Category Archives: Hallmark

Dang it, Hallmark!

Some of my Hallmark 2020 Christmas ornament collection.

As I get ready to decorate my Christmas tree this coming weekend, I’m getting my decorations lined up including all my new Hallmark ornaments.  Back in 2016, I posted about my love of these Christmas ornaments and that I’ve been a collector since they were first introduced in the early 1970s.  My collection continues to grow even though this year I thought I could trim it back a bit.  That is, until the 2020 Hallmark Wish Book came out and… dang it, Hallmark!!!

I remember I spent an entire afternoon looking over the wish book online and making my list.  At first, I thought I would just add to the collections I already had, like Puppy Love or Mary’s Angels but yeah, that didn’t happen.  I ended up adding a total of 16 ornaments to my wish list that day plus adding a few to a reserve list.  What I’ve always discovered is that you have to see these ornaments in person sometimes because photos don’t do them justice.  So, when I picked my ornaments up at the Hallmark Premiere in July, I fell in love with several more.  (Uh-oh)

A couple of my additions this year, had to so with some events that happened (or didn’t) in 2020.  The birth of our first granddaughter means I got to buy several Baby’s First Christmas ornaments.  Sometimes its hard to pick just one so I went for two.  Then again, there’s a third one I have my eye on so hold me back!  I also found a beautiful Eiffel Tower ornament and a Compass that’s inscribed “Life’s Next Journey is the Scenic Route.”  This was to commemorate our cancelled Paris/France trip and also the fact that Eddie and I are now retired and ready to hit the road and travel. 

Hallmark is great at keeping up with movies and tv shows that we all love and creating ornaments.  I added another National Lampoon Christmas Vacation ornament – Clark with the chainsaw.  Little did I know how appropriate this one would be with my husband having a run in with a chainsaw last month!  There’s also another Elf ornament and new this year is the couch from the Friends tv show.  I can’t wait for more of those!  They also premiered a Golden Girls Rose Nylund ornament.  I’ve been getting back into that show lately on Hallmark channel so this was timely. 

But wait!  There’s more!  (Dang it again, Hallmark!) Like I said, I went back by my local Hallmark store for another holiday event and ended up buying a few of those ornaments on my reserve list.  I’ve done a lot of birdwatching and photographing this year so the Bluebird ornament along with the Bird Ornaments in the Box were a must have.  And the Star Wars Wookie with Princess Leia ornament, well, that one just made me smile and cry at the same time. 

My collection has grown so large that it may be time to divide everything up and share with my children.  I mean, that has always been my intent with these ornaments.  I want my children to create their own special memories with these Hallmark ornaments from their childhood and especially with the ones that bring them the most joy. 

Dreaming of Christmas

I should be planning our Thanksgiving dinner right now but all I can do is think about Christmas.  It doesn’t help that several houses in my neighborhood already have their Christmas lights and trees up.  One even left their pumpkins outside mixed into the Christmas decor!  I mean, do we call that Christgiving?  Or Thanksmas? 

My Christmas dreaming started earlier than normal this year.  Some of that has to do with the fact that this will be my baby grands first Christmas and I’m picturing all the photos I want to take of her already.  But these days, I also think we are all looking for something to bring a glimmer of hope into our lives with the current pandemic.  When the local radio station started their Christmas music rotation at the beginning of November, I tuned in.  Usually I hold off until after Thanksgiving but there were a few days in early November where I just needed to hear those songs while driving in my car and I also needed to sing along.

A few of the Hallmark items I’ve already bought for Christmas 2020!

Then there’s my love of Hallmark.  I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…I blame my mother for this!  When we lived in Westmont, Illinois, she started to work at a little Hallmark shop called Sentiments and Sweets.  That was my introduction to Hallmark.  I remember getting off the school bus from high school near her shop to walk to my afternoon part-time job at the nearby White Hen Pantry convenience store.  I would always stop by so she knew I had gotten off the bus.  Then I would reach around the front counter display of Fannie May candies, and grab a chocolate mint meltaway before heading to my job. That little shop was always so cute and I loved going there to visit my mother and see the displays she had created, especially at Christmas.

It also doesn’t help that I’m constantly drawn to the Hallmark channel and their non-stop Christmas movies.  We all know the storyline of those movies, right?  Woman goes from the big city back to her little home town for some family emergency, bumps into the guy she used to love, they reconnect in an unusual way – like they have to save Christmas or something, they drink tons of hot cocoa, have a snowball fight and THEN…there’s THE misunderstanding.  And 6 minutes before the end of the movie, it all gets resolved and they live happily ever after.  We know all the formula and yet we still watch. 

 

The perfect book for someone hooked on Hallmark!

Hallmark’s Home and Family show is also high on my list of guilty pleasures making me think about Christmas.  I find myself taking photos of the tv screen to remember décor or crafts I want to try, or a recipe I want to make.  Then yesterday I found their Countdown to Christmas book at Target and naturally, I had to buy it!  My Sunday afternoon plans are to start reading that book on my deck.  I should probably make some hot cocoa in keeping with the Hallmark theme, shouldn’t I?

Meanwhile, our Thanksgiving this year will be small and social distanced…just me, my hubby, my son and daughter (who live here) and my mother.  We will have the traditional foods as always, just not as much.  Although my mother has already informed me that I should make enough for left-overs!  Of course, I will comply with her request because Thanksgiving leftovers are my favorite too!  Then on the Friday after Thanksgiving, I will begin my Christmas decorating while I will watch Hallmark Christmas movies, listen to Christmas music and sing along. 

My Hallmark Obsession

My collection of Hallmark Mary's Angels ornaments.

My collection of Hallmark Mary’s Angels ornaments.

I blame my mother…  She worked at a Hallmark shop when I was in high school in the 70s and got our family started on Hallmark ornaments.  I still have the original yarn ornaments that used to hang on our tree!  Years later, mom managed Hallmark stores and so access to these cute and sometimes whimsical ornaments grew.  The ornaments started to change too.  Aside from Snoopy and others, they became more elaborate and even expanded to current movie characters.  The number of ornaments offered each year also grew.  In fact, July became the month when Hallmark would unveil their Ornament Book and put up displays in their stores!

I’ve been collecting Hallmark ornaments for over 40 years now.  Our family tree is nothing but Hallmark and each year when we gather together to decorate the fun begins.  My kids will recall an ornament and a story behind that particular one.  They laugh and tease each other remembering something about when we bought that one or how special it was or silly.  The stories are endless and I love hearing them!  We joke about my husband and how he always manages to drop one or break one – thank goodness for super glue!  We have so many ornaments in our collection now that I would need two more trees to accommodate them all!  When my kids and my husband think we are finished, I’m keep adding more to the tree.  They give up, but I’m determined to pack it as full as I can!

The Mary's Angel tree that I have in my dining room every Christmas.  I think I'm going to need a bigger tree next year!

The Mary’s Angel tree that I have in my dining room every Christmas. I think I’m going to need a bigger tree next year!

I have several favorites on the tree each year, but probably my all time favorite series is Mary Hamilton’s – Mary’s Angels.  A few years back I decided to put these angel ornaments on a separate tree in my dining room.  They are small and delicate looking angel children and they are adorable.  This year is the 29th year for the Mary’s Angel series.  The angels are all named for flowers and their outfits are based on the floral color.  This year’s angel is called Zinnia and her design pays homage to vintage china dolls.  Robert Chad is the Hallmark artist responsible for bringing all of Mary’s Angels to life.  They are incredible works of art in my opinion and I love that they have a special place in my dining room each year.

Zinnia - 29th in the Mary's Angels series...

Zinnia – 29th in the Mary’s Angels series…

I think I have almost all 29 of the angels in the series.  Last year they issued a special “Magic” ornament.  These are the ones that have sound and/or light.  In this case, there are two angels holding lanterns that light up and the song that plays is “This Little Light of Mine.”

My home is all decorated for Christmas as I write this.  The only thing left to do is to gather the family on Sunday and add the Hallmark ornaments to the tree and share stories.  I am looking forward to that…

 

Christmas Decorating and Hallmark Movies

My Mexican Christmas tree...before I started adding ornaments this year!

My Mexican Christmas tree…before I started adding ornaments this year!

The day after Thanksgiving is my day to get the Odom home into the Christmas spirit!  With Eddie’s help, we brought down all the boxes in the attic that I planned to use this year.

A few years ago, I took a bit of time after the new year and organized my Christmas boxes and labeled everything by room.  This makes it easy to get the decorating done and also pack everything back up after new yeas.  I also have quite a few boxes of things I’ve used over the years but I’m not ready to part with yet.  Who knows?  Maybe my kids will want to use some of these things at some point.  We shall see…

I always start in the family room with the mantle.  Luckily, Eddie was still hanging around and was able to help me with lights on the mantle greenery.  The pre-lit garland decided it was done but I’m liking the strand of lights I replaced it with because the light seem brighter and there are more of them.  After that, Eddie went off to work on his “to-do” list and I was left with Hallmark Christmas movies and the rest of the decorating.

The mantle is decorated and Hallmark Christmas movies are on the TV...

The mantle is decorated and Hallmark Christmas movies are on the TV…

It’s become another tradition for me to watch all those sappy Hallmark Christmas movies as I’m decorating.  Honestly…you can predict the outcome to every single one and yet I cry at the end of them all!  It’s just like the those Hallmark commercials…they get me every time!

The only thing I changed up a bit this year was my Mexican Christmas tree.  I’ve bought quite a few new items this year and so I decided to retire a few older items.  I added the grab bag ornaments I found thrifting recently.  I also added all the tin ornaments I bought in Austin, Texas recently.  I bought a few sugar skull items at Sojourns in Birmingham a few weeks ago…they went on the tree too.  A few older items are a must every year, especially the crosses and my Virgen de Guadalupe ornament.  Mexican Santa ornament and my Christopher Radko -Feliz Navidad ornament (a gift from a friend) are always on the tree.  It’s the one tree I generally decorate myself so I take my time and enjoy the process.

Sunday night we decorate the family tree with the entire family – and we only decorate with Hallmark ornaments.  I guess you could say Hallmark is in our blood!  Another tradition…

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A Quick Stop at the Thrift Store…

Grab bag of ornaments from New Mexico - plus one Hallmark ornament from the thrift store!

Grab bag of ornaments from New Mexico – plus one Hallmark ornament from the thrift store!

Just like the title of this post…every time I make a “quick” stop at a thrift store, I always come away with some fabulous finds!

My baby sister, Kanista, is to blame for my obsession with thrift store shopping.  She lives in North Carolina and has a Saturday routine of breakfast and then waiting at her favorite thrift store for the doors to open.  I went with her a few years ago and saw very quickly that she had a definite system for going through the racks of clothes and the shelves of tchotchkes.  We left that store with two large bags of great finds!  I was officially OBSESSED!

Back in Alabama, I developed my own “system” when stopping by certain thrift stores that I now frequent.  A few of my favorites include the Salvation Army stores – both in Hoover and on Green Springs highway, Lovelady Thrift and 55th Place in Woodlawn.  Alabama Thrift in Alabaster is another good one but I don’t get out there as often.

This past Saturday though, I decided to make the trip to Alabaster and see what I could find.  I was running errands in the area so I allotted about 30 minutes before I needed to get back to Hoover.  First I started through the knickknacks.  They had SO much Christmas stuff out already and Christmas music was blaring through the store.  Honestly, I was a little annoyed and not quite wanting to hear Christmas music yet.  I walked through the dishes and platters and low and behold, I found a Mexican pottery dish in green and bright yellow!  Beautiful!  And it was sectioned like a lazy susan.  I turned it over and the price was $3.99.  Score!

Mexican pottery piece found at Alabama Thrift store for $3.99!

Mexican pottery piece found at Alabama Thrift store for $3.99!

I next went through the clothes and found an Anne Klein pea-coat for $4.99 and an Eileen Fisher Italian yarn pink sweater for $4.99.  Not bad!  I was running out of time so I went through the knickknacks one more time and as I was rounding one of the aisles saw a bunch of “grab bag” Christmas items.  Now, these grab bags don’t generally get my attention.  Usually they are “like” items bunched together for a quick sale.  But one of the bags got my attention…

I saw a round clay ornament with the words – New Mexico – on it.  I picked up the bag and noticed several other clay ornaments – a kokopelli, a lizard, prairie dog, mission church and two tepees.  There was also a 1997 Hallmark ornament – a mouse in a Mexican sombrero!  Now, I have collected Hallmark ornaments since they first came out in the 1970s so this was right up my alley!  The price tag for all of these items… $2.99!!!  Cannot WAIT to add these to my Mexican Christmas tree this year!  They are going to be perfect!  (Stay tuned to a future post!)

Hallmark "Feliz Navidad" ornament from 1997 - part of the grab bag items.

Hallmark “Feliz Navidad” ornament from 1997 – part of the grab bag items.

So I walked away from Alabama Thrift with all these items just under $20!  I DO love a bargain!!!

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Recent Day of the Dead “Stuff” Purchases…and it’s only August!

IMG_6548It’s only August but I’ve already scored some cool Day of the Dead items!

I’m always on the lookout for interesting items to add to my growing Dia de los Muertos collection and I’ve found that when you least expect to find them…there they  are!

For the first item, I was in the Von Maur Department Store at the Galleria and noticed they had already put their Halloween items out.  I admit…I walked by thinking it’s the beginning of August and WAY too early for Halloween decorations to be out.  But then I rounded a corner and spotted the Lolita wine glasses.  In particular, the sugar skull Lolita wine glass  REALLY caught my eye!  Now, I have a soft spot for these quirky wine glasses.  They have different fun designs reflecting holidays and events and at the bottom they include a cute drink recipe.  A lot of Hallmark stores carry them, which is where I first learned about them but they ARE a bit pricey.  I’ve managed to find quite a few at thrift stores in the area for a $1-$2 vs. the retail prices of $25-$30!  Love it when that happens…  However, in this case I paid full retail price because had to have this wine glass!  I can’t wait to use it during my Day of the Dead celebration this year!

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Next, I was at the Karen’s Hallmark Store in Vestavia Hills two weeks ago buying cards and I stopped to check out the Hallmark Christmas ornaments.  I have an extensive collection of Christmas ornaments that date all the way back to 1973 when Hallmark first came out with their ornaments!  I was checking to see which ones I might buy this year when I spotted something unusual…a Day of the Dead Sugar Skull CAT ornament!  It wasn’t in the usual Christmas packaging but it was definitely an ornament and once again I decided I needed to have it.  In doing a little research online, I discovered that in addition to the Cat design, there is also a Sugar Skull ornament this year and there was one in 2014.  Why didn’t I see this last year?  Naturally, there are 2014 ornaments  available online but at double the price.  Well, that ain’t gonna happen…maybe I’ll get lucky and find one at the thrift store…

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This weekend I scored two items!  My husby and I are  helping our newly married daughter and her husband move to Atlanta this weekend and next.  After unloading a U-Haul and two SUVs, we headed to Bed, Bath and Beyond to pick up some storage/organizing items.  That’s where I spotted a Tervis 20 oz. water bottle with Sugar Skulls and flowers all over it!  I LOVE IT and quickly put it in our buggy!  I mean, everyone I know has a Tervis water bottles and now I’ve joined the ranks.  Of course, I think mine is the most awesome!

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Today, I was at the new Sprouts Farmers Market in Hoover picking up some fruits and veggies.  I was walking out with my purchases when I spotted a Sugar Skull bag by Blue Q on a turn-style at the entrance.  Well, I quickly put my items in the car and headed back into the store to check them out!  There were two bags and a small cosmetic type bag made of recycled materials among the items on the rack.  I decided on the Sugar Skull bag in blue with a zipper because the bottom of the bag was sturdier than the pink bag that I also liked.  Who knows…if I’m back in Sprouts next week I might break down and get pink one too!  They are just that cute!

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At this rate, and with another week left in August, I may luck up on a few more Day of the Dead items!  Whatever the case, I will definitely make use of them all beginning with the Tervis water bottle tomorrow on my way to work.  I also love that I found these items at places I never thought would carry DOD.  Go figure!

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One side of the Lolita glass has a male sugar skull face on it and the other side has a female face. LOVE these wine glasses!

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Each Lolita wine glass has a drink recipe on the bottom of the glass. This one looks interesting…!!!

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Even the base of the Lolita wine glasses are decorative!