Hallmark Ornament – Holiday Open House

Do you ever have an idea that at the time seems completely brilliant but then after taking a step back and analyzing the idea from a distance you wonder exactly what drug you had to be on to think of something as crazy as that? For me, that is a relatively normal occurrence. I am not implying that I am some sort of drug addict just that I have the brain of a drug addict.

When I began dating Trina, we were sophomores in high school. From the very first moment I dated her I knew there was something extremely special about this girl; something I wanted to spend an eternity to learn about. Ok, I should probably comment right here that marrying Trina was not the drug induced decision I was referring to above. To this day I still believe that was the best decision I have ever made; a fact that Trina constantly reminds me of every day.

1978 Jeff with StockingOur first Christmas after we began dating I had this brilliant idea that I would get this giant stocking and fill it with all the things that I thought she would love. On the surface that seemed like a great idea. Of course filling a four foot stocking is harder than I had first imagined.

I had big stuff like a quilt that I made her (don’t laugh; I can wield a pretty mean needle and thread. Ok, that’s not necessarily true but I have a mother who is a sewing genius and I have an ability to sweet talk people into helping me with weird and unusual plans). I also included a camera, some music cassettes, a cool baseball hat, and other assorted items. I needed just one more thing to make this stocking complete.

On my way to see Trina, I stopped by the local Hallmark store. They had a display of Christmas ornaments and I decided that would be perfect in the stocking. Trina was a big fan of the Peanuts so I bought an ornament with Snoopy.

The giant stocking was a big hit and Trina and I continued to date throughout high school. Each Christmas I would buy her another Hallmark ornament to add to her collection. After college we were married. Trina thought it would be a good idea to begin a Hallmark ornament collection for me too doubling my Hallmark purchases.

When each of our children was born we added an ornament series for them. Obviously we were not alone in this tradition as the number of available Hallmark ornaments proliferated. With five children I suddenly found myself buying seven ornaments every year.

Soon Trina’s parents wanted ornaments each year so we added two more to our total. When our oldest daughter Ashley was married we thought we would stop her series letting her continue the tradition herself if she wanted. Instead she talked us into buying an ornament not only for her but for her husband Eli. I was now up to ten ornaments each year.

Before long there were other series that just seemed natural like Harley-Davidson motorcycles, cars, or baseball figures. Hallmark didn’t help either. They began to have Ornament Premiere events each July to have us start to buy ornaments earlier and earlier each year.

Then there would be the fall ornament open house in October where they would introduce even more ornaments. Now they have a Holiday Open House the first weekend in November with yet another set of special ornaments.

I now find that I have boxes and boxes of ornaments that each signify an event or date in our lives. I have a 9 ½ foot Christmas tree that is filled with Hallmark ornaments each year. It literally takes us days to put the ornaments on the tree.

What started out as a simple idea with one Snoopy diorama Christmas ball has morphed into an explosion of ornaments. There are days that I think maybe Trina is right; maybe I do need my head examined.


  1. congerjan says:

    My husband had a simple solution. One year he knocked over the tree. When several of our most precious Hallmark moments smashed so did our obsession! Good luck!

  2. Hallmark Ornament Collector says:

    Oh, but they are so much more than ornaments. They commemorate special events and hold so many special memories! After you are long gone, your children and grandchildren will carry on the tradition of collecting ornaments and remember you with love each time they decorate or admire their Christmas tree.


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