Hallmark Ornament Premiere
Today is Saturday July 12 and that can mean only one thing, it is the Hallmark Holiday Ornament Premiere. Does the Hallmark Corporation have any idea how strange that sounds? Here we are in the middle of summer. The backyard grill still has the remnants from the Independence Day BBQ and we’re still trying to decide if we can get away with one more night of setting off fireworks before the cops come over and confiscate our remaining bottle rockets. In the midst of all that we are supposed to get in the mood to select ornaments for a Christmas Tree that will remain stored in the garage for another 5 months. I was ballistic when I went in Wal-Mart the other day and saw them starting to prepare aisles for Halloween costumes now I am being asked to decide what decorations I want to see on my tree. That just seems really messed up. I’d love to be able to blow off the premiere but I’ve been down that path before and it is not good. The saddest part is that I have no one to blame for this but myself.
It all started 29 years ago. I had a new girlfriend and I was trying to impress her. Christmas was coming and I decided I would get her a really cool gift. I went out and found a Christmas stocking and began filling it. The problem was that the stocking I chose was about 4 feet tall. It wasn’t like I could put a couple of things in it and call it quits. No I was going to need some serious gifts that took up a lot of room. I gave her a really cool blanket, a jacket, some games, a bracelet, a small camera, some clothes. The stocking was getting quite full but there was just something missing. I stopped by the local Hallmark store to pick up a nice Christmas card to go with the gift. While I was there I noticed that they had a series of ornaments. They had two in particular that caught my eye. The first was an Eskimo on a piece of ice, the other was a ball with the Peanuts characters inside. Since my new girlfriend was a huge Peanuts fan I chose that ornament and put it in the stocking. The gift was a big hit and solidified our relationship (no I wasn’t buying her off, I just loved her that much). For the next couple of Christmas gifts I included the next ornament in her Peanuts series to continue what I had started that first year. That girlfriend would ultimately become my wife. We have now been married 27 years and each Christmas I have bought her a Hallmark ornament. When we got married we began a series for me as well. As we had a child we would add an ornament series for them too. When our daughter Ashley got married we added an ornament for Eli. What started out as a simple idea has blossomed into a huge deal where the family gathers around and selects their ornament for this year. Our house is filled with tiny boxes of Hallmark ornaments that chronicle each Christmas we have spent together. The saddest part of all of this is that the Peanuts ornament series I started lasted just a few short years. The other series that I passed up was called Frosty Friends and is still going on to this day. The first ornament that I could have had for less than $10 is now valued at several hundred dollars. I am such an ornament idiot.
Typically the Hallmark Ornament Premiere is a big deal at our house. We will go out early in the morning when the stores first open to pick up our ornaments. We have become regulars at several of the stores. In fact I have one Hallmark store that calls me personally to remind me of the Premiere. I am not so much interested in the ornaments but several of these stores have awesome food and treats. I always look forward to the breakfast burritos and mini fudge brownies. Many of the Hallmark stores also have drawings or giveaways. Through the years we have been fairly lucking having won something from one of the stores each year. This year we are not in Arizona for the Premiere. Instead we are vacationing in Idaho. This is completely new territory. I went into the store fully expecting to see the festive decorations I have become accustomed to at home. Instead the Idaho store was very low key offering iced tea and a mini cupcake. Where are the breakfast burritos, the fresh fruit bars, the wondrous chocolates and mints? Where are the drawings and the free giveaways? It was like a veritable ghost town in the store. Where are the crowds of insane Hallmark collections rushing the shelves to find the latest in limited edition ornaments? I had to keep checking my watch to see if I was on the right date. Yes, it is Premiere Weekend. This was so anti-climatic. I never thought I would be disappointed about a Christmas ornament sale in July.