The next Christmas collectible I would like to highlight is the perennial Hallmark Keepsake Ornament. As I started my look into the world of the keepsake ornament I realized this was not the kind porcelain world of Hummel. Keepsake ornaments are serious business for the masses. The annual ornaments are available at any official Hallmark retailer as well as on-line. So how did the madness begin?
Hallmark corporation started selling the keepsake ornaments in 1973. The initial collection was 6 different ball ornaments and 12 yard figures. Hallmark states on their corporate listing that there are 5 main reasons that people purchase ornaments. There are: 1) to commemorate a milestone; 2) to recall a special memory; 3) to represent a child or grandchild; 4) to pass on as an heirloom; and 5) to express individuality. Since that initial offering 39 years ago there have been over 3,000 different ornaments created and over 100 series of ornaments. The oldest series is “Frosty Friends” and has been going since 1980. There are ornaments for anyone and everyone. There are those for special milestones- baby’s first Christmas, new home, new marriage, etc. There are some for interests and hobbies- cooking, golfing, fishing, knitting, grilling- you name it. There are those for movies, sports teams, animated characters and animals. Some are interactive, moveable, include photos, have music, lights and more. Some even link to the “magic cord” that makes them interact in light and sound creating a special show. Each year sees new and different selections. 2011 had new ornaments featuring classics like Barbie, Spiderman, and Scooby Doo in addition to more unique ornaments like those for Kung Fu Panda 2, Harry Potter, and the Twilight series of movies. Collectors of all types will be drawn to the Hallmark Keepsake collection.
The ornaments are some serious business. There is a lot to keep track of to be a successful Hallmark collector. First you should join one of the 500+ Hallmark Keepsake Ornament Clubs in the US and Canada. There are 5 in Maryland alone. For your $30.95 club fee you will receive 2 free membership ornaments, the opportunity to buy club only ornaments, exclusive online member only information and deals, the official catalog know as the “Dream Book”, and your exclusive membership card. Get that membership card ready for the wide variety of special events at Hallmark stores from now ’til Christmas. All are open to the public. First up is Premiere weekend held July 14 & 15. There there is a Debut weekend held October 6 & 7 and Open House weekend held November 2-4. All of these events have coupons, limited quantity ornaments available, new series offerings, and weekend only special deals.
For 2012 there will be many great new changes and additions to the Keepsake line of products. Most won’t be revealed until after Premiere weekend. I know one HUGE new program is the new iPad application for the Dream Book coming later this year. The premiere weekend ornaments have been announced. The 9 ornaments feature Father Christmas, snow buddies, Mickey Mouse, kiddie cars, Rapunzel, Star Wars, Yosemite Sam, a Christmas pony, and a Winkie guard from the Wizard of Oz. Get yourself ready and start your own wish list. Check out the online Dream Book and mark your calendar to be there in July