Our Life As Seen Through Holiday Decorations (& Giveaway!)

Shortly after Thanksgiving, as soon as Aaron felt well enough after the flu, we pulled out the holiday decorations and set up the Christmas tree. I love that we always decorate the tree as a family, with everyone involved in dressing it up with garland and ornaments.

Our tree’s ornaments are an ever-evolving group, which started originally with ornaments from when I was younger. You could say it’s one big geek tree. My mom used to buy me a new ornament every year, usually a Star Trek or Star Wars ornament. I then added some Disney ornaments to it in my early 20’s.

The Next Gen Enterprise – one of my favorites from high school

Once Aaron joined the family, my mom picked up on his interests (comic books and superheroes) and went to Hallmark for a new superhero ornament every year. This was one of the first she gave him:

flying near the top of the tree, of course

There are plenty of other sentimental ornaments on the tree, too. There’s the Siamese cat that reminds me of our first Siamese. And the Irish dancer glass ornament from when I used to dance. This is one we bought at Walt Disney World when we were on our honeymoon, nearly ten years ago:

As soon as Cordy and Mira were old enough, we began taking them to Hallmark to pick out a new Keepsake ornament each year as well. It’s so much fun to open the box of tree decorations and see a visual history of our daughters’ interests by what they picked for their special ornaments at different ages.

This year, the store was full of possibilities. So many different ornaments that they liked, but our limit was one each. They walked back and forth considering the possibilities for nearly 15 minutes before making their choices.

So. many. choices!

For Mira, it was Rapunzel from Tangled. She loves the Disney Princesses at the moment. For Cordy, it was Snoopy, since it reminded her of our trips to Cedar Point this year.

My mom has already picked out two for Aaron this year, although he doesn’t know what they are yet, so I can’t share here. But Hallmark also sent us an ornament for him, too:

Thor’s mighty hammer will crush any tree invaders!

This is one of three Avengers ornaments that come with bases that can join together for a tabletop display. Thor is now joining his superhero friends on the great geek tree, near Iron Man and the Hulk.

Beyond the Christmas tree, Hallmark also sent us a gift for the kids. (Mira, really.) Meet Christopher, one of the Interactive Story Buddies:

He’s not just a stuffed animal that accompanies a storybook. Inside that plush covering is a smart little electronic box that not only lets Christopher speak, but is programmed to listen to you for certain phrases and then respond, as if he’s listening to the story and can’t help but chime in. Just like your kids do when you’re reading a story they already know.

I have to admit, this is a super-cute idea. Mira adores this bear, and his book, Christopher Can’t Sleep!, is a favorite request for her bedtime story. I’m amazed at how well he recognizes the trigger phrases to respond to when I’m reading the book. (The phrases he responds to are a different color in the book, so you know when to speak clearly and not skip a word, like I sometimes do when trying to hurry through a book.)

He’s not a one-trick bear, either. Besides the book and respond-along CD that come with Christopher, Hallmark already has other interactive books that he interacts with, and there’s an iPod/iPad app for him, too. He’s one of several different Interactive Story Buddies, each with their own theme and books to go with them. You can check them out at Hallmark’s website or in stores.


Hallmark is giving one lucky reader a Thor ornament to start (or continue) your geek tree, as well as Christopher, the Interactive Story Buddy! To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget below. Giveaway is open until the end of Saturday, December 15.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full disclosure: I received the two products mentioned above from Hallmark for review. All opinions are my own, including my belief that the best ornament ever was the Star Trek Shuttlecraft Galileo with Spock’s voice wishing us a happy holidays. And yes, I have that on our tree, too:

 After 20 years, it still lights up and talks. A testament to a true keepsake ornament.
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  1. I have TONS of hallmark ornaments, mostly barbies, babies first, and some football players. Andrew has just a few ornaments from when he was little that we put on the tree as well. I like a hodge podge, no themed trees in my house 🙂

  2. My husband and I have a penguin/dragon Christmas tree! I put on my penguin ornaments, and he hangs his dragon ornaments. Luckily, penguin ornaments are way easier to find, so the penguins outnumber the dragons. I feel like a Thor ornament would feel right at home on our odd little tree!

  3. I would love to start a tradition with my husband this year! He loves The Avengers.

  4. I remember waking up on christmas as a child to a battery operated train. I loved it.



  6. I collect Gone with the Wind hallmarks 🙂

    ssgsweeps @ hotmail .com

  7. I like the Tangled “It’s all about the hair”
    Thanks for the chance.

  8. My favorite ornament is a hand-blown glass one my dad bartered for when he used to work as an artist when I was little.

  9. Lisa Nelsen-Woods says:

    I am completely gaga for Christmas ornaments. So much so I have two trees in our house. Picking a favorite is hard because every one of them has a story like yours. I’m going to go with the Our New Home ornament we opened on our first Christmas in our newly purchased condo during a blackout. The second is a weird dollar store Santa with a goat in his beard we have on our smaller “toy” (aka crazy) tree.

  10. When i was 3, my aunt made me an ornament of a little girl on a tricycle. I still have it. It always hangs at the front of the tree.

    Paula Michele Hafner

  11. I love the ornaments my kids make. This is the first year that daycare/preschool have really pushed the ornament-making. I love it!


  12. I loved my Snoopy ornament when I was a kid!

  13. a tiny little bicycle from my childhood.

    dani marie ferriza2(at)yahoo(dot)com

  14. My favorite ornament is the angel that we have traditionally used on our Christmas tree since I can remember. It is a bit old looking but brings back tender memories.
    cjnedrow at gmail dot com

  15. my fav is one with my name on it (we all got them when we were kids, we still got them all) – regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

  16. My favorite ornament was the green ball that said Baby’s First Christmas.

    rhoneygtn at yahoo dot com

  17. Jennafer211 says:

    My favorite ornament is actually a set of Sesame Street ornaments that my husband had growing up. They are the first ones we put on the tree. Thanks!!

  18. my favorite ornaments are actually ones I just bought this year.I have 4 owls all made from items found in nature.They are so cool and cute.

  19. my parents used to make an ornament and write the year on them,loved them!

  20. It has to be my Seattle Seahawks ornament


  21. my favorite was winnie the pooh-Dorothy Deakyne mtpapa47(at)gmail(dot)com

  22. My favorite ornament is a Hallmark ornament, it is the abominable snowman and Rudolph the red nose reindeer.