iPhoneography: Christmas ornaments

When I was growing up, the ornaments on the Christmas tree were almost always glass balls. Red and blue and gold and purple, with little wire hooks at the top that made it almost impossible for my clumsy fingers to hang on the branches of the tree, ornaments of that type are still what I think of when I imagine the decorations on the tree.

Some of them were probably the popular Shiny Brite ornaments pictured above, or imitations.

Ornaments — originally German-made glass baubles popularized by big American retailers like Woolworth and Macy’s — were so traditional for so long that it was inevitable that pop culture would eventually work its way into the product.

That point came in 1973, when Hallmark introduced its Keepsake ornaments collection. Those first few ornaments were snowmen and angels and Santa and look pretty primitive compared to the elaborate ornaments of today.

But the world of Christmas ornaments had changed. Before long, we could decorate our trees with Peanuts figures or Barbie or Mickey Mouse.

This year, the retailer is offering scenes from “Star Trek,” comic books like The Avengers and the Fisher Price Play Family Village.

Of course, for the latest iPhoneography Christmas entry, I thought I’d pass along some of the more offbeat pop culture offerings.

There aren’t many more instantly recognizable pop culture figures than jumpsuit-era Elvis Presley. Although this guy looks a little underfed, he’d be a good companion to a “Blue Christmas” theme.

How about Kiss frontman Gene Simmons? Nothing like an extra long tongue to say happy holidays.

And no, I’m not sure why he’s upside down in his box. Maybe that makes him more collectible.

Now this is more like it. “Yellow Submarine”-era Beatles ornaments. If this ornament could talk … it wouldn’t be in the actual Beatles voices.

And you can’t spell Christmas ornament without Grinch. Well, you can’t really spell it with G, R, I, N, C and H. But you know what I mean.

I mentioned Peanuts earlier but couldn’t resist coming back to this item, which isn’t really an ornament but is instead the Charlie Brown version of a nativity scene. Curiously, it’s not really labeled as such. Maybe they thought such a direct reference would offend someone. That would have to be someone who hadn’t seen the Peanuts Christmas special, of course.

More next time.




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