Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ornament Review: Italy - Doorways Around the World #4 - 2010 Hallmark Ornament

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Mediterranean feel with nice Italian details
Cons: Tilts.  Seems a bit light on details
The Bottom Line:
Italian Christmas
Good, a bit light on details
Sorry it's the end

Italy is Our Final Doorway Visit.  Buon Natale!

You never know what will be a popular series of Hallmark ornaments.  While I love the Doorways Around the World series, it seems to be a poor selling series.  Why else would this year's entry, Italy, be the final one in the series.  But fans will be happy to know that it is another good ornament.

As always we've got a doorway decorated with Christmas items from our host country.  Since we're visiting Italy, the door looks Mediterranean with lost of grain in the wood in a door painted a light blue.  Out front, the doorway features paving stones in a half circular pattern.  There's a bush on the doorstep wrapped in ribbon with Buon Natale written on it.  This is the first time that the country's Merry Christmas greeting has been included on the ornament itself.

The back two thirds of the ornament feature the inside of this house.  The tiles here are squares, half decorated, that look like indoor tiles.  On the left hand side is a statue of La Fefana.  Who is that, you ask?  I'd never heard of her either, but apparently she's a legendary figure who helped guide the Wise Men on the first Christmas and now brings toys to children on the Feast of Epiphany.  Honestly, if I didn't know any better, I'd say she was a statue of a kindly grandmother with a broom in one hand and a basket in the other.

On the other side of the ornament is a ceppo.  This "Tree of light," is a triangle with three shelves on it and a star at the top.  The sides are covered in evergreen garland and there are candles perched in holders at each shelf.  The first two shelves hold examples of traditional Italian sweets.  The bottom shelf features a small nativity scene featuring Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus.

My first thought when I saw this ornament was how disappointing it was.  It really does seem like some of the other ornaments have had more detail to them.  But the more I look at it, the more I like it.  The doorway really looks like something from Italy, which helps give this one a distinct feel.  The ceppo is large, so it does take up some room in the back, but the nativity scene at the bottom is fun if small.  Yes, there could be more to the ornament, but I do like what is here.

As with the other in the series, the base is very large and flat.  If you want to put this on display somewhere, it will sit perfectly flat.  By turning the ornament over, you'll find the copyright date and the 4 in the Christmas tree, marking this as the fourth in the series.

There is a brass ring located at the top of the doorway sticking out to the inside portion of the ornament.  If you decide to hang this one from your tree, you'll find that it tilts slightly to one side with the ceppo on it.  The tree out front must be pretty heavy.  It and the ceppo are on the same side, but the ornament tips slightly forward, making the corner with the outside plant the lowest corner and the first time an ornament in the series tilts toward the outside portion of the doorway.  The tilt is noticeable, but it's not enough to seriously ruin the ornament if you hang it from your tree.

I'm sorry to see Doorways Around the World ending since I have liked learning a bit about different country's Christmas traditions in these very nice pieces of art.  Italy is another example of how good this series could be.  I will certainly enjoy the ornaments in the series for many years to come.

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

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