Posts Tagged ‘Hallmark’

The dream book is out, and there’s not a single ornament I’m pinning over. Not. A. One.

Snowball and Tuxedo? Not Christmas-y enough. Seasons treating? Meh, this chocolate lover isn’t impressed. Not a creature was storing? Don’t quiet get the match thing. The clock is ok, I guess. Mary’s bears? Kris’ Penguins? Cooks cutter Christmas? Not into them. I’m not even a fan of this year’s Baby’s first Christmas. I will purchase that one mostly out of obligation, much like I did with Alexis’.

There are a couple ornaments that I’ll likely look for after the holiday. I like cozy critters blue jay since we have so many here. That’s so sweet snowman and sweet sled are the types of ornaments I typically go for on sale. I like them, but I’d be just as happy for next years version. No sense paying full price if I don’t have to.

At least this year I’ll be able to go to an after Christmas sale. I never made it last year.

Since I won’t be hallmarking, I am hoping to find the time for designing my own. I’ve been meaning to update our new home ornament. The initial design had a flaw which affected the print job, but that aside I still wasn’t too happy with it. The snow on top didn’t really come across as snow and the key had to be very thick to print in in sandstone. I am thinking of trying again in a clear acrylic hoping it will look like ice.

July 17, 2017

A Bust of a Premiere

Between Nicole’s birthday, and the new baby I’ve been pretty distracted. I haven’t really been thinking about shopping or Christmas, which explains why the Hallmark Ornament Premier skipped my mind this past weekend.

Since I had some time available this morning I went to our local hallmark store. It wasn’t until I was standing in front of a shelf at ornaments unable to spot a single ornament I was interested in that I realized I wasn’t even sure which ornaments were supposed to be available in July, and which were coming out in October. Fortunately, I had my previous blog post which could serve as a list. Most of the ornaments I wanted were coming out in October, not July. Serves me right for not being prepared.

Cookies for Santa, should have been available now, but there wasn’t a single one at the hallmark store. Not even on display They couldn’t be sold out already, could they? I asked, apparently it was a shipping mishap. They hadn’t received any of the Cookies for Santa ornament, and suggested I try back in a week. Instead I drove to our next closest Hallmark store.

The second hallmark store was a little further away, but not a Hallmark Gold Store, which meant they sometimes bent the rules and sold members only ornaments without memberships. They had Cookies for Santa, and Father Christmas’ Reindeer which was huge, much larger than I anticipated and way to big for our tree. Despite liking the ornament I had to pass. They also had inside story for individual sale, which wasn’t as mustard yellow as I was expecting, but still too yellow for my tastes.

I wasn’t initially planning on getting Sweet Lil Santa, but at this point I had been to two Hallmark stores and only had one ornament to show for it. At least it was inexpensive and would match my other gumdrop ornaments.

Despite my initial excitement the July premiere ended up being a bit of a bust. The ornaments I was on the fence about initially, I remained on the fence with. Some of the ornaments I initially loved, didn’t work out. Nothing new struck my fancy. Hopefully the October premiere will meet expectations better.

April 11, 2017

Hallmark 2017

For the first time in three? four? years I’m really excited about Hallmark’s yearly collection of keepsake ornaments. There are a lot of great ones, and not just of the traditional style ornaments I tend to like. If you’ve ever wanted a collection of just Disney, or even just Disney princesses, or just star wars ornaments, this would be a good year to do it.

It’s early yet, and most merchant websites don’t have product pages set up yet. I’ll do my best to link to the item I’m talking about, but that won’t be possible for all of them. If you’re interested, you’ll have to scroll through the dreambook to find the ornaments I’m talking about.

The ornament I’m most excited about it Father Christmas’ Reindeer. It’s similar to last year’s tabletop of the same name and a limited release. I love the old fashioned Santa’s and reindeer. The dream book lists it for $20. Since it’s a limited release I will likely purchase it at full price.

This years’ Snowball and Tuxedo, Cookies for Santa is next on my list. I love the way they incorporated baking, one of my favorite holiday activities. Normally I wait for the after Christmas sale on this series, but I suspect it may not be around if I wait and I’d be sad to miss out on it.

Next are the mini ornaments. I like Petite Penguins and A Creature was Stirring (the one with a mouse reading a book). Guessing I will get those at full price as well.

Penguin Express, the unofficial Kris’ Penguin’s series ornament, is on my list, but likely as an after Christmas sale. It’s adorable, but I’m not very excited about trains in general. I’d like to have it on my tree, but I won’t be heart broken if it’s not.

Welcoming Wreath, and Beary Festive (Mary’s Bears Series) are also in this category. I’m more inclined to spend the time to hunt down Welcoming Wreath and Beary Festive than Penguin Express at an after Christmas sale. I like them, I’d like to have them on my tree, but they’re also generic and I’m sure they’ll be another one in the series that I like just as much should I miss out on them.

I’m underwhelmed with this years Season’s Treatings (Cherry pie) and Cookie Cutter Christmas. A good deal, or a plea from Domingo could entice me.

The only ornament I’m really disappointed with is Inside Story. I became aware of the three ornament series when I saw a black and white sketch of this year’s version. I thought I would love it. Since it’s only three ornament series I decided to go ahead and try and collect them all. Normally I only collect the ornaments of a series I like, but a three ornament series doesn’t have much wiggle room I purchased the 2016 version at a slightly higher price than I would have normally done off ebay fearing a price increase. That yellow color of the 2017 ornament? Cannot stand it. Would not put it on my tree if it was free. That will teach me to purchase early. I feel like I wasted my money.

At least my overall love of Hallmark has been rekindled.

Edited to add better links

June 4, 2016

Not So Savvy Shopper

Evidence that Sarah is not always as good a shopper as she thinks she is:

Christmas for me isn’t confined to December. I usually purchase new Christmas Ornaments year round. As of a month ago I had purchased four new ornaments. The smart thing to do would have been opening up those nondescript brown shipping packing boxes as they arrived and inspected the contents. In my experience “mint in box” and “never opened”, usually mean “used – like new” with the occasional “used – very good”. Rarely it’s “used – ok.” Once an ornament arrived with a break that could only have been during use, not shipment. Yes, opening the boxes would have been the smart thing. Life was busy. Some of the deals I was getting were very good – good enough to be worth it, even when the ornament in question’s condition wasn’t quite perfect. Good enough to not be worth the hassle of the return. So I let the boxes accumulate in the corner.

Today I sat down to open those boxes and discovered this.


It turns out I purchased Cozy on Ice once off ebay in February, and another time off Amazon in May. (Yes, that also means I had a package for 4 months before finally getting around to open it.) Oops. Neither purchase was an exceptionally good deal. I paid $13 and $15 including tax and shipping respectively. You can get it off of ebay right now for under $10, although the $13 price is more typical. While I generally don’t mind have a back up ornament, I prefer to only get a back duplicate if it’s a couple of dollars. An extra $15 probably won’t break the bank, but it’s still annoying. At least I really love the ornament.

Can’t Wait to Skate was ok. The pom-pom on his hat looked to be partially torn off. I can probably fix it, but I’m also debating about removing it entirely. It was a fine purchase at $5. I didn’t like Making Mom & Daughter’s Memories as much in person as I did online, especially after discovering this year’s version which I like much better.

Not my finest shopping moments. Oh well. Perhaps I should refrain from online shopping for a little while.

May 7, 2016

Hallmark 2016 Plan

Where did the time go? It’s already May! Time to think about Christmas ornaments.

All kidding aside, I think I forgot about Hallmark this year partially because I haven’t been enjoying collecting the keepsakes as much the past couple of years. I didn’t set foot in a hallmark store last year. Penguin Tales was the only ornament I wanted at the premiere, and I could purchase it off Amazon for the same price. I did get Cozy on Ice and Can’t Wait to Skate on eBay in an after Christmas sale. I spent too much time on eBay and purchased Making Mom & Daughter Memories which I don’t remember seeing in last year’s dreambook.

My current 2016 plan:

A Tasty Treat – That’s a big old yes. I was so disappointing Hallmark stopped the unofficial gumdrop series last year. They may have been mini ornaments, but they were my favorite. (Miniature prices didn’t hurt either!) This new series could fill the void. It has that same cuteness + sweetness combination. I’m a sucker for designs based on sugar.

That’s a Wrap – It’s cute, but I’m on the fence. My gut reaction was to want it, but I’m worried I’m letting the fact that I already own many of the other pieces in the series influence my decision. I don’t think I would purchase it if it was a stand alone ornament. My concern is that it looks less detailed than most of the other ornaments. Usually when the photo looks less detailed the ornament disappoints in person. I’ll have to wait to make the final decision.

Cookie Cutter Christmas – I’m going to pass on this one. I’m not a fan of the mitten shape. I think I’ll even pass if I see it in an after Christmas sale.

Playground Pals – I normally collect the penguins, and it’s a cute concept, but I think I will pass. If I didn’t know that was supposed to be a marry-go-round from the description I’m not sure I would have guessed it.

Comfy and Cozy – It’s adorable, but what’s with Mary Hamilton’s Bears series price tag? I bulked at the nearly $20 price tag last year, then snagged it for $5 shipped on Ebay back in February. I’ll wait for this one as well. I hope I can get it cheaply too. Then again, finding ornaments from a series cheaply on eBay is not a good sign for the series’ longevity.

That’s 1 yes, 2 no‘s, 1 most likely pass and 1 only if I can get it in an after Christmas sale. Not a lot of reason to go to the store, is there?

There’s another ornament I want! I somehow missed the 2016 Baking Mom & Daughter Memories, which I like way more than the 2015 Making Mom & Daughter Memories. The 2016 Season’s Treatings is finally a Cinnamon Rolls theme. Cinnamon Rolls have special significance to me, but I’m on the fence about the design.

April 13, 2015

Non Hallmark Ornaments

It’s another light hallmark year for me. I wasn’t expecting much. My dreambook arrived, and, well, I don’t see much I liked. I may not be making many purchases this year. Mary’s Bears is cute, but not $19 cute. No way, not to me anyway. Normally I’d shoot for an after Christmas sale, but that seems unrealistic given how hectic things are these days.

Penguin Tales I like, so that’ll probably be my one and only ornament this year. I’m really disappointing there’s no gum drop ornament this year. Those were becoming my favorite.

I’m on the hunt for a “new home” ornament (because we will be moving this year if it kills us.) I loved our 2008 ornament. I’m not a huge fan of this year’s though. All those gems just seemed a little over the top, and this is coming from a girl who does like a touch of sparkle. Perhaps this is another year for a custom made ornament.

One thing I’m strongly considering is purchasing the 2010 Baby’s First Christmas from American Greeting. I didn’t have a baby back then, but I love the little bear on the carousel unicorn. Apparently there were a few years where American Greeting made little bear ornaments: bears sitting on ‘new home’ keys, bears at the wedding cake. The bears went out of fashion and the replacements just weren’t my style. (I really have old fashioned tastes, what can I say?).

I’m drawn to the 2010 ornament. I wish they made one with the 2012 and 2014 dates. I’m thinking about scanning it into the computer to create a 3D printed replica for each Girl with the proper date. The ethical question associated with 3D printing has me hesitating. Surely if the ornaments were still in production it would be wrong to buy one and make copies. Then again, I’d love to be able to back up my ornaments the way I back up my electronic files.

February 9, 2015

Head Start on Hallmarking

The Hallmark ornament season seems to get earlier and earlier every year, doesn’t it? This time around I blame insomnia after a middle of the night child waking. While I was up at 4 am last night I noticed the keepsake ornament club offer is available, which got me curious as to what new ornaments have already been revealed for this year.

I’m not too terribly excited about this year.

Between Digital Dreambook and Hooked on Hallmark, I’ve already seen most of the ornaments I’m interested. This year they’re all just ‘ok’, none I hate, none I love. I might get Cookie Cutter Christmas in an after Christmas sale. I’ll probably skip Snowball and Tuxedo this year (a tree on a tree is a bit too meta for me, unless it’s an ice tree.) Seaons’s treatings will either be another after Christmas sale purchase, or skipped all together depending on how it looks in person. Of the series I tend to collect, that just leaves the miniature gumdrop ornament. Could this be the year I buy one ornament? Or None?

I will also be skipping the membership this year. I didn’t like any of the three ornaments you pay for with your membership dues. I do like Cozy on Ice. Mrs Claus’ Kitchen is ok, although I prefer Mrs Claus’ Cupboard, which way in excessive of anything I’m willing to pay. Both the ice skate and the sink they’re extras available only to members, meaning I’d have to pay for them on top of the membership. Too rich for my blood.

In terms of new series, I’m intrigued by Mary’s Bears. The bear ice skating is totally cute. The fact that it’s not dated is another big plus, as it means I can collect only the bears I want, and it won’t be obvious that I’m missing some. (This was the stratagy I used for Visit From Santa Series. Loved the Bear, Doe and Squirrel, but the Fox and Dove ornaments were lacking in the details department.)

Since I wasn’t seeing much that I liked, I decided to splurge on the One Sweet Gingerbread repaint. I love the gumdrops, and wanted to have a white gumdrop as well. I’ve also been price watching Baby’s First Christmas 2014, so I can have a spare.

Domingo and I are considering getting two trees this year (assuming we move into a big enough house as planned.) I’ve always found trees with colored lights warm and friendly, but there’s something so elegant about trees with classic white twinkle lights. We’re thinking of having our usual tree with the colored lights and fun ornaments by the fireplace, and a smaller/thinner tree with just white ornaments and lights as decoration piece in the dinning room.

I do so love Christmas time.

October 4, 2014

Disenchanted with Hallmark

I’ve been a bit disappointing with Hallmark as of late. In the beginning of the year there was the issue with my keepsake ornament club (KOC) membership not being activated for over a month after I signed up (and I still have not received my reward points by the way…). The less forgivable issue, however, is the quality of the ornaments.

The one ornament I am happy with

I purchased 5 including the two from joining the KOC, 2 from the July premiere and 1 from the October premiere. Exactly one came in pristine condition – Santa’s grandfather clock. The paint job is misaligned on the sprinkles of Mice Cream Sundae, and one of the tails looks like it may fall off. Both Present Packing Penguins and Baby’s first Christmas have small but noticeable scratches. And Happy Little Elf’s gundrop is missing sprinkles on the front.

Domingo thinks I’m being too picky, that you get what you pay for. Maybe, maybe, I agree with Happy Little Elf which is only a $8 ornament. Baby’s First Christmas and Present Packing Penguins are $20 and $18, respectively! When I was picking up Happy Little Elf today the cashier asked if I had inspected the ornament yet. Um no. It seemed wrong to take it out of the box before paying for it. It is a collectible after all, or at least is marketed as such. Don’t collectibles lose value as soon as their removed from the packaging? Apparently the store accepts no refunds or substitutions even if the ornament is sold broken!

The frustrating thing about this is that it’s the first year I’ve ever had issue with the quality of the ornaments. In the past five years I’ve only had two issues with ornaments, neither of which was Hallmark’s fault. I purchased Snow Fort Fun off of ebay which came with a scratch becaused by an ornament hook that was still attached to it. (So much for mint-in-box.) I also purchased Santa’s Magic Sleigh from amazon which came broken in two. It too was reported as new, never been open, but the break was clearly the kind of break that would happen if someone pulled the ornament off the tree by grabbing the sleigh, not something that could happen naturally.

So now I’m disenchanted with Hallmark. The initially driver behind my desire to collect ornaments was to have a tree with personality – one that reflected both Domingo and I. We now have more ornaments than tree. So maybe next year I start looking at other brands. Maybe (hopefully?) this year was just a fluke.

April 7, 2014

Hallmark 2014 Plan

Last year I made my Hallmark ornament shopping plan on April 4th. This year, I paid to join the Keepsake ornament Club (KOC), which was supposed to come with early access to the dreambook. I signed up on March 5th. Today was the first morning my KOC account worked – 1 month and 2 days after I handed over my credit card information. Not a happy customer am I.

It looks like Hallmark launched a whole new website for club members today. I know from my multiple conversations with customer support that their websites are designed as independent silos, with separate databases. (Every time I called they said the website administrator just needed to “enter my number into the website” for it to work. Keep in mind, the KOC number was automatically generated – by the website – when I signed up. Apparently the website that takes your credit card, and the one with the member’s only section are not the same.) Presumably tech support knew they were switching over websites and didn’t feel the need to put my KOC number into the old website’s database. That’s my theory at least. Regardless, for the first time I have access to the dreambook.

High on my list is Present-Packing Penguins. The Unofficial Kris Penguin series has been a favorite of mine. Present-packing penguins has two of the pengins in a sleigh delivering a present to the third penguin. I just wish the price tag wasn’t so high. $17.95 for a single ornament? Yipes! That’s a 20% increase from last year’s Penguin ornament, Playful Penguins.

I was on the fence with Happy Little Elf gumdrop, this year’s miniature gumdrop ornament. It’s a red gumdrop, and I already have Goody Goody Gumdrop which I liked better. I was thinking of trying to snag this one in an after Christmas sale, but Domingo swayed me. He likes the little elf holding a peppermint, and it’s his tree too.

We’ll probably get Baby’s First Christmas. I wish it was more in the style of the rocking horse, but at least it’s not like some of the other Baby’s First Christmas that are totally not our style. It’s not a 100% porcelain like the rocking horse. The stocking trim is fabric. I’m not sure how much I will like it in person.

We’ll be either passing, or waiting for after Christmas sales for most of the rest of them.

I’ve been collecting the Snowball and Tuxedo series, a series featuring a polar bear and penguin friend. For this year’s I think I’m going to wait for an after Christmas sale. It’s a cute idea; snowball is cheering as Tuxedo makes a snow angle. In the head on photo in the dream book you can’t tell Tuxedo is making a snow angle. He’s laying flat on his back. Snowball is looking down at him with his paws in the air. A polar bear, paws extended, staring down at a penguin flat on the ground? Maybe the 3D version will be more appealing, but the 2D photo reminds me of “when polar bears attack”. I had a similar visceral reaction to the 2007 Here’s the Scoop ornament. Tuxedo is lying on the shovel that Snowball was using. It’s supposed to representing playing around in the snow, but I can’t help but think it makes Tuxedo look like a jerk.

Cookie Cuter Christmas is another cute idea that I think could have been executed better. The mouse is in a bell shaped cookie cutter singing Christmas Carols. I don’t feel particularly compelled to get it. I loved last years, and since the series doesn’t have a date I only want to spend money on the ornaments I love. Or at half price. I love half price!

March 5, 2014

Early Hallmarking

It’s March 5th. You know what that means? I’m thinking about Christmas! Or at least Hallmark ornaments. ‘Tis the time of cheap ornaments from past years on secondary markets (ebay, amazon, etc). In another month or so the dreambook will be out, and the time when news of this year’s collections begin to leak.

For the first time ever I joined the keepsake ornament club (KOC). It’s a $25 membership (~$31 with tax and shipping), and you can get 2 of 3 ornaments for ‘free’ in the cost of the membership. The other perks, like sneak peaks, aren’t really worth it to me since the news always leaks online in a few days. Normally I don’t like the ‘free’ ornaments, or I like only one of the three, so I don’t have much incentive to join.

This year I saw a promo with the special KOC only ornaments. That Mice Cream Sundae? In the words of Nicole: an emphatic “WANT!” followed by a frantic “PWESE!”. The grandfather clock is sure to be a Domingo favorite. He loves the old fashioned Santa’s, sleighs, and yes, grandfather clocks. That makes two exclusive ornaments we wanted for effectively ~$15.50 each Typical prices for similar ornaments would be $13.95, or ~$15.20 including tax. Not too bad a deal if you ask me.

I started poking around the secondary markets as well. I found a spare Baby’s First Christmas 2012 – for just $6 on ebay! We decided to bid on it, as I like to have a spare of major milestone type ornaments. I realize I may be breaking one of the cardinal rules of eBay shopping by mentioning a good price auction before it closes, but, what the hey, I’ll live dangerously.

This year marks five years of collecting Hallmark ornaments. Five! I’m going to need a bigger Christmas tin. And a bigger tree!

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