Tag Archives: Hallmark Ornaments

Making Spirits Bright

Our family Christmas tree 2017

It’s been a full three days of decorating at my house!  Generally, I have my decorations up by the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but since we went to the beach I got a late start.  Normally I wouldn’t have been so anxious to get it all done by tonight, but I’m having my Fiesta board over for dinner on Thursday night and I want it to be just right!

Of course, instead of just doing what I did last year I decided a change was in order.  Don’t ask me why I do this to myself but I decided I wanted my front door and staircase to be silver and gold!  This meant buying a new green artificial wreath and finding just the right plastic gold and silver ornaments to use.  In the process, I also needed new lights for the swag over the door as well as the staircase.  Little bits of inspiration were hitting me all week as I pulled out items I haven’t used in a while.  I have a set of Southern Living at Home very heavy silver glass ornaments from way back.  I used to simply put them in a large vase in my bookcase but this year they’ve taken on a new look hanging from rhinestone ribbon and evenly spaced out on my staircase!  I actually found three extra of these ornaments at the thrift store a few months back so it must have been meant to be!  I’m loving the look…and the sparkle!

My front door wreath turned out pretty nice too, if I do say so myself!  This despite THREE finger burns with the hot glue gun!  Yikes!  I don’t know what was wrong with me today but that hot glue kept wanting to stick to ME rather than the ornaments!  I had two sizes of ornaments and decided it needed some smaller ones to fill in the gap so I headed to the Dollar Store for those.  I used the leftover plastic ornaments to make bundles of silver and gold to use on the outdoor swag and one I hung in the entryway.

Tonight, we decorated the family Christmas tree…me, my husband and my daughter, Emily.  It was a little bittersweet for me.  Generally, the last act of decorating for us is on Sunday night and all the kids make a point to be home to help out.  We take bets on how many of my Hallmark ornaments Eddie will break.  None this year…YAY!!!  We added just a few new Hallmark ornaments to my huge collection this year so they are safe until next year!  I always try to add the most ornaments to the tree after the rest of the family gives up.  All that is except for my son-in-law, Ryan!  He always sticks with me to pack the tree full!  Still…it was nice to spend time talking with my sweet Emily and watching Eddie look for gaps in the tree so we could fill them with ornaments.  We listened to Christmas music on Pandora and sang along.   Our annual family photo in front of the tree will have to wait until everyone is together over the holidays.  I look forward to that…

 

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Deck the Halls!

Zuniga-Odom Christmas Tree 2016

Zuniga-Odom Christmas Tree 2016

It’s officially Christmas at our house!  While everyone else was shopping on Black Friday, I was at home getting all our Christmas decorations out and up around the house.  It doesn’t take as long as it used to since I organized my decorations by room and labeled everything.  It took a little time one year after Christmas but it was so worth it!

On Friday, my husband did his part and put our pre-lit tree together. Later that day I added some large white star lights to it and got it ready for the family to decorate it together today.  We’ve had a full house this weekend and it has been so nice.

Our 2016 Hallmark ornaments to add to our growing collection.

Our 2016 Hallmark ornaments to add to our growing collection.

So after a late lunch of left-over taco soup, I put on some Christmas music and we got started.  As I mentioned in my Hallmark Obsession post a few days ago, I add to my Hallmark ornament collection every year.  I always put the new ornaments out on the dining room table for the kids to see and then they race to add their favorite to the tree.  Then the singing and the storytelling begins as everyone sifts through the two large storage containers full of Hallmark ornaments dating back to 1973.  At some point someone – usually my husband – remarks that the tree is getting full and there is no more room.  I am always determined to prove him wrong and keep adding in little nooks and crannies.  I’ll also rearrange a section to add a larger ornament to a limb where a smaller one is taking up too much space.  My kids swear I rearrange most of the tree when they are gone but that’s not true.  Instead, I walk around the tree to see which ornaments they have selected to adorn the tree that particular year.  We have so many that I love to see what strikes them as special.  My son-in-law, Ryan, is a real trooper and hangs in there with me to keep adding ornaments when the others have given up!  This year he broke one of the ornaments – which is really not a big deal – and I said “that’s why we have super glue!”  He said “now I really feel like part of the family!”  Usually, my husband, Eddie is the one who breaks something!  Everyone had a good laugh about that…

Our ginormous collection of Hallmark ornaments in these two huge storage containers.  I used to put them back into their individual boxes for many years but it got too tedious so I just keep the boxes in the attic now.

Our ginormous collection of Hallmark ornaments in these two huge storage containers. I used to put them back into their individual boxes for many years but it got too tedious so I just keep the boxes in the attic now.

After the tree is complete, I unveil the family ornament.  Each year since 1989, when my son was born, I have bought a handmade ornament with our names and the year on it.  I never really thought about what a tradition this was until I had collected about 10 years worth.  When we got Lucy, our pup, I added her to the ornament.  Now we have added my son-in-law, Ryan and their pup, Lucia.  So my challenge has been to find an ornament with space for 8 people on it.  I like to select it myself and make it a surprise for everyone each year.  I’m so glad I accidentally fell into this family tradition and love looking at the different designs from over the years.

The 2016 Odom family ornament!

The 2016 Odom family ornament!

Finally, we take family photos in front of the completed tree.  I can always count on this being one time of the year when we are all together and can get these photos so I really do cherish them.  Kind of like first day of school photos…I always knew I would get those too!

Admiring our tree this year...

Admiring our tree this year…

Soon after the photos were taken, all the kids scattered and went to their respective homes.  The house is quiet again.  I stopped briefly to enjoy a glass of wine and watch the tree against a background of Christmas music.

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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!