Past Forward

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Hallmark’s Christmas Classics

December 7, 2023

The Christmas season brings cherished traditions and much-anticipated activities. These Hallmark ornaments reflect some of these classic Christmas experiences.

'Friendly Greetings,' Christmas ornament, 1992

Friendly Greetings, 1992 / THF350088

Sending Christmas greetings is a long-standing custom — whether through a physical or digital greeting card or social media. Though the postman may deliver cards to our mailbox, or greetings may arrive through email or social media, holiday missives are one way of letting family and friends know we are thinking of them and wishing them well at this festive time of the year.

'Born to Shop,' Christmas ornament, 2004

Born to Shop, 2004 / THF354780

Some Christmas-related traditions begin even before the holiday nears — shopping for gifts. Depending on circumstances — the length of one’s list, hints supplied, finding the just right gift, or time available — holiday shopping can offer joy or stress. Actually — probably a bit of both! Cruising the web from the comfort of home or traversing local shops brings countless gift possibilities for one’s family and friends. Then comes the wrapping!

'Salvation Army Band,' Christmas ornament, 1991

Salvation Army Band, 1991 / THF363117

An important theme of the Christmas season is the spirit of giving. In the weeks leading up to holidays, charitable organizations such as the Salvation Army collect money or goods to assist those in need by providing holiday meals, clothing or toys. The donations placed by passersby in the Salvation Army’s iconic red kettles — a sight readily encountered near storefronts and on street corners — help make the holidays better for those less fortunate.

'Christmas Cookies,' Christmas ornaments, 2004

Christmas Cookies, 2004 / THF177747

This ornament evokes memories of holiday baking with family or friends — a time for togetherness as well as creating holiday treats to be enjoyed during the season. The ornament’s oven lights glow, and a fragrance insert emits a sweet smell — warm cookies just out of the oven! Whether traditional classics, a reflection of family heritage or a new recipe being tried out, home-baked cookies are relished as a part of holiday eating and memories.

'Sneaking a Treat,' Christmas ornament, 2004

Sneaking a Treat, 2004 / THF355035

The scent of freshly baked cookies warm from the oven is enticing. Sometimes you just can’t wait — stealthily sneaking a freshly baked Christmas treat satisfies the need to let the Christmas season eating begin!

'Minnie Trims the Tree,' Christmas ornament, 1999

Minnie Trims the Tree, 1999 / THF187341

Decorating the Christmas tree is a much-anticipated activity for many — and, for some, a time to revisit treasured memories of Christmases past as cherished ornaments are placed on the tree. Accompanied by seasonal music or conversation, trimming continues until complete — creating a centerpiece of holiday cheer amid all the empty ornament boxes!

'Trim a Tiny Tree,' Christmas ornament, 2005

Trim a Tiny Tree, 2005 / THF355768

Christmas trees are often decorated according to personal taste. Some are adorned with a variety of ornaments gathered over the years. Others reflect the latest trends in ornament shapes, materials, colors and lighting. Other trees sport ornaments illustrating a particular theme. This little tree is bedecked with sewing notions — a creative way to celebrate an interest in sewing!

'Merry Glitzmas!,' Christmas ornament, 2003

Merry Glitzmas!, 2003 / THF361868

Christmas-themed sweaters have become an enduring part of the holiday scene — including the gaudy “ugly sweater” versions that compete for attention during the season. Alternately scorned or loved since they hit the mainstream in the 1980s — and whether purposely garish or intentionally subtle — the tongue-in-cheek popularity of this holiday-inspired fashion statement has grown since the early 2000s with the rise of social media.

'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Santa's Bright Idea,' Christmas ornament, 2009

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Santa's Bright Idea, 2009 / THF358217

Holiday-themed movies and television specials — whether old classics or new offerings — draw us each year to enjoy favorite shows as we curl up in front of the television each December. The animated TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer premiered in 1964. Viewers love cheering on “underdog” Rudolph as the reindeer saves the day by guiding Santa’s sleigh through a Christmas Eve storm with his unusual — and useful — lighted nose!

Oh, What Fun to Read,' Christmas ornament, 2008

Oh, What Fun to Read, 2008 / THF357585

Curling up with classic Christmas literature — like Clement C. Moore’s iconic holiday poem, “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” written in 1822 — adds to the holiday spirit. It’s fun to read and reread these much-loved stories — spending special time together while doing it is even better!

Santa's Magic Sack,' Christmas ornament, 2005

Santa's Magic Sack, 2005 / THF355402

What would Christmas be without Santa — that jolly old man in red who brings toys to children on Christmas Eve embodies the spirit of giving. How does Santa manage to fill his sack with millions of gifts for children all over the world? Magic, I suppose!

'Secrets for Santa,' Christmas ornament, 1991

Secrets for Santa, 1991 / THF351834

A prelude to Santa’s Christmas Eve arrival can be an in-person visit with the man himself — or perhaps a letter sent to the North Pole sharing a wish list of hoped-for gifts.

'A Joyful Noise,' Christmas ornament, 2004

A Joyful Noise, 2004 / THF354762

Angels — one of the popular symbols of Christmas — are figures of beauty and grace. Spiritual beings from biblical tradition, they offer love and protection, bring messages and provide heavenly music.

'Praise the Day,' Christmas ornament, 1999

Praise the Day, 1999 / THF187397

Music is an important part of Christmas — popular songs heard on the radio, hymns sung at services, holiday-themed CDs retrieved and played, favorites listened to over streaming services — and the joyous sound of a choir that has diligently practiced special Christmas music for weeks!

'Candlelight Services Series: The Stone Church,' Christmas ornament, 1998

Candlelight Services Series: The Stone Church, 1998 / THF361336

For those who celebrate the spiritual meaning of the holiday, church services are a central part of Christmas as people gather for a religious observance on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.

'Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: Stealing the Feast,' Christmas ornament 2008

Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: Stealing the Feast, 2008 / THF361717

We use food to celebrate special occasions, create cherished traditions, and enjoy time with family and friends. At Christmas, people gather around the table to enjoy a holiday meal — whether prepared by the host, created with favorite dishes brought by family or friends, or purchased as a complete dinner. In Dr. Seuss's classic children's book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch steals the food meant for the Whos holiday feast!

'Snow Angel,' Christmas ornament, 2003

Snow Angel, 2003 / THF354371

The holiday season brings time off from school as well. Children look forward not only to all the delights holiday celebrations bring but to days filled with play with family and friends. For kids living in snowy regions, freshly fallen snow offers the opportunity for some wintertime fun — building snowmen, throwing snowballs or creating angel shapes in the snow.

'The Family Room,' Christmas ornament, 2002

The Family Room, 2002 / THF362465

After the bustle of prepping for the holiday, the season also can offer time to pause and kick back. Settling into the familiar comfort of home amid favorite holiday decorations while surrounded by loved ones, pets, and holiday treats, offers some much-needed quiet and contentment.

Jeanine Head Miller is curator of domestic life at The Henry Ford.