Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ornament Review: The Stone Church - Candlelight Services #1 - 1998 Hallmark Ornament

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Neat sculpture; beautiful idea
Cons: Windows don't quite seem as realistic as the rest of the church
The Bottom Line:
Even with weird colors
The ornament is detailed
And the glow is nice

The Stone Church Started Candlelight Services - an Unique Magic Ornament Series from Hallmark

Since I've just started truly looking at all the Hallmark ornaments, it amazes me the artwork they can create.  When I first saw the Candlelight Services series, I was immediately captivated.  Each ornament in this twelve part series features a different style church.  The Stone Church started things off in 1998.

The ornament itself depicts a small church built out of stone.  While it is made from plastic, each stone in the church has been carved into it, giving it an authentic feel.  Likewise, the tiles in the roof are carved.  Out front there are two evergreen trees on either side of the door.  While the ground around the church is white, representing the snow that has fallen for the white Christmas, the steps leading to the front door are clear.  Just to the right is a plaque with 1998 on it.  Also to the right is a bell tower with a cross on top.

The ornament sits on a big base of white, and artist Ed Seale faintly put his initials in the back.  On the bottom are the standard copyright notices as well as a 1 in a Christmas tree, reminding us that this is the first in a series of ornaments.

Since the base is so big, it's hardly a surprise that the ornament sits perfectly flat.  If you do decide to hang it from your tree, you'll find the little brass right on top of the church pretty much in the middle of the roof.  Not surprisingly, it hangs pretty much straight.

This is what Hallmark calls a magic ornament, meaning it does something other than hang on your tree like an ordinary ornament.  In this case, there is a hole in the back where you can insert a Christmas tree light.  The windows are made out of clear, colored plastic, so it gives the feel of seeing light coming through stained glass on Christmas Eve.  The ornament works best with traditional lights and not the newer energy saver lights.  Obviously, if you are hanging this from your tree and you put a light in the back, that might affect how it hangs.  I'm opting to display the set on a table, and they look neat side by side.

Unfortunately, the colors of the window don't quite work for me.  They are green and purple.  By itself, it looks okay, but when it is displayed with the others from the series, it makes it look cartoony and less real.  In a neat touch, there is a window over the front door that does catch the light, so you do get to see the lighting effect from three of the four sides.

While The Stone Church isn't the best ornament in the series, it was still a good start.  It showed what the series could do and hinted at how beautiful the churches could be.  If the colors in the windows hadn't been so intense, it would have been perfect.

Be sure to check out the other ornaments in the Candlelight Services series.

Original Price: $18.95

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