Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ornament Review: Ireland - Doorways Around the World #3 - 2009 Hallmark Ornament

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Detail rich portrait of another culture's Christmas traditions
Cons: The tree doesn't seem to stand up straight
The Bottom Line:
To hang or display?
Either way, the details shine
Remarkable art

It's Christmas in Killarney as Doorways Around the World Visits Ireland

2010 was the year I finally gave in.  I've looked at Hallmark ornaments for years, but only bought one or two.  But since the year began, I've started collecting several official and unofficial series.  My pocketbook hates me, and I fear it will only get worse in the next few years.

One of my new series is Doorways Around the World.  This series features traditional Christmas decorations from various locations.  While the first two years didn't sell super well (I was able to pick them up at a local Hallmark store that still had them), Ireland seems to have sold out quickly.  I'm not sure why it was more popular, but I hope it means they will consider extending this series for quite a while since each ornament is a work of art.

Fortunately, there is quite a bit of writing on the back of the box the ornament comes in.  That means I actually know what I am looking at.  The ornament is detailed all the way around.  You'll want to position it so that you can enjoy the entire thing during December.

The door is located about one third of the way across the three inch base.  The short portion represents the front of the house.  The wall and ground in front of the door is molded to look like stone.  There is a pale of whitewash sitting on the ground since it is tradition to white wash the door.  A red candle is left burning in the window next to the door as welcome to Mary and Joseph.  The bottom half of the door is closed, but the top half, which has a wreath on it, is partially open.

When you turn the ornament around, you see the inside of the house.  There is a holly tree topped by a Celtic cross.  Several wrapped presents sit under the tree.  The table has a picture of milk and a loaf of a traditional bread made with caraway seeds and raisins.  And the wall paper around the door is full of Shamrocks.  All this sits on a wood floor covered by a rug.

As I said, the details are amazing.  While the entire ornament is obvious made out of plastic (it's lightweight for its size), the textures look real.  Thanks to the back of the box, I feel like I've learned about another culture, even if it is only a quick paragraph.  Honestly, I am tempted to find some place to set this out to be displayed since I am afraid the details will get lost on the tree.

As I mentioned, the base is 3 inches long.  The ornament is about 4 inches tall.  This isn't something that is going to tuck nicely into the tree.  It's going to take up some room.  The big base is wide and flat, meaning if you decide to display it by setting it out, it will stay on any flat surface.  The brass ring to hang the ornament is located at the top of the thatch roof over the door.  Not surprising (since the door isn't centered), the ornament tips slightly to the back of the ornament, but if you hang it on your tree, you'll never notice.

The one detail that keeps this ornament from being perfect is that holly tree.  At least on mine, the tree tilts slightly to one side and seem to be slumping.  Since the leaves are attached to a wire that spirals up, this isn't super surprising.  I think if it stood up completely straight, I would love it as much as I love the first two.

If you look at the bottom, you'll find the standard Hallmark markings.  There's a 2009 copyright date and 3 in a Christmas tree since this is the third in the series.

As I mentioned, this particular ornament in the series sold out very quickly for whatever reason.  While the first two are cheap, this one seems to be climbing rapidly in price.  Since I'm just getting into collecting ornaments, I don't know if prices every drop, but if you want this, you'll have to do some hunting to get it at a reasonable price at this point.

This may not be the best ornament in the Doorways Around the World series, but it is still full of wonderful details.  As they say in Ireland, Nollaig Shona Duit!

Continue your tour by seeing the rest of the Doorways Around the World series.

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