SPOILER ALERT: This article contains major spoilers for the new movie, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”
PAGE SIX – Carrie Fisher’s generosity knew no bounds — which is why, her brother, Todd, told The Post, “She never liked the idea that Christmas was just for a short period of time. In her mind, everybody should be giving gifts 24/7. That way we can shop all the time without any guilt. Shopping therapy was actually one of the best things for Carrie. It wasn’t so good for the bills later, but it was almost calming and soothing to her.”
Every year, the actress would buy Todd “a really great jacket. It started back when she first had her own money, right after ‘Star Wars.’ I have a closet full of memories … She gave me unbelievable gifts.”
Todd had already purchased a Christmas present for Carrie when the actress boarded a flight from London to Los Angeles on Dec. 23, 2016, planning to celebrate with her family. But Carrie, 60, suffered a heart attack on the plane, went into a coma and died four days later.
“She collected paintings of ugly children,” he explained, noting his sibling’s dark sense of humor. “I happened to stumble on a very high-end oil painting of a very unattractive child. It was waiting for her, but she never got off the plane. So that painting now hangs on a wall, with the rest of her paintings.”
Christmas isn’t the same for the Fisher family now. One day after Carrie passed away, her mother, screen legend Debbie Reynolds, had a stroke and died at age 84. Her last words were, “I want to be with Carrie,” Todd revealed in his 2018 book “My Girls.”
Now, Todd and his wife, Catherine, are readying the family compound in Las Vegas to celebrate the holidays without the two women he was so close to.
“I have my mother’s Christmas tree up year-round in my house in Las Vegas,” he says, of the tradition that “Singin’ in the Rain” star Reynolds started decades ago. “Carrie’s tree is still up year-round in her house.”
Although the two actresses have been gone for three years now, this year is especially poignant with the release of the new film “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” Carrie, of course, earned her own fame with the movie franchise, beginning back in 1977 when her character, Princess Leia, became a pop-culture icon. The latest film, which hit theaters Friday, wraps up the entire “Star Wars” series. Carrie appears in it via previously filmed footage.
Todd, 61, attended the Los Angeles premiere earlier this month and admits he got emotional watching his sibling’s scenes — especially because Leia dies in the film.
“I cried,” he added. “Carrie is the heart and soul of the storyline.”
He also remembers his sister’s scenes from 2017’s ”Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” where Leia is comatose for part of the movie.
“They shot those scenes of her in a coma before she was ever in a coma,” Todd marveled. “So then I found myself, [remembering] her in a coma in real life. And in that case, life had imitated art.”
Carrie’s daughter, 27-year-old Billie Lourd, has reprised her role as Lt. Connix from 2015’s “The Force Awakens” — in which she sported Princess Leia-style side buns. Four years ago, Billie walked the red carpet alongside her mom for the premiere of that movie.
This year, however, Billie was absent from the LA premiere of “The Rise of Skywalker.” One day before, she posted a poignant shot on Instagram of her and her mom hugging on the red carpet back in 2015. But for the past several weeks, the young actress has been traveling in Southeast Asia.
Asked why Billie didn’t attend, Todd speculates that “It was difficult to sit there and watch [my] sister die again. [Billie] didn’t want to go through that. I think it’s important that she does what’s best for her. What good is it for her to come here and fall apart in a crowd of people? Why would you subject yourself to that?”
(A representative for Billie declined to comment.)
Todd said that he has actually found solace through the “Star Wars” films.
“A lot of people asked me when they died, ‘How do you deal with it?’” he recalled. ”Part of it is the faith that we all shared, my mother, my sister and I — the idea that we shall meet again, and they’re not far from you. They’re just in a different space or a different dimension. There are a lot of words you can attach to [that]. The word ‘force,’ for example, is [‘Star Wars’ creator] George Lucas’s choice word, but you could interchange the word ‘faith.’ I find a lot of that comforting, frankly.”
He won’t see his niece at Christmas, as Billie — who Todd said is refurbishing her mother’s Beverly Hills home — is spending the holidays with her father Bryan Lourd, a Hollywood agent.
“Bryan is her rock,” Todd added of Billie’s father.
Todd and his wife have plans for a party at home and to carry on the family traditions, including a particularly relatable meal.
“We always ordered honey baked ham. My mother started us all on that,” he said. Debbie “couldn’t bake cookies — but she would hire a chef to bake cookies,” Todd added, while Carrie “found it therapeutic to make banana fritters and souffles.” This year, he’ll follow in his sister’s footsteps using her beloved mixer.
And, Todd said, Carrie left him one last gift.
A few days ago, he was going through one of Debbie’s desk drawers, looking for memorabilia to include in a pop-up museum of Carrie’s “Star Wars” items at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
“Everything Debbie cared the most about, in terms of personal letters, was in there. I’ve been through that drawer, several times,” he said. But this time, he came across something “I’d never seen before in my life.”
Mixed in among the papers was a dedication page ripped from a book by the English writer Adrian Tinniswood. It had Carrie’s distinctive handwriting on both sides.
“I know Carrie’s writing inside and out,” Todd said. “It’s unmistakable.
“Either it was something Carrie wrote long ago because she was doing a story on death, or it just materialized from beyond. She was writing as if she was dead and what it was like.”
He read it out loud for The Post: “‘I am dead. How are you? I’ll see you soon … I would call and tell you what this is like, but there is no reception up here.’ Then it says, ‘Cut. New scene, new setup, new heavenly location. I have finally got the part that I have been rehearsing for all my life. God gave me the part. This is the end of the road I have been touring on all my life.’”
“It just blew my mind,” Todd said. “I thought, ‘Wow, why am I finding this right now?’ ”