As I’ve mentioned here before I collect Christmas ornaments as souvenirs. I think they are the perfect souvenir because they don’t take up a ton of room, they’re useful, and when I pull them out every year I get remember all the great trips I’ve taken. In general they’re also pretty easy to find and keychains will work as a stand-in in a pinch. These are the ornaments I added to my collection in 2019.
- Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – I picked this ornament up when I went to Cleveland for a conference this past spring. The conference reception was at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which I of course loved. I actually wound up buying this ornament in the airport because the line in the museum gift shop was out of control. It would have taken me at least an hour. I didn’t want an ornament that bad. Luckily the airport provided and I managed to get one, though not the one I had picked out in the museum gift shop.
- Hogwarts’ Express – I got this ornament during our trip to Orlando this past February. Obviously it came from inside Harry Potter World in Universal Studios.
- The Greek Theatre – I had to substitute a key chain for an actual ornament for The Greek. They had a little kiosk that sold The Greek merchandise where I bought this. There was actually a Christmas ornament listed on their price list, but there wasn’t one on the shelf so they keychain sufficed. I tried to pretty it up a little with a gold bow.
- 2019 Mickey and Minnie – This one as you may have guessed came from the same trip to Orlando where I got the Hogwarts ornament. This one I got in Disney World. Way back when we got married our friends bought us a Just Married ornament from Disney World that broke when our tree fell over a few years ago. Not surprisingly they no longer have that same ornament a decade later, and I didn’t want to replace it with a different wedding ornament. So I bought this one instead. I thought it fit my new souvenir ornament rule in that if possible I will only buy something non-breakable because see above story about the tree falling over and broken ornaments. I was obviously wrong about this ornament being something that wouldn’t break easily because I must have not hung it on a sturdy enough branch for its weight and it fell down the first night and their arms where they’re holding hands broke off. I managed to super glue them back on, but I also managed to superglue myself to a paper towel and also get super glue on my great-great grandmother’s ring. I’m hoping if I take it to a professional jeweler to clean they can get it off. At least if they can’t most of it is on the inside of the ring where you can’t see it.
- The St. Louis Arch – I bought this one when we went to St. Louis for my cousin’s wedding party in October.
- Maryland – The Maryland shaped ornament was one of my anniversary gifts for this year. It’s cut out of stainless steel and steel is the 11th anniversary gift.
When I was a kid my parents always added an ornament to our Christmas tree for each year. Sometimes it was a home made ornament, sometimes it was from a trip, or sometimes it was for an event like the Red Sox winning the World Series for the first time in forever. I assume they still do it, but I’m not there to put up the tree anymore so I don’t know.
I liked that idea, so I started doing it myself when I got married. For the most part aside from the very first one which is a first Christmas together ornament, all the rest are ornaments from trips. I find that ornaments are great souvenirs as well since I’ll actually get use out of them again and every year when I put the tree up I get to remember all the fun places I’ve been.
This past year it seems like we didn’t travel as much at least not to places outside of our normal goings like to Arizona, New York, and Rhode Island to visit family. We did go to California together, but because that was a trip to visit my husband’s parents and me going to a conference in San Francisco where we also stayed with friends it really didn’t cross my mind to pick up an ornament while we were there.
The one trip we did go on was to South Carolina. We took a beach trip to Isle of Palms, which is outside of Charleston. I did pick up an ornament at a Christmas shop in Charleston. If possible I try to get something hand made locally and not just something made in China. I found this little grass ornament made there, but it’s obviously not something that either had the year already on it or something I could add the year too. Good luck in ten years remembering that was my 2015 ornament without the year written on it.
While we were in Isle of Palms I managed to collect a ton of sand dollars. I found more sand dollars on that trip than I have in the rest of 37 years on this planet. I decided in order to have an ornament with the year on it I could make one of them into a Christmas ornament. Our trip was in May, but I finally just finished making it last night.
Most if it was procrastination. Obviously I had many months to work on this before December hit, but I didn’t and then there were a lot of steps that involved doing a little bit of something and then not being able to proceed until the next day so it took about a week.
First I had to bleach it. I never did get it as white as I wanted, but I also didn’t want it to disintegrate into dust, which I heard can happen if it is bleached too long. Then I had to wait for it to dry. Then I used a glue water mixture to harden it. That took two days because I had to do one side each day and let it dry in between. Ditto for the glitter glue I painted it with. Then finally I was able to put the writing on it. Then I waited a day and glued a hook on the back. Then finally this morning I tied the ribbon on it and hung it on the tree. None of the steps took that long themselves, there was just a lot of waiting involved. Now it can hang on my tree for the three days before I take it down.
The past few years I have done a 25 Days of Christmas thing where I’ve counted down my favorite Christmas songs and Christmas movies. I’m not entirely sure what my theme would have been for this year if I had time, but I did not. With Thanksgiving so late this year we are only around for 2 weekends before Christmas and there just didn’t seem to be enough time to get things done let alone dedicate time to make sure there was a blog post to put up every day. Of course spending the first 4 weekdays of December in jury duty and then coming home to do work that I couldn’t do during the day because of said jury duty also limited my ability to think about Christmasy things. Maybe if I had started way ahead and drafted up a bunch of stuff in November I could have done it, but I didn’t so here we are.
I didn’t want Christmas cheer to be totally absent from my blog this year though, so I present to you the best Christmas commercial ever made. I am sure you will agree it’s the Hershey Kiss ringing bell ad. I just looked it up and apparently the ad has been around each Christmas since 1989. I can’t think of a single other commercial that has essentially remained unaltered and returned every year. There’s some other Christmas ads that stick around a few years or get remakes of some sort like the Folgers one that many people think is creepy though I don’t. This ad is perfect though. It’s simple. It completely evokes the season, and it is made such that it can be the timeless classic that it has become. As long as Hershey’s doesn’t change what a Hershey’s Kiss looks like there is no reason this ad can’t run forever. There are no crazy fashions or things that will begin to look outdated. It’s perfect. So kudos to the ad execs that came up with this one. You done good.
Ok, so it seems kind of cliche to end my countdown to Christmas featuring my favorite Christmas movies with It’s a Wonderful Life, but it really is my favorite Christmas movie. I remember the first time I saw it I was in fifth grade and they showed it to us at school on one of the days before Christmas break when you don’t wind up doing much of anything actually school related. I can’t say that I liked it then. Ew, boring black and white film. Yuck. Give me a break I was only 10 years old. As I got older and watched the movie again (and again and again) since once upon a time before NBC was annoyingly able to claim sort of rights over the film you were able to find the movie playing on tv almost any time of day any day of the week during December, I developed a great love for it. Don’t we all wish we could now the things we’ve done to touch others lives? For some reason one of my favorite scenes is towards the beginning of the film when George and Mary are walking home from the dance and singing Buffalo Gals. Unfortunately I couldn’t find that scene on YouTube so I went for the old standby ending, which is wonderful too. It still makes me tear up every time I see it. Merry Christmas everyone!
Ok, so I’m cheating a little with this one. I actually think of When Harry Met Sally as more of a New Year’s movie than I do a Christmas movie because of the final scene. There is a little bit of Christmas stuff in it, but honestly I don’t associate it with Christmas that much. Since the holidays are only a week apart I’m still counting it as part of the Christmas season. Plus it’s my blog so I can do whatever I want.
When Harry Met Sally is still one of my favorite romantic comedies. The first time I ever watched it I was totally not supposed to. We had a copy on VHS when I was growing up but because it was rated R my sister and I weren’t allowed to watch it. At some point after my sister and I were old enough to stay home without a babysitter we watched it when my parents went out and left us home alone. Sneaky kids.
Meet Me in St. Louis isn’t much of a Christmas movie either, but it will always be one of the best Christmas movies to me because it gave rise to my favorite Christmas song, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. The original version of the song as sung by Judy Garland in the movie contains the original and much better lyrical phrase “until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow” instead of the far inferior replacement lyric that doesn’t convey near the amount of import “hang a shining star upon the highest bough.”
A Very Brady Christmas is horribly cheesy as pretty much all things Brady are, but I absolutely love this movie. The other year I recorded it on our DVR and then never had time to actually watch it during December. I think I wound up watching it in February or something because even though I’ve seen it a dozen times I couldn’t stand to delete it without watching it yet one more time.
Again Steel Magnolias is not a Christmas movie per se, but there are some prominent Christmas scenes particularly at the beginning of the movie that make it somewhat of a Christmas movie in my mind. I unfortunately couldn’t find the clip I was looking for online, so I’m just embedding the trailer for the movie instead.
The Harry Potter franchise has almost nothing to do with Christmas though there are a few magical Christmas scenes in it. Those combined with the fact that the many of the movies often came out during the holiday season around Thanksgiving and Christmas and are now rerun on tv during Christmastime make them seem like Christmas movies to me. This is especially true of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone which features some of the most prominent Christmas scenes in the films and is still more lighthearted than the darker films later in the series.
The Sound of Music may seem like an odd choice for a favorite Christmas movie given that it has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas. The movie is certainly only a Christmas movie by association only. I tend to think of it as a Christmas movie for two reasons. First, it often gets shown on television around Christmastime probably because it’s a good family movie. Second, for some reason My Favorite Things seems to have been co-opted as a Christmas song for some reason. I often hear it mixed in along with other Christmas songs on the radio.