Tag Archives: Hallmark

It’s a Wonderful Life!

The 50th anniversary commemorative book on Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life.

I’m in the midst of decorating my house for Christmas and I have worked hard to get everything organized by room.  Several years ago, I took a week in January and sorted and labeled all my decorations to make it easier each year.

The largest box in my collection is the one that holds my “It’s a Wonderful Life” village.  This Frank Capra movie is one of my all time favorites and when I found the  village at Walgreens many years ago, I was so excited.  In fact, I was a little late to the village collection party it would seem.  There had been several buildings already out in previous years from what I gathered.  They were made by Enesco.  I started my search and eventually accumulated 7 of the buildings from Bedford Falls including, Gowers Drug Store, The Bijoux theatre, Ma Bailey’s home, Bedford Falls Trust and Savings Bank, the high school, the church and of course, the Sycamore House.

I also managed to find Ernie Bishop’s yellow cab.  Other IAWF items are in ornament form including Martini’s bar.  I also found the Mark Twain book that Clarence was reading, the Bedford Falls sign, and the movie poster in porcelain.  Two unique ornaments are the televisions I discovered displaying a scene from the movie – one with George Bailey and Mary Hatch singing Buffalo Gals and the other when George is running through town in the snow after he wishes to be alive again.  Centering all of these ornaments on greenery I put over my bakers rack display is a Hallmark ornament with Mary, George and Zuzu representing the iconic scene when the famous words are spoken by Zuzu – “every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings!”  The ornament also has a little bell on the bottom.

I’ve looked for additional pieces over the years and some are pretty sky-high online!  I also discovered that Target had an IAWF village too but I never saw that one in the stores.  I would love to add a few more items I’ve seen to my village but right now I love the way the display looks every year on my kitchen bakers rack.

Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he? – Clarence Oddbody

Last scene in It’s a Wonderful Life movie…

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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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…