I can’t believe it’s about to be Christmas already!
Maybe it’s because despite being home in Chicago for the holidays for the first time in three years, there’s still a lack of snow. I know, no snow in Chicago yet? Trust me, I’m just as surprised. We might as well be back in Hong Kong– it’s even decorated more beautifully for Christmas there.
At least the lights are strung and the stockings all hung! As we put up our Christmas tree, hanging each ornament with care, I was transported back to many of my travels from the past few years.
That’s right, I, like many others who travel, try to collect an ornament from a majority of the countries I visit! While I obviously haven’t been able to always find an ornament while in the country, I at least try to pick up something that reminded me of my trip later on.
So in the spirit of Christmas, let’s take a look at some of my travels through my ornament collection!
As many of you know, moving to Japan for university is what made me apply for my first passport when I was 22. While the Japanese don’t really celebrate Christmas other than with KFC, they do have many rituals for New Year’s including mochi pounding and Daruma dolls.
These small, papier-mâché dolls are sold with no eyes. After the New Year one eye will be painted on while making a wish– however the second eye can’t be painted on until that wish comes true!
My home for the past few years, Hong Kong is another country that doesn’t really celebrate Christmas, but boy do they deck out their city anyways. You’ll be hard pressed to find any ornaments being sold in HK, other than at amusement parks such as Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland.
Since I have enough Disney ornaments to create a whole Disney-themed Christmas tree, of course it was only fitting to get one from Hong Kong Disneyland– a place I spent many of my weekends in HK.
This is one of the cases where I didn’t buy the ornament in the country itself, but my mom saw this little snowman and got it for me to remember my trips to China! I thought he was kinda cute!
What’s more fitting than the Eiffel Tower to represent my trip to Paris? Probably not much! Little Eiffel Tower trinkets are sold by the dozens on the streets of the city, so I picked up this sparkly pink one for less than one euro and after a little DIY, turned into my Paris ornament.
Of course, I also picked up an ornament from Paris Disneyland to continue my Disney theme as well. A Mickey-shaped macaron? How could I resist? Two of my favorite things in one! Obviously I had to buy it.
It was when we were outside of Amsterdam at Zaanse Schans looking at windmills. While there we watched a demonstration on how they carve clogs, so we decided to pick up this cute little pair to put on our Christmas tree!
The Astronomical Clock and Prague Castle are two of the most iconic sights in the Czech Republic. This ornament, which depicts both, perfectly summed up some of our favorite sites from within Prague!
Walking around the streets of Venice, I saw this little gondolier hanging in a shop window. It reminded me of some previous ornaments I had as a child, which also had a string to make their legs dance. Isn’t he fun?
I’m not a big fan of angel ornaments, but I thought this one was too pretty to pass up when we saw it in a quiet little shop on Burano. Made with bits of Murano glass, we knew that it would sparkle nicely on the tree!
After falling in love with Gaudí in Barcelona, I knew something relating to his work would be the perfect addition to my collection. Of course, none of the shops we went to actually had any Gaudí ornaments! I was so surprised. While this wasn’t suppose to be an ornament, I figure it would work as one anyways and I was right!
One of the highlights of my time in Costa Rica was spending my 25th birthday releasing sea turtle hatchlings to help them find their way into the ocean. I bought this little cutie as a reminder of that special day!
This Lone Star represents my first major trip, which was to Texas when I was just four years old (by train from Chicago while I had scarlet fever nonetheless). Since then I’ve made numerous visits to various cities all around the state as I have lots of family residing there and have even considered calling the state home. As I write this I’m currently in Texas getting ready to spend time with family for the holidays.
Because, after all, that’s what holidays are really about.
Do you collect ornaments from your travels? Tell me some of your favorite ones below!