Through the Years with Hallmark Ornaments
18 artifacts in this set
Artist Mary Hamilton's soft, distinctive watercolors graced thousands of Hallmark cards before she began applying her unique style to ornaments. Her depictions of children on this and other early ornaments embodied a unique blend of innocence and sweetness. Mary retired from Hallmark in 2015 and passed away in 2017.
This ornament is both traditional and up-to-date. Iconic toys--like this train--have been associated with Christmas since the early 20th century. But Hallmark's Yesteryear Train--made to look like an old-fashioned wooden toy--sports fashionable colors of the mid-1970s. This ornament dates from America's Bicentennial year, when many Americans particularly cherished things connected to the past.
What would Christmas be without some Santa ornaments? Hallmark's long-running "Here Comes Santa" series featured him using different forms of transportation. This 1979 ornament--the first in the series--had Santa driving an antique car. By the time the series ended in 2003, Santa had hopped a ride on a range of vehicles, including a fire truck, golf cart, rocket, snowplow, tractor, trolley, semitruck, and a Soap Box Derby car.
Hallmark's "Nostalgic Houses and Shops" ornament series reflects a centuries-old Christmas tradition of placing small buildings under the tree to create tiny "villages." One of Hallmark's longest-running series, it began in 1984 with this Victorian Dollhouse. Hung on the tree, these ornaments--depicting homes, stores, and other buildings--evoke small town American life in days gone by.
Since 1984, Crayola has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, Inc. This 1987 ornament was the first to feature Crayola crayons within the design of its ornaments. Though an official series ran from 1989 to 1998, the series has "unofficially" continued to the present day. Artist Bob Siedler began working in Hallmark's Keepsake department in 1981.
Hallmark realized early on that its Christmas ornaments could mark important family milestones. Purchasing an ornament like this "Baby's First Christmas" from 1990 would bring back happy family memories of this event year after year. The baby's walker, bib, and rattle are all reminiscent of that era. Artist John "Collin" Francis worked for Hallmark from 1979 to 2007.
This 1966 Mustang ornament was the second in Hallmark's "Classic American Cars" series. The first, introduced in 1991, was a 1957 Corvette. Artist Dan Palmiter, known by ornament aficionados as "The Car Guy," started his career in the artistic engraving department, where he developed an interest in sculpting 3-D products. He moved to the Keepsake department in the 1980s.
This was the first in a series of Holiday Barbie ornaments, which have proven extremely popular with enthusiasts and collectors. Artist Patricia Andrews, who created almost all the Barbie ornaments, began as an illustrator and gained a passion for sculpting. She landed her first job at Hallmark in the Engraving Studio because of her highly detailed work.
This ornament depicts Dad as a videotaping Teddy Bear with coat and tie. The heavy video camera he is balancing on his shoulders was an iconic piece of technology of the era. This would have made the perfect gift for the proud Dad who insisted on capturing his child's antics and milestones on videotape, despite the weight of the camera.
Each year, Hallmark released an increasing array of ornaments depicting characters or scenes from popular movies and television programs. Hallmark produced a long line of Star Wars ornaments over the years, beginning in 1996 with the Millennium Falcon. This Yoda ornament is from 1997, the same year that an "official" Star Wars series began with Luke Skywalker.
Many Hallmark ornaments have depicted beloved characters from Disney-Pixar's Toy Story movies--beginning with this Buzz Lightyear (along with a corresponding Sheriff Woody) from 1998. Artist Ken Crow loved taking toys apart as a child to see how they worked. "Keepsake ornaments," he says, "keep me connected with that inquisitive lad inside."
The "Spotlight on SNOOPY" series, which started with this ornament in 1998, is still an ongoing series. Here Snoopy has assumed his alter-ego of Joe Cool--who first appeared in a Peanuts comic strip in 1971. Artist Bob Siedler, who originally worked in Hallmark's sales promotion department as a paste-up artist, landed a job in the Keepsakes department in 1981.
Hallmark has increasingly introduced famous sports figures into its annual line of ornaments. This ornament, which would have appealed to boxing fans, depicts Muhammad Ali--widely regarded as one of greatest boxers of all time. Artist Duane Unruh left high school football coaching to become a Hallmark artist in 1977 because of his special artistic abilities.
Dr. Seuss's children's book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, inspired this ornament. Its 1966 animated television special would make watching the grumpy, sly Grinch's unsuccessful attempt to ruin the Whos' Christmas a perennial holiday tradition for many. Held in your palm, the Grinch's gift boxes are closed. Hung on a tree, the presents open to reveal Cindy-Lou Who, another Who, and Max the dog.
The Christmas season brings special treats and holiday baking is a cherished tradition for many. Hallmark artist Nello Williams artfully captured these happy holiday memories in this detailed ornament. The lights inside the oven glow and a fragrance insert emits a sweet smell--warm sugar cookies just out of the oven!
This retro record player ornament was a favorite in 2005, selling out quickly in stores. The purchaser could put on one of three records, move the "arm" of the record player toward the center, and enjoy "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," "Holly Jolly Christmas," and "Have Yourself a Rock n Roll Christmas." Flashing turntable lights simulated a spinning motion.
Hallmark's imaginative and richly detailed ornaments have kept pace with evolving popular culture and everyday technology. Cellphones were in common use when this "Cell-ebrate" ornament was released in 2007. Arranged in the shape of a Christmas tree, these festive phones sport holiday-themed text messages--"Mery Xmas 2U" and "hapi nuyr!"--in true texting "shorthand." There are even emoticons of Santa and a snowman.
The real Farmer Says See 'N Say, introduced in 1965 by Mattel, made animal sounds when a pull string activated the point on the dial in the center. This toy had become a classic by the time this ornament was introduced in 2007, especially to adults who had grown up playing with it. This ornament recreates the original pull-string action.