Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Beautiful and Unusual Christmas Ornaments

The first Christmas that my husband and I spent together, we decided to create a new Christmas tree. We decorated it with icicles, snowflakes, and birds.

Ever since then, we're always on the lookout for new and unusual ornaments to add to the tree. We try to add one or two every year. Over the years, I've discovered a few excellent sources for more unusual or exceptionally pretty ornaments. So if you're looking to add to your tree, here are a few places to check out!

Bronner's Christmas Wonderland
Bronner's bills itself as "The World's Largest Christmas Store," and I'm inclined to believe them. The variety of ornaments they carry is unbelievable. This is a great place to look if you're in search of a specific ornament or type of ornament, including lots of options for personalized items to give as gifts. Here are just a few examples of the out-of-the-ordinary items they carry.

Bronner's extensive collection of European-made ornaments includes several sets of handmade lace hangings. Sets of three are only $8.95.

If you're a fan of Rankin and Bass Christmas specials, this set of four "Jingle Buddies" from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is for you. $14.99 for the set of four, which includes Rudolph, Clarice, Hermie (or is it Herbie? You decide!), and of course, the Abominable. Sorry, Yukon Cornelius is not part of the set, but if you miss him (as you should), you can pick up these figurines for your mantel (although they're a bit pricey at $37.50 for the trio):

If you like more unusual shapes, sizes, and colors, this painted Faberge-style egg will add an elegant and colorful touch to your tree, for $19.99. 

This tiny clip-on hummingbird may make its way to my "bird tree" sometime soon. For only $2.99, I might get myself a small flock. 

If humorous or themed items are your thing, this Santa waiting patiently in a hunting blind (hopefully it's not one of the slower reindeer he's watching through his binocs) may be for you. For $7.99, pick one up for your favorite hunter!

Another great place to find unusual, handmade, imported decorations is World Market, whose tagline is "Unique, authentic, and always affordable." They carry a wide range of style, from rustic animals made from wood and raffia, to hand blown glass figures, to ethnic or regional items. Many items come in sets of 2-4 pieces, either identical or similar. 

These charming faux fur boots come with brown ribbon hangers and pom-pom accents. $14.67 for a set of three. 

This pair of jute snowflakes can be either tree ornaments or wall hangings. $12.78 for the pair. 

These traditional wooden nutcrackers are festooned with just a touch of glitter and have sturdy bases so they can be arranged on a mantel or table as well as hung on the tree. $29.98 for the two. 

If you love multiples of the same ornament, a package of a dozen of these laser-cut wooden hearts showing a pair of doves lighting in an olive tree is only $7.99. 

I've always enjoyed browsing the Frontgate catalog, but to me it was "Hammacher Schlemmer meets Pottery Barn" - in other words, too high-end and expensive, the champagne taste to my beer budget. But although their prices may be higher than some of the other vendors on this list, they're not outrageous, and their items are certainly all excellent quality and truly beautiful. 

These four exquisite ornaments each feature an impossibly tiny nativity scene inside a glass globe. Ranging in price from $29.50 to $66.50, any one of them could easily serve as the centerpiece of a very special collection.

If you like your snowflakes to have some sparkle, this trio of gem-studded snowflakes is perfect for you. Crafted from iron wire and glass stones, these sparkly snowflakes are sturdy yet delicate. Set of three for $38.

If there's a dog lover on your gift list, and you're feeling generous, this is the site for finding the perfect dog ornament. Almost any breed you can imagine (Bernese mountain dog, shih tzu, French bulldog, Westie, corgi, pug, bichon, cavalier spaniel, chihuahua, Wheaton terrier, St. Bernard, Australian shepherd, just to name a few) can be found with sweater, without sweater, or with jeweled sweater. Just like the breeds themselves, the prices cover quite a range, but are generally between $50 and $150.

Overstock.com carries a surprisingly varied line of tree ornaments, from gold and crystal baubles to rustic handmade items from India and South America to traditional styles.

This 24K goldplated icicle holds multiple glass crystals which catch the light and enhance the sparkle of the whole tree. $18.29 each.

This set of golden acorns gives a subtle, natural glitter to your tree. 

This charming yarn bird from Colombia adds character and personality to your tree. For about $10-$15 each, if he looks lonely, you can add his friends: pig, dog, sheep, beaver, snail, monkey, frog, and more. 

This gold and sequined peacock ornament is handmade in India, and adds an unusual ethnic touch as well as a sparkle of non-traditional color to the tree. $15.65 each.

For more homespun charm, you can't go wrong with these cookie dough Santa heads, each with a different color hat and a differently styled white beard. Set of 6 for $12.99.

Pier One
If you're just looking for cute and inexpensive ornaments, go no further than Pier One.

This graceful leaping deer sparkles with gems, sequins, and glitter. $5.95.

This traditional style bauble is painted with the nativity scene, complete with Mary and Joseph holding the baby Jesus, while the three Wise men solemnly process in with their gifts. The price of $14.36 includes a beautiful keepsake storage box. 

This charming little reindeer has beaded legs which dangle. For $3.96 each, you can get the full set of 8 plus Rudolph!
When Santa's not on duty, he has to leave his hat and pants somewhere, right? Why not on a tiny hanger, looking festive on your tree? $4.76. 

This rustic little pinecone owl wears a cheerful knitted Christmas sweater and is dusted with festive snow. $4.95

So if your tree seems to be missing a little something this year, now you know where to go to find it!

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