Posts Tagged ‘Hallmark’

April 4, 2013

Hallmark 2013

It’s that time of year again! Hallmark has released its dreambook sneak peek to its keepsake ornament club (KOC) members. Over the past couple of days and weeks the information is slowly starting to leak out online, which means I’ve been ogling ornaments again.

I will absolutely be getting this year’s A Visit from Santa and Cookie Cutter Christmas. Seriously, how cute is Cookie Cutter Christmas? Last year’s was nice too, but this one I think really shows the series potential. They have a special KOC event Tropical Version which I also love, but afraid it’s going to be too rich for my blood. It’s a KOC event ornament which means it’s only available to KOC members, and only on a specific date, and only at specific stores. The only way I’d be able to get it is on ebay, and probably will be too rich for my blood. There was a similar ornament 2011 Sweet Snowmouse that goes for over $100! Yikes! Another KOC event ornament I’m pining over (although a little less so) is Baking Bears Club. Adorable.

I’m definitely going to get One Sweet Gingerbread Boy (I love the gumdrop ornaments!).

The rest of the ornaments I’ve seen so far we’ll be passing on. This year’s Season’s Treatings is as disappointing as last years. I feel like the series has taken a cartoonish direction that’s just not my style. I’m starting to consider selling my 2011 one. The only reason I bought it was because I thought there was a chance I’d want the full series. I’ll also be passing on this year’s Snowball and Tuxedo, it has a cute concept but I don’t think it executed well on the idea. It’s not clear that the Tuxedo is whispering in Snowball’s ear.

I’m also skipping on Playful Penguins. It’s cute and all, but I don’t like the metal spring. I’m really picky on those sort of things. If an ornament doesn’t hang right, or has a too visible hook, I pass.

It’s an unusual year for me. Normally there are some ornaments that I make a mental note to try and snag at an after Christmas sale. Or at least some ornaments that I wait to see what they look like in the store. Not this year. I either love it, or hate it.

When I was looking for this year’s ornaments I stumbled upon some secondary market stores and realized past years ornaments are right now 10-40% cheaper then the typical going rate! I confirmed this on e-bay and bought 2005 Arctic Adventures for $22 shipped. Normally you see it for ~ $35 + shipping. Note to future self, buy past year’s ornaments in March/April.

July 28, 2012

Christmas in July

Hello my name is Sarah and I’m addicted to ornaments.

We weren’t able to make the Hallmark Ornament Premier this year. In fact until today I’ve only left the house twice since Nicki arrived, and that was only for quick errands (under thirty minutes)! My parents are still in town, and offered to watch Nicole while Domingo and I ran out to the store. After we resupplied diapers and wipes, I checked in with my mom. Everyone was doing fine. So we decided to swing by Hallmark and do some fun shopping.

I purchased Cookie Cutter Christmas and Postal Penguins. I felt pretty confident I would not be able to get either one in an after Christmas sale, and they were both so darn cute. Postal Penguins was one I was considering waiting on, but it ended up being nicer than it was in the dream book.

I considered Making Mother-Daughter Memories, since I have Merry Kitchen Magic and King of the Grill aprons, but I don’t like it nearly as much. I think for this one I’ll hold off on for an after Christmas sale. If it’s still available, cool. If not, I won’t be disappointed. I’m also considering A visit from Santa. I do like the ornament, and I like the series, but I don’t feel very attached to any one ornament from the series. I’m perfectly happy with a subset of the series, and not the full series and was able to find the 2010 and 2011 ornaments in an after Christmas sale. I’m sure they will continue to make nice ones that I will be just as happy with if I don’t get this one. I’m definitely not getting the 2012 Season’s Treatings, even in an after Christmas sale. I didn’t like it at all.

I’m still thinking about the The Merry Is in the Making and Baby Makes Three, but there not available until October. I’m not sold on either. Whether I get them will really depend on how they look in person. Of course, I will be getting Deer-ly Loved Cookie. I love the gumdrops!

So it looks like I will wrap up this hallmark season with 3 full priced ornaments, and 2 to 4 half priced ornaments. I got to use my rewards points, so that saved me $3. (I would have saved $5 if I had gone to the premier, but I was having too much fun cooing at my baby girl!)

I’m still on the hunt for a good “Baby’s first Christmas” ornament. I previously thought I’d get the American Greetings 2012 Baby’s first Christmas. Well scratch that, it’s so not my style. Which leaves me with a bit of a dilemma – what should I do for Nikki’s first Christmas? The hunt is on!

While I was searching for the Baby’s first ornament I found the American Greetings “New Home” ornament dated the year we moved in to our first house together. It matches our “First Christmas Together” bride and groom bear, so I promptly purchased it. Nearly half a decade after the fact. Why? Because I’m addicted to ornaments!

April 28, 2012

2012 Hallmark Plan

The dream book is now out, and we’re looking at the 2012 collection of ornaments. There are at least two I think we’ll get right away.

The first is the gumdrop ornament, Deer-ly Loved Cookie. I was able to get the 2010 Beary Cool Treat at an after Christmas sale, and it’s still available on ebay for under $10, but the other two (Goody Goody Gumdrops and Sweet Li’l Snowman) go for $20 and $30 respectively. Like the later two, I suspect Deer-ly Loved Cookie will sell out before Christmas, unless Halmark has a large supply of them. Since it’s only $8 retail, and I’d really like to have a collection of different colored gumdrops, I think it’s not worth the potential savings to wait.

We’ll also be getting the Cookie Cutter Christmas. In a lot of ways it reminds me of the first Season’s Treatings. It’s adorable, appeals to my inner baker, and feels very Christmas-y. It also doesn’t have a date printed on the ornament itself, which I really like! I doubt it will be as popular at the 2009 Season’s Treatings, but I would wager a guess it will sell out before the holiday.

Speaking of Season’s Treatings, I am totally disappointed in this year’s ornament. It’s a shame because I so loved the 2009 ornament. The others in the series just haven’t been living up to the series potential. Each year I’ve liked them less and less, and I’m pretty sure this is the year I’ll pass. The internet seems to agree with me. If you search ebay, you’ll see each successive year Season’s Treating is selling for less than the previous year’s. The 2009 is still very popular and will likely cost you at least $80, and the asking price for the 2010 ornament is higher than the original list price, but the 2011 one is at a breakeven point. If you factor in shipping you’ll spend as much for the 2011 ornament on ebay as you would have had you bought it in the store. Domingo does like the 2012 ornament better than the 2011 one (but really doesn’t have much of a preference), and it’s always possible the picture doesn’t do the ornament justice, so maybe I’ll change my mind between now and Christmas. But I doubt it. At this point, I wish I had saved my money and not purchased the 2011 Season Treatings.

There is also a handful of ornaments I’m considering for after-Christmas sales. Some of those include ornaments I would consider paying full price for, but suspect there is a good chance they will still be around post holiday. Others are ornaments I am luke warm on, and would only pay a marked down price. All of the ones I’ll be waiting for are ornaments I wouldn’t be disappointed if they never make it to the tree with the exception on one: Baby’s First Christmas.

Yes, as adorable as the rocking horse is, $20 is a lot for one ornament. Especially for one that doesn’t really match our tree. The porcelain is almost too nice. I feel like a horrible mom for not wanting to spend that much on Zippy’s first Christmas tree ornament. We’ll find her a first Christmas ornament. Our grocery store tends to have American Greeting ornaments, which is where we got out “just married” ornament. The past two years the “Baby’s first Christmas” ornaments have been cute, so I will get one of those most likely.

Initially, when we started purchasing Hallmark ornaments we used ornament hooks. Hooks are convenient, but can scratch the ornament. While I don’t intend for my ornaments to remain “collectables”, I do want them to stay nice. They will get scratched from use, but we can reduce the exposure to scratches. So every year we remove the hooks before packing up our ornaments back in their boxes.

Between the eBay, Amazon and in store purchases of Hallmark ornaments, our collection has finally grown to a non-trivial number of ornaments. It was time to replace the standard hook with something that could be more permanent, ribbon.

2008 Grillin and Chillin and 2009 Snow Much Fun to Cook

I wanted a color that would disappear from view, and not detract from the ornaments, a “Go Away Green.” For those of you who aren’t Disney fans, “Go Away Green” is the dull green color term for the color they pain the trash cans, fences and other things they don’t want to emphasize in their parks. The color helps the objects blend into the background and go unnoticed. We wanted something similar with our ribbon.

Green hooks are also a dull green, designed to blend in with the tree. I took a hook to JoAnns and found a matching thin green ribbon for our ornaments, and spent the afternoon adding ribbon to each. and. every. ornament. It took forever, but it’s done and now I will only have to add ribbons to new ornaments. I was a little worried about clashing, but the greens used on the ornaments are designed to complement the ever green color, which matches the ribbon pretty closely.

I singed the ends of the ribbons so they wouldn’t fray. Singing the ends also makes it less likely that the knot will unravel, since the edge is now a bit firmer and can’t slip through the knot. After all, a scratch from a hook is far better than a break from a fall!

August 13, 2011

Hallmark on a Budget

I’m totally in a Christmas mood lately. It doesn’t help that the weather has dropped 20 degrees, or that I’ve been getting advertisements this past month for a “Black Friday in July” and two early Christmas decorations sales (also, coincidentally starting in July). I am so ready for the hot coco and fuzzy socks! One of the summer Christmas activities is the release of the hallmark ornaments. They usually have quite a few adorable ones.

Of course, my favorite time to buy ornaments is the after Christmas sale at Hallmark stores. 50%-66% off and no shipping costs? Count me in! We got our tree topper last year for 50% off that way. I tend to visit the store periodically to ensure there’s enough stock of the ornaments I’m interested in that I will be able to get them in an after Christmas sale. If it starts to become hard to find, I’ll strike early, but only when I’m confident it won’t be available afterwards. Waiting for the after Christmas store is common, so I recommend shopping no later than a day or two after Christmas. We also visit multiple Hallmark stores to get the most selection. What’s popular at one store may not have been so popular at another. Usually the “after Christmas sales” will be after Christmas, but some of the non gold crown stores will discount their ornaments a day or two before Christmas. Traditionally, I have the best luck at these stores. I always have “new” holiday decorations that I purchased in after holiday sales. Sure they’ve been sitting in storage for a year, but their still “new” to us.

Ebay and Amazon are a great place for older ornaments. The selection is better on Ebay, but you can occasionally find better discounts on amazon. (I imaginary some of the sellers on amazon may not be collectors and not aware that buyers might be willing to pay more.) I’ve found major scores, adorable snow men and sleighs for 50-90% off the original list price, but the cost of shipping can bring the total price back the in-store price at Hallmark. If you buy a couple from the same store, you can get a discount on shipping. I will occasional buy from one seller who lists the ornament for slightly more in order to get a discount on the shipping. After all, it doesn’t matter how much of the bill goes to the seller and how much to the post office, it’s all money out of my pocket.

Series ornaments can also be expensive, especially if (like me) you feel compelled to complete the set. I bought the 2009 first in series Seasons’s Treatings ornaments, because it was too adorable not to. I’m hoping they’ll do cinnamon rolls like Grandma used to make. Nothing is says Christmas like cinnamon rolls. The 2010 and 2011 ornaments are not really my style, but all the ornaments in the series have a date on them in plain view. If I only purchase a couple Season’s Treatings, the missing date will bug me. I didn’t want to run the risk of ornament being unavaliable in an after Christmas store, so I bought it in store rather than wait for the after Christmas sale “just in case”. Not the most frugal things to do, especially given that I don’t really like them. If an ornament from the series doesn’t have a date in plain view, I feel free to get only the ornaments I like and no one will be the wiser. I prefer dateless ornaments for this reason. It’s like I’m creating my own series by picking and choosing which ones I buy.

2006 Merry Kitchen Magic & 2007 King of the Grill.

There are lots of singleton ornaments that appear like they belong together in a set – especially his and hers type ornaments like Merry Kitchen Magic and King of the Grill. You’ll generally have to purchase them from a reseller, since they typically come out in different years. It also feels somewhat more unique to create your own set, since they weren’t marketed that way. Other possibilities for creating your own set – Snow Much Fun to Cook & Grillin and Chillin, Cookie Doe and Good Grillings Deer Can you tell I’m a baker and my husband is a griller? There are others for different hobbies, you just have to search.

Popular/rare ornaments are expensive, especially mint still in the box, but you can sometimes find good deals on slightly used ornaments. Why pay for Mint In Box (MIB) if you’re going to put them on your tree? Over the years of use, you will scuff the ornament yourself. If you’re not a “collector”, or like me, not a serious collector, even the box becomes optional. After all, the idea is to decorate my tree, not to have a pretty collection of boxes. If an ornament is typically $20 or more for MIB on ebay, you can usually get 10%-30% off for like new. I’m always weary of the MIB label anyway. The last MIB I ordered had an ornament hook attached to it which had scratched the ornament.

I’m totally going to be the mother who buys the “Babies First Christmas” in an after Christmas sale one day. Here’s hoping my future kids forgive me.

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