on your smartphone or tablet, such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Star Wars: Uprising and Angry Birds Star Wars II.

Dec. 18: Behold! The wait is over, and the Awakening has begun! The Super Bowl of science-fiction films has finally arrived. Enjoy, and may the Force be with you!