letting go with lego

For a Friday afternoon: a relaxing activity to let the mind drift and wander while playing with a children’s toy.


This is 30474: Reindeer, a Lego set from its seasonal line. Other collectibles from this range include 30197: Snowman, 30186: Christmas Tree and 30286: Christmas Tree. How festive.

The Creator range is “a theme which focuses on the creative construction […] as opposed to playability functions of minifigures as in most other themes”, according to Brickipedia, an unofficial but vast resource on Lego.

“Creator?” I snort. “What a grand title to give to a 6-12 year old!” It’s exactly here that I quietly begin announcing “I AM THE CREATOR” in the style of a WWE wrestler throughout this entire activity.

Shaking the bag, what sounds like the dried eggshells of a thousand broken eggs clatter. There are seventy-seven pieces in this set. I wonder how long it would take to accidentally swallow seventy-seven pieces of Lego if I were an unsupervised child.

Probably not long.

The product codes on Lego toys bother the heck out of me. When a child demands of their weary parents exactly what toys they want for Christmas, they aren’t chattering out a series of numbers while frothing at the mouth, like a lottery numbers announcer on cocaine.

There’s an eerie future where we’ve finally allowed robots to reproduce and a robot child pens a letter to Santa in perfect cursive:

“Dear Santa, I have been very good this year. I have completed all directives in a timely and efficient manner. Please can I have Lego items 34453, 45886 and 95832. Thank you and Merry Christmas from 01100010 01101001 01101100 01101100 01111001 00100000 Billy.”

Onward to the build.

The IKEA-style instructions are simple pictures with helpful red arrows signalling where stuff clicks onto other stuff. There are only 21 steps to a complete reindeer. Some steps are even steps within steps! Step-ception. This is the zen moment I’m looking for. The time to let the busy mental rush fall away to the gentle sounds of plastic clicking.

Not exactly. Sometimes it’s easy to pry apart a block with a carefully aimed flick. However, where I’ve gone very, very wrong, I’m pulling apart bits with my teeth (ooh, don’t swallow!) as the form snaps so securely together, the parts may as well have been glued on.

There’s some semblance of a body, I guess?

Assembling this newborn reindeer piece by quickly dropped piece, I am drawn to give this 30474: Reindeer a name. (I AM… THE CREATOR!) Without a name, how will it know its place in the world? It is not a number, it is a free reindeer! I look to the two most prominent deer from everyone’s childhood – this is gonna be either “Rudolph” or “Bambi”.

I stare deep into the plastic pile. Rudolph, it – no, he is. I don’t yet earn enough money to fend off Disney’s lawyers.

A few more clicks and I’ve reached the halfway point.

Rudolph the Headless Reindeer

Do not panic, friends. Steps 12 through to 19 will sort ol’ Rudolph out with a head. All of the other reindeer may laugh at him for having a red nose but without a head, they are laughing at a festering corpse. The sick bastards.

With a depleting Lego pile of assorted pieces, I noticed that Rudolph might actually end up with three eyes. This third eye would offer a greater degree of vision. A genetic advantage or another reason for workplace bullying?

This could be Lego’s subtle homage to Prince (RIP)

Turns out, Lego includes extra pieces just in case your clumsy hands let a piece slip and it’s irretrievably lost between the floorboards.

One fresh head.

This would look good in your Lego log cabin, directly over the brick fireplace.

Snap the head into place and there we have it – Rudolph the Ordinary Nosed Reindeer. He’s bedecked with golden bells and exactly two (2) presents for all the kids in the world.


He can do sick break-dancing moves.


He can ev- oh no!

Where’s the nearest reindeer hospital?

And I worked out what those extra bricks are for.

Naughty Rudolph

30474: Reindeer – Rudolph to you and I – took me about an hour to assemble and that’s with dropping every brick at least twice so a somewhat chill activity.

Even though I am way beyond Lego’s suggested age range, I was tempted to swallow every single piece.

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