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!
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…
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…
Monarch butterfly ornaments I made for my HICA board of directors a few years ago.
A few years ago, I made monarch butterfly ornaments. I was the outgoing Board Chair of the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, better known as HICA and I wanted to give a small token of my appreciation to my fellow board members.
I was in Michaels looking for some Christmas craft items when I spotted packages of monarch butterflies down one of the aisles. I’ve always been drawn to these butterflies. As an active board member of HICA for many years, I knew that they had become a symbol of the immigrant rights movement. They were very seen at all the marches and events organized during the battle to overturn the HB 56 immigration bill our state passed. I learned this was because of the migratory pattern these beautiful butterflies take from Mexico to Canada and through the United States and then back to Michoacán, Mexico. There is so much more symbolism that goes along with all this but suffice it to say, there are a number of parallels between the immigrant movement and the migratory patterns of these beautiful beings. Something or someone trying to make a life away from their native country…Mexico…that’s all I needed to understand the beauty in all this.
So, that day at Michaels I added a few packages of the butterflies to my basket along with some clear glass ornaments. I wasn’t sure how, but I knew I was going to add these butterflies to the glass ornaments and decorate them for my board. It was really very easy and the end product was beautiful. Folding the butterflies up to insert them into the glass ornament was reminiscent of the butterfly coming out of the chrysalis. I added black and orange polka dot ribbon to the top of each ornament when I was finished.
I intended to make them only for my board, but I had so many that I left them for the staff as well. Everyone seemed to appreciate the sentiment and for me the symbolism is why I did it in the first place. My hope was that everyone who took one would consider it a symbol of what we were working for at HICA…the social, civic and economic integration of immigrants into our community.
I kept several myself and I use them on my Mexican Christmas tree, added to the Mexican tin ornaments and other icons from my Mexican culture.
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…
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…