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Milestone Accomplished – Driver’s License is Obtained!

Driver's License Personalized Christmas Ornaments Female Blonde

As our children grow up there are so many milestones we celebrate!  (Of course, we have personalized ornaments for all of them!)   It’s walking, talking, potty training.  Riding a tricycle, then a two-wheeler.  First Day of School.  First lost a tooth.  Then Braces!  Each little step moving through childhood toward becoming grown-up is acknowledged along the way with pride and fun traditions.

 Your Child is All Grown Up with a Drivers License!

Many of these milestones are more important to the parents than they are to the child.  But when it comes to getting a Driver’s License, that’s a big one – for that is long anticipated, studied for, practiced for, and really is one of the first true steps to independence. That’s why we have special personalized driver’s license Christmas ornaments to mark this occasion.  The ornament is a picture of a driver’s license, with a girl or boy’s head on it, and a big car key!  We add the name and the year, and the state to make it like a real driver’s license.

In California, a student can get a learner’s permit at age 15 1/2.  They are required to study the California Driver’s Manual with all of the laws of the road and to take and pass a lengthy examination.  The student also is required to take a certain number of hours of private driver’s instruction from a certified organization.  California used to offer driver’s training classes in the public high school system, but budgetary restrictions have taken those classes off the roster.  It is now up the student and parents to find and pay for private instruction.  After having the permit and passing the 16th birthday mark, the student can apply for a real driver’s license and can enjoy driving to school, classes, sports events, and the like.  There is still one restriction.  A newly licensed driver cannot drive with other kids in the car for six months!  The state of California feels this restriction has lowered the number of teen driving accidents overall.

Custom Holiday Ornament Gift Idea

Here’s an amazing idea:  Give your student a driver’s license ornament and attach the keys to a car Christmas gift to the ornament!  Imagine his or her surprise on Christmas morning when the little box with an ornament is opened in front of the family.  Yes, some confusion, what is this?  An ornament?  Ohhhh it’s a car key!  And the car is waiting out in front of the house.  What a fun Christmas morning for your new teen driver.  Thank you, Mom (Mrs. Claus) and Dad (Santa)!  And Merry Christmas with safe driving ahead.

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Ponder These 25 Christmas Quotes

christmas quote logo

While it is true we make and sell Personalized Christmas ornaments for a living, we still think about the meaning of the Christmas holiday.  We enjoy collecting stories of how families celebrate together.  What different traditions are formed with one’s children.  And how to keep the holidays happy and healthy, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

We love reading these quotes about the meaning of Christmas and discussing them.  Which ones call out to you?  Try discussing one of these with your family at the dinner table tonight.

Popular Christmas Quotes

-“Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more….”
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

-“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
― Charles Dickens

-“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder

-“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”
― Bob Hope

-“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind. ”
― Mary Ellen Chase

-“Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer…. Who’d have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously? ”

― Bill Watterson, The Essential Calvin and Hobbes
-“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.”
― Charles M. Schulz
-“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
-“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!”
― Dave Barry
-“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ”
― Norman Vincent Peale
-“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ”
― Roy L. Smith
-“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.”
~ (1919-), American writer, producer, humorist. ”
― Andy Rooney
-“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.”
― Garrison Keillor, Leaving Home
-“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”
― Hamilton Wright Mabie
-“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.
”― Bob Hope
-“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
-What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal and that every path may lead to peace.”
”― Agnes M. Pahro
-“Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.”
~ (1912-1992), American newscaster. ”
― Eric Sevareid
-“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”
― Calvin Coolidge
-“Christmas, my child, is love in action.”
~ Dale Evans (1912-2001), American film actress, singer, and songwriter. Wife of Roy Rogers. ”
― Dale Evans Rogers
-“Christmas it seems to me is a necessary festival; we require a season when we can regret all the flaws in our human relationships: it is the feast of failure, sad but consoling.”
― Graham Greene, Travels With My Aunt
-“Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and desires of little children; to remember the weaknesses and loneliness of people who are growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you, and to ask yourself if you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts; to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you; to make a grave for your ugly thoughts and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open? Are you willing to do these things for a day? Then you are ready to keep Christmas!”
― Henry van Dyke
-“What kind of Christmas present would Jesus ask Santa for?”
― Salman Rushdie, Fury
-“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart. ”
― Washington Irving
-“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveler, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!”
― Charles Dickens
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Creating Displays for your Ornament Collection

Christmas ornaments are more than just decorations, they are ways that we remember holidays spent with friends and family. We remember the people who have joined us in celebrating- that year it snowed and snowed or the one when the turkey burned, or when we finally got that two-wheel bicycle – each a memory that is cherished by families. An ornament display is a great way to show off those ornaments and to share those precious memories. There are lots of ways to display your ornaments, one of our favorites are the ornament stands and trees that let us put our favorite ornaments in the spotlight!

Creating the Perfect Display for an Ornament Collection

Individual Stands
You can display your most precious Christmas ornament on an individual stand that highlight that one (or more!) favorite piece in your collection. These stands are usually 6 or 7 inches in height and made of twisted wire or wrought iron with a curving shape that allows the ornament to safely hang without tipping or swinging. These stands come in a variety of colors and materials and some even have circular mirrors in the base that reflect the ornament. You can place several individuals stands on a mantle or table giving each their own special place in your home. Circled with candles or Christmas lights these ornaments will make festive decorations or centerpieces that will be enjoyed all season.

Ornament Trees
There are lots of ways to display your favorite Christmas ornaments, but perhaps the most popular is the ornament tree. These ornament trees come in lots of styles, sizes and even shapes so you can find something that fits your home and personal style! The smallest ornament trees are about 13 inches in height and display around eight ornaments and the largest trees stand six feet high and hold up to 90 ornaments! So, depending on the size of your ornament collection and the room you have to display them there is a tree that will suit your needs! There are trees that are simple with elegant spirals that hold each ornament at a different height, there are artificial evergreen trees that give the Christmas tree feel, even distressed tin trees for the country feel. You might use several smaller trees placed in different locations throughout the house to display separate collections or just to spread the Christmas cheer from room to room.

Hooks and Hangers
You have chosen your personalized Christmas ornaments with care and you want to show them to their best advantage. As with so many things, it’s the details that count! Chuck those old J-shaped wire hangers and treat yourself (and your ornaments) to something more elegant! These days it isn’t hard to find fancy ornament hooks and hangers at reasonable prices. You can find beautiful spiraled hangers, ones with details like stars, angels or holly leaves, and many with beautiful beads that sparkle in the light. Ornament hooks can be made of 14K gold, sterling silver, silver-plated metal, brass, copper, or painted in dozens of festive colors- the sky is the limit in finding just the right hook. You can find hooks in different lengths as well allowing you to alter the height at which your ornaments are displayed on your tree, ribbon, or ornament tree. These classy, artistic hangers will set your ornaments apart from the rest.

If you get tired of sorting out those hooks year after year you can try something new- how about a beautiful ribbon? The selection of luxurious, fun and festive ribbons is endless. Choose from organza, velvet, silk, or satin ribbons to tie your ornaments. There are loads of holiday ribbons available with prints like candy-stripes, Santa Claus, snowflakes, angels, holly leaves- your imagination is the limit! With fine ribbons, you can tie your ornaments to hooks or tree boughs while with large ribbons you can make a bow that will be an additional ‘ornament’ for your tree.

Separating Themes
Over the years many of us have collected ornaments and we love to display them at the holiday season. Finding just the right way to display them so that they get the attention that they deserve is a challenge! With a few ornament trees and some planning, you can make a beautiful Christmas display. Take a look at your collection and take out your favorites, dividing them by themes that make sense. I have a few suggestions, but you can divide them any way that you want!

Children’s Tree
This tree can hold the best of your children’s ornaments – both homemade and purchased. Still, have that glittery popsicle stick star that they made in second grade? This is the spot for that! Do you have an ornament that you bought for Baby’s First Christmas or the ballerina ornament for when she loved to dance more than anything? You can bring all these memories together and make a Children’s Tree that will show the world those beautiful, priceless ornaments. When the grandkids come over you can show them the ornament that Mom or Dad made and the one that you bought for them when they were little, too!

Family Tree
This is the perfect place to display those ornaments that represent your family. Maybe you’ve bought a personalized family ornament for each year with the family name and year, or perhaps you have an ornament for each member of the family- from Grandma and Grandpa to the newest baby, everyone can have an ornament that shows their joyful place in the family. This tree can be as big or as small as your family, if it’s just three of you then a little ornament tree will do, if it’s brothers and sisters, cousins and more then you can get a big tree! When family visits they can find ‘their’ ornament and look for everyone else’s on the tree, which is a great opportunity to swap stories and tell tales of each family member through the years. Be sure to leave some room on the tree for new family members!

Favorites Tree
The “favorites” tree is always popular! This is the spot to show off a little bit about yourself and those you love! If you collect angels, snowmen or any other theme you can place each of them on the tree bringing together the collection to share with everyone. You can make the tree a little bit about each of the family letting family members place their favorite ornaments on this tree. Does he love race cars? Does she love to garden? There are ornaments for nearly every hobby and interest. Do you collect snowmen or angel ornaments? You can display your collection on one tree each shining in their own way. Hanging your favorite Christmas ornaments from Calliope Designs on the tree lets everyone see what you love!

Wedding Centerpiece
Looking for something a little different and special as a centerpiece for your wedding? An ornament display tree with Calliope Designs ornaments for decoration or as gifts for your guests make a charming centerpiece. There are wedding ornaments with couples, most with a banner or heart that can display the names of the couple and date of the wedding as a keepsake for everyone. There are ornament trees in a variety of designs, heights, and materials that would match your wedding decor. A white filigree tree with an array of snowman and snowgirl ornaments might be perfect for a winter wedding. We have dozens of Christmas ornaments that would be perfect for a December wedding. Perhaps displayed on an evergreen Christmas tree or on a silver ornament tree- a gift your guests will remember every year when they hang it on their own family tree.

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Organizing your Christmas Ornament Collection

If you have invested a lot of time, love and money in your Christmas ornament collection, you know how important proper storage is. But we all know the truth – at the end of the holiday, the last thing we want to do is create an organizational system for your ornaments, no matter how special they are. So this year, take the time ahead of the holiday to plan out and implement a better Christmas ornament storage solution for your home. We have a couple of ideas for you – see which fits your needs!

Organizing Your Christmas Ornaments

Special Containers

There are a number of specially designed Christmas ornament storage containers available in a variety of materials and sizes to fit your needs and your budget. The least expensive versions of these are made of corrugated cardboard and might be a paper file sized box with levels of dividers or sliding drawers. These boxes are effective at organizing your ornaments, but not as durable as other materials and are easily damaged by water. There are plastic containers designed especially for ornament storage and these will more effectively protect your holiday ornaments against moisture and mildew. Many of these plastic bins are red and green which makes them easy to spot among the ordinary plastic bins when the time comes to put up the tree! Similar to the cardboard boxes in design, some are large boxes with layers of dividers while others feature drawers that you can pull open. The dividers create a space for each individual ornament and keep them secure. Depending on the type of ornament, you may wish to use tissue paper, bubble wrap or cotton batting for added cushioning. These plastic bins can be safely stored on shelves or even gently stacked one on top of the other maximizing your storage space. Remember, the after holiday sales are a great place to stock up on these items.

Once you have a general storage solution for your Christmas tree ornaments you’ll want to think about how to divide and store each individual ornament. You can organize by color, or by type of ornament such as snowman ornaments, Santa ornaments, angel ornaments, favorites or whatever division makes the most sense for your collection. You can place all of one kind of ornament together so that you know exactly where to find them, or you can put a little of each kind in each individual box to allow them to have an equal mix as you open them and place the ornaments on your tree.

Now that the ornaments are in the boxes be sure to label each one. Labeling each ornament storage box as you go means that there will be an accurate description of what is inside (e.g., angel ornaments, red and gold ornaments, favorites). Even if you can see through the plastic bins, label the sides with a general description of the contents. With clear containers, you can slide a piece of paper with the list of contents inside so that it can be seen through the front or side of the box. Be sure not to label the lids if you plan to stack the bins as you won’t be able to read the descriptions!

After the holiday season is over you want to take special care when you are storing each Christmas ornament. Certainly, not every Christmas ornament you own is very delicate, but there are special considerations to keep in mind when you are packing a delicate Christmas ornament. If you have a certain holiday ornament that was particularly expensive or especially fragile you will want to take some extra care. You might want to store these ornaments separately from the more inexpensive and easily replaceable items. This box could be stored separately or could carry extra warnings on the labels such as ‘FRAGILE, FAVORITES’ to remind those retrieving the boxes to take extra care. Ideally, you will still have the original packaging for the ornament, but if not then be sure to use bubble wrap, cotton batting or shredded tissue paper to keep the item safe. Do not use newspaper as the ink can transfer to your ornament, and if possible try to find acid free tissue paper.

Storage Areas

Whenever possible you should assign a storage area for all of your holiday items, not just the ornaments, so that everything you need will be in one place. This saves lots of wear and tear when next Christmas rolls around! Christmas ornaments of all kinds should be stored in a space that isn’t damp and where the temperature stays fairly constant. Although tempting, attics don’t usually make great storage areas because the temperature and moisture levels change a great deal over the year. These changes can damage and even ruin your treasured Christmas items. Basements are a bit better as long as they aren’t too damp. Ideally, if you have the room, under the bed in the guest room or closet are great places to store your ornament boxes and other Christmas items.

Alternatives

If special ornament storage boxes aren’t convenient or practical for your family you can still organize and protect your ornaments. Make sure you wrap each Christmas ornament delicately in tissue paper or bubble wrap, do not use newsprint since the ink can rub off on your Christmas ornaments. Choose the strongest box that you can, maybe a copy paper or paper file box from work. If you have enough ornaments to fill more than one box be sure that you put the strongest, heaviest box on the bottom and lightest and most flimsy on top. Otherwise, you might have some (or all!) broken Christmas ornaments next year. For your smallest ornaments, you can put them in egg cartons and then put the egg cartons in the larger boxes. The same can be achieved with shoe boxes that can hold your most breakable items. If you still have the original boxes you can place your Christmas decorations back in the original box and then place those boxes carefully in the larger boxes. Be sure to always put the heaviest items on the bottom. Another great solution to the ornament storage problem is a spare clothing dresser or dining room buffet. You can place carefully wrapped Christmas balls and ornaments in the drawers safe and protected for next year’s festivities!

Moving On

After Christmas is the time to examine your collection and see if there are any ornaments that you don’t use. There can be lots of reasons that you no longer use or want certain Christmas ornaments, you may have downsized your tree or house or it might not be as easy to bring everything out and put it away again each Christmas season. Whatever the reason, if the ornaments are in good condition consider sharing them! Even if they aren’t in perfect condition they will be treasured by someone and enjoyed as a part of their holiday celebrations. Thematic and personalized ornaments are the most special and most sentimental and so make wonderful gifts to family and friends. Consider taking some time after the holidays to write a little history of the ornament saying where and why you bought it or if someone gave it to you as a gift. Then you can pass along the history and the ornament to someone for a birthday, Christmas or just as an after-Christmas present!

Moisture Control Extra

If you live in a humid climate you might want to increase your moisture control for your ornaments. You can use silica packs, which will absorb moisture, keeping your ornaments safer. You can usually find the silica, loose or in pre-made packs at any local craft store (particularly in the bridal area as it is used to preserve flower bouquets).

By taking just a little extra time to organize your decorations at the beginning or end of this season, you will be setting yourself up for a more enjoyable holiday season the next time around. Hopefully, you can eliminate most frustrations associated with finding and using your decorations next Christmas and can focus on having some fun with your family!

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Starting a Collection of Personalized Ornaments Part 1

Pajamas Family of Four

Christmas is a holiday of family traditions – That’s one of the things that makes it so special. We decorate our homes a certain way, have wonderful meals with special dishes that we loved as children, attend midnight church services, open Christmas stockings and exchange gifts with each other! And, as you all know, the holiday season can become very very hectic – trying to get everything done on time and meet everyone’s expectations.

Personalized Ornament Collection

This is especially true in our family as 36 years ago we started a Christmas ornament business – and believe me, we work non stop right up until Christmas Eve.
You can read about our business at https://www.calliopedesigns.com/about-calliope-designs.html. To simplify our lives at Christmas time we started ornament collections for all of our children, nieces, nephews, and now their children by giving them a personalized ornament each Christmas following birth. Of course, now we’re giving out engaged, wedding, and expecting ornaments – as well as starting second generation baby collections. https://www.calliopedesigns.com/wedding-ornaments-480.html shows some of our cutest wedding ornaments!

We have baby ornaments for boys, girls, twins, and triplets. And, we even have ornaments for expecting a couple.

Always remember to make a personalized ornament with a name, a phrase (Baby’s First Christmas) and the year. Some baby ornaments have room to personalize the ornament with the baby’s day of birth, weight, and length! When you find an ornament at CalliopeDesigns.com you can personalize the ornament any way you want!

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Storing your Personalized Ornaments: Ornament Storage Boxes

Triplet Penguins in Stocking Personalized Christmas Ornament

Crafty Holiday Storage Solution

Ornament storage boxes:
Martha Stewart Living recommends each ornament be stored in it’s original box before putting away until next Christmas. If the original box is not longer available, wrap each ornament in acid-free paper, and carefully place it in a cardboard box with cardboard dividers to protect each ornament. The cardboard dividers give the box strength too – to keep it from being crushed in storage thus damaging your wonderful ornaments.

Martha recommends labeling each box with the inventory of what’s inside!

In our family, we made our own Christmas ornament storage boxes using our favorite gift wrap paper glued to the sides of the cardboard box. We decorated the outside of each box with cut out portions of our favorite Christmas cards – making a collage of Christmas memories. My 87-year-old mother has given me these boxes now, and it’s amazing to remember the many years we decorated a tree together.

Here are some ornaments that might be nice for a collection for the children in your family, https://www.calliopedesigns.com/friends-and-children-509.html. We recommend keeping that collection for each child in it’s own box. If you have dough ornaments, be sure and keep them in an airtight, Tupperware type container. Label each container with the child’s name so that next year the child can anticipate unpacking his or her own special collection.

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Storing your Personalized Ornaments: General Info

camping family of four personalized christmas ornament

Storing Your Ornaments 
Beautiful Christmas ornaments are often fragile so it’s important to develop a nice way to store them and keep them safe from breakage, weather conditions (humidity, heat, dampness, etc.) and little-unwanted creatures (bugs and mice)!

Calliope Designs offers two types of personalized ornaments. Our traditional “dough” ornaments and our new clay dough ornaments.
Our traditional dough personalized ornaments are made of a mixture of flour, salt, water, and colors, and are baked in an oven until hard, then glazed with a clear shiny coating to protect them for years. No matter how thick the coating, dough ornaments need to be stored in an airtight container to protect them from any moisture deterioration. We recommend they be stored in a Tupperware type container or a zip lock freezer bag for ultimate protection. Using this practice we continue to use the ornaments we made when we first started Calliope Designs in 1971!

Our new clay dough ornaments are made of a polymer clay – and it is not subject to any moisture or weather conditions, bugs, or mice. They are also extremely durable. So there are no specific storage requirements for their preservation.