Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Ornament Review: Joy to the World - 2015 Hallmark Ornament

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Majestic cathedral with a good sound clip
Cons: Definitely on the monochromatic side
The Bottom Line:
Choir singing in
A majestic cathedral
Simple yet good piece

Joyfully Add Another Church to This Unofficial Series

Hallmark has several unofficial ornament series in addition to their many official ones.  The only non-license one I look forward to each year is the musical churches series.  For 2015, they added Joy to the World, and I really do like it.

The main feature of the ornament is a church, and year is a different style.  This time, it looks a bit more like a gothic cathedral with spires sticking up on both sides of the entrance.  The church itself is tan.  It doesn’t have much color to it, and there is very little in the way of ground around the church.  What little we can see is covered by snow.

I must admit, this isn’t the most appealing church that hallmark has created if judging stickily on color.  It really just has tan and white as the two colors of the ornament.  And yet, that fits perfectly for the style of the church, and I think it gives the ornament a better sense of majesty as a result.

This is a magic ornament, featuring sound.  Just slip the two button batteries in the compartment on the bottom and press the button on the side to hear a 25 second clip of a choir inside the church sing “Joy to the World.”  This is a stately version of the hymn, but the harmonies used sound beautiful.  It’s really just the voices with an organ in the very background.  It sounds amazing, and we get the entire first version of the song in the sound clip.  Once again, the style fits the church perfectly.  It’s easy to picture a Christmas Eve candlelight service going on inside.

Speaking of which, I still do miss the Candlelight Services series that Hallmark stopped in 2009, just as I was getting into collection ornaments.  That series also featured churches, without the sound clip, but with lights that would glow if you stuck a Christmas tree light bulb in the back.  This unofficial series started up not too long after the other series ended, and the first couple of years, they included the optional lighting effect as well.  How I wish they still had it since it would help give this ornament a needed boost in the looks department.

Being a building, it’s no surprise that this ornament has a nice, flat surface for setting out as part of a display.  In fact, that’s what I usually do with all my churches from both the official and unofficial series.  It’s a fun display each year, and it saves space on my trees.

However, if you want to display it on your tree, you’ll find the loop in the top of the church.  No real surprise given the shape of the ornament, but it is perfectly balanced and hangs straight.

While Joy to the World isn’t the most colorful ornament, it provides a nice sense of majesty enhanced by the sound clip.  And that sound clip truly elevates this ornament.

If you are looking for more churches, check out the rest of the Candlelight Services official and unofficial series.

Original Price: $19.95

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