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Holiday keepsake collectibles

Decor: Ornaments and decorations can become valuable over time

Posted: December 17, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: December 17, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Left to right, Lori Tucker, John Trimble, Sue Savigar and Stacie Allegra display a variety of holiday items available at Lee’s Hallmark. Left to right, Lori Tucker, John Trimble, Sue Savigar and Stacie Allegra display a variety of holiday items available at Lee’s Hallmark.
Left to right, Lori Tucker, John Trimble, Sue Savigar and Stacie Allegra display a variety of holiday items available at Lee’s Hallmark.
 The Willow Tree Nativity Scene.  The Willow Tree Nativity Scene.
The Willow Tree Nativity Scene.
“Hickory Tree Harmony” ornament. “Hickory Tree Harmony” ornament.
“Hickory Tree Harmony” ornament.

Most of you probably have a few treasured Christmas tree ornaments from years past.

These might include things your children made in grade school, such as popsicle-stick reindeer, or you have those small, framed photos that can hang from limbs. And most of you probably have a couple Hallmark Keepsake ornaments and shelf decorations, as well.

These always seem to have the perfect combination of cute, sentiment and nostalgia to bring out a smile. And many of them have a playful side, either in their characters or in what they do (such as dance to music).

With this in mind, I visited Lee’s Hallmark in Valencia, and spoke to the owner, John Trimble, and others, about collectibles in general, Hallmark collectibles in particular, and why people collect them.

Trimble was in the wholesale business for 10 years, and has been in the retail business for 35 years, and has owned more than one local Hallmark store. He has owned Lee’s Hallmark for six years.

“I’ve gotten quite a knowledge of the business over the years,” he said.

Consequently, he understands why people collect keepsakes, and he used his own family to explain.

“My wife collects these ornaments. Every year she has to get one for each child. A collectible item is for future generations to enjoy,” he said.

Employee Lori Tucker added, “To look at something they love, it makes them happy. It’s the memories.”

Trimble said that one older woman came into his store when this year’s collectibles debuted in July, and ordered $2,000 worth of them to send to all her grandchildren.

“Collecting is coming back,” he said. 

And he added, “Most collectibles go up in value. Some old ornaments are now worth a lot of money.”

As an example, he pointed out that Jim Shore collectibles, which Lee’s Hallmark also sells, are often made for only one year, then they are retired. Thus, they increase in value.


Keepsake Collectibles

A visit to the Hallmark website will illustrate the many Keepsake ornaments available, in categories, such as Countdown Ornaments (which count the days down until Christmas), Interactive Ornaments (such as seek and find storybooks), holiday photo holders and Magic Cord Ornaments.

When these latter are plugged together with the Magic Cord, each will join the others in a synchronized light and sound show.

Most of these, as well as a host of other Hallmark collectibles, are available at Lee’s Hallmark.

“Hallmark presents them to us in about March,” Trimble said, “and then we pick which, and how many, we order. Usually, if we’re out of them, they’re out online, as well.”

One item Lee’s was running low on at the time I visited was the Countdown to Christmas, by Robert Chad. This is a Santa popping out of a chimney, with a digital clock that counts down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until Christmas ($19.95).

So many choices

Trimble escorted me around the wonderland of collectible delight that is his store, and pointed out a variety of popular items suitable for the Christmas season and otherwise.

There is, of course, a whole wall of Hallmark Christmas tree ornaments at Lee’s, with everything from snowmen to Batman.

Some of the collectible Hallmark Keepsake ornaments are popular “series” ornaments which feature a new ornament each year.

Among those are the “Barbie,” “Star Trek,” “Star Wars,”  “Wizard of Oz” angels and other recurring ornament series.

But there are other collectibles as well. For example, there are Annalee dolls, and a glass case full of Precious Moments and Jim Shore collectibles.

“Willow Tree Nativity Sets are extremely popular,” Trimble said.

One favorite item is the Deck the Halls Duo, which features a puppy in a doghouse with lights synchronized to music and a snowman dancing.

This item is normally $32.95, but only $15.95 with a three-card purchase.

Trimble said that painted wine, champagne and martini glasses ($26.95) are starting to become collectibles, as they make perfect, personalized gifts for birthdays and other big events in people’s lives.

And there are “plush” collectibles and Beanie Balls ($5.99) for any time of year.


Recordable Storybooks

Some of my favorite holiday items at Lee’s are the Recordable Storybooks. These hardcover books ($29.95) offer pictures and stories such as “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “The Very First Christmas,” “The Night Before Christmas” and “Frosty the Snowman.”

“You read the story to a child, and it records your voice,” Trimble said.

You can re-record until you are satisfied, then make the recording permanent.

“When the child grows up, Grandma’s voice will be there forever,” he said.

These are perfect for grandparents who can’t be with their grandchildren at Christmas.

They can record the stories and then mail the books to their grandchildren. It’s the next best thing to being there.

“My wife recorded two of these for our grandchildren,” Trimble said.

Of course there are many other non-holiday recordable storybooks available, including “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Winnie The Pooh’s Plan Bee.”

Whether you are an ardent keepsake collector, or merely have a tiny sentimental bone in your body, a visit to Lee’s Hallmark will be a sweet and fun excursion.

But the holiday collectibles are going fast.

Lee’s Hallmark is located at 25918 McBean Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355 (in the Granary Square shopping center). Call (661) 259-3511.


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