Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ornament Review: Toy Store Dreams - 2015 Hallmark Ornament

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Light, sound, and motion add a nice touch to this piece
Cons: I hate pull strings to start ornaments
The Bottom Line:
Toy store window scene
Light, music, motion are fun
But why the pull string?

Dreaming of a Toy Shop in this Christmas Windows Companion Piece

I sometimes wonder what exactly makes Hallmark decide to do something as a series companion piece instead of as part of the regular ornament line.  In this case, the magic element of Toy Store Dreams is the obvious divider, but it could easily be part of the regular Christmas Windows series.

Since Christmas Windows is a Keepsake Ornament Club series, not everyone who buys Hallmark ornaments will be familiar with it.  The series, now up to 13 ornaments features a child outside the window of a different store all decked out for Christmas.  The ornament has stuff on all sides, so it’s one to spend some time studying and enjoying.

In this case, we have a little girl outside a toy store.  She is looking in with longing at the rocking horse in the window.  There’s also a plane hanging from the ceiling.  Sitting outside the window to the girl’s left in a teddy bear.  When you turn the window around, you can see a game of checks, an art kit, a train, and a doll house on the shelves under the window.

The regular ornaments in the series are done in alternating years by Tammy Haddix and Nina Aube.  Tammy sculpts with boys outside the window, and Nina always has girls.  Since this is an odd number year, Tammy did sculpt the regular series window, but she got to sculpt this one as well.  It’s fun since it gives her a chance to sculpt a girl.  Additionally, the sheet music for “Toyland” is featured in the regular series ornament for the year.

Why do I bring that up?  Because, as I said before, this is a magic ornament, and it features light, motion, and sound.  The sound is the music to “Toyland.”  I’m not familiar with the song, I must confess, but the music is beautiful to listen to, and I love how it ties in to the official series piece of the year. 

All of the magic is supported by three button batteries, and your first set is included with the ornament.  To actually start the show, you have to pull the cord that dangles down from the ornament.  When you do that, you get the music, a light comes on in the window, and the rocking horse starts to go back and forth.  The music and light lasts about 45 seconds, although the horse seems to stop rocking about half way through.

However, I’m not completely thrilled with the pull cord.  First of all, I always display my Christmas Windows series on the ground under my tree.  While there is still a nice flat base, that string is going to look weird sticking out from under the ornament.  Second, it seems like it is too easy to break.  One of the displays in my store is already broken.  The cord hangs down all the way – you can’t retract it and you can’t get the show to start.  For as expensive as their piece is, it shouldn’t be this fragile.

If they’d used a button to start the show like on most magic ornaments, I’d have loved it.  The window itself is nice, and the show adds a wonderful touch.

There is a loop at the top of the house for hanging the ornament on your tree.  Slip a hook through it, and you’ll find it hangs straight.

I really truly wish they hadn’t used a rope on this ornament.  Without that, it would be a great compliment to the Christmas Windows series.  As it is, I do like Toy Store Dreams, but every time I pull the rope, I will be afraid of breaking it.  That’s not the right way to enjoy something like this.

Original Price: $29.95

Looking for more ornaments like this?  Check out the others in the Christmas Windows series.

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