Collections. What makes a collection? Lately I’ve noticed on Etsy a number of listings that promise the buyer an “instant collection.” If it’s instant, is it still a real collection? Alison from The Polohouse recently got me thinking about the things people collect. I believe a real collection is one that is amassed over time, preferably with a lot of searching and poking around in all kinds of places.
We seem to collect a lot of things at our house – books, flow blue china, Fiestaware, nutcrackers, dust, dog hair. (Whoops! Getting into undesirable collections!) My favorite collection, though, is one we began around twenty years ago and continue to expand year after year – blown glass food ornaments.
|one of the originals|
It started at an Elder-Beerman department store in Toledo, Ohio. We had only been married a year or so and were visiting my in-laws. We stopped in at the local mall and saw the most unusual Christmas ornaments in the shapes of carrots, bell peppers, and onions. I’d never seen anything like them. I loved them at first sight, but, as I said, we hadn’t been married too long, so we were on a tight budget. We left without the ornaments. I must have rhapsodized about them quite a bit back at my in-laws, however, because after we were back home in Illinois, we received a package from my mother-in-law full of the ornaments. A collection was born.
There were many years when we couldn’t find any food ornaments, especially since we kept it strictly to vegetables and fruit for a long time. Then one day I saw a hamburger. I had to have it. I absolutely love a good hamburger, so the ornament was calling my name. That hamburger opened the floodgates. It led to another hamburger, a slice of pizza, ice cream, a cupcake, a doughnut, a hot dog, and a fortune cookie.
|hamburger #2: you can also see the first hamburger in the lower right corner|
For a long time, the food ornaments went on the regular Christmas tree, but eventually we had enough to decorate a skinny, 6-foot, artificial tree that we put in our dining room. Many of our ornaments are Old World brand, but we have also gotten ornaments at Sur la Table, outlet kitchen stores, Farm N Fleet, you name it. If it is blown glass, food, and it looks good, we’ll buy it. We even have a few that don’t look that good, like an enormous, sickly yellowish green thing that is either a large lemon or a gigantic lime. Either way, it’s ugly. Still, I do draw the line sometimes. In November, I saw a peanut butter and jelly sandwich by Old World. Great idea, but not much in the looks department. It looked like a big white square with a little oozing color along the sides. Nah.
Still, we are always on the lookout. Our most recent ornament is a gift from our daughter this Christmas, a walnut. There’s always something new to be found!