2013 Travel Christmas Ornament

Kangaroo Ornament by Natalie Parker

Here’s this year’s travel memento for our Christmas tree!

To recap, we pick up an ornament to represent each of our travels.  I was in Australia twice this year, once for work and once for school.  We actually haven’t had our big vacation trip of 2013 yet.

Sometimes with these ornaments, I love a piece of local art.  Sometimes, it just feels right to go with straight up kitsch.  How could I say no to the kangaroo?

Earlier: 2011 – Camel from Egypt, 2012 – Great Wall from China & Double Decker from London.

Documenting my Christmas Ornaments

Documenting Christmas Ornaments 1Now that I know how to use my camera, I’m taking on an ambitious project: taking pictures of our Christmas ornaments.

Do you document new Christmas ornaments?  I think it’s fun to remember what year we got each thing for our tree.  I’d like to document the ones Mr. P and I got each year since we moved in together.  That was 8 Christmases ago.  Yikes.

My goal this year is to capture all the ornaments from the first three years, plus keep a record of the ones I didn’t capture so it’s easier to do next year.

As we unpacked our decorations a couple weeks ago, I used post-it notes and took quick pictures of all the ornaments so I can remember which goes with what year.

Documenting Christmas Ornaments 2Focusing on the first three years, I try and get a really nice photo of each ornament hanging on the tree.  This usually involves 10-15 photos each while I fiddle with settings.

One slightly annoying thing here is light.  Even if I take the photos all at the same time, the light is so different on each part of the tree!  I’m ending up with photos that individually look awesome but the lighting and thus coloring on the tree branches really varies!  I wonder what it will look like when I put these together in a scrapbook.

When I move the photos to my computer, I delete a ton of them and keep the best 2-3 for each ornament.  When I scrapbook this in the future, I think I’m only going to keep the one I decided to use for the book.  For now, everything gets sorted into folders by year and is ready for me to work with whenever I want!

This Year’s Travel Ornaments

2012 Travel Christmas OrnamentsWe put our tree up recently and one of the most fun parts is taking out the new ornaments I’ve been saving from our trips this year!

We like having an ornament on our tree for each place we’ve traveled.  Last year it was a little camel from Egypt.

From London, we have this tiny little double-decker bus.  It’s only about an inch tall!

In China, we picked up this cool red and gold design.

They’re both keychains, in case you were wondering!  Christmas ornaments can get expensive, very large, or even difficult to find in some places.  Getting a keychain really opens the possibilities!  I remove the key ring part, add a hook and it’s done!

What about you?  Any special new ornaments or travel traditions from this year?

This Little Camel Came Home with Us

Camel bone Christmas ornament from EgyptMeet the little camel.  He’s one of our newest Christmas ornaments.

Several months ago, I talked about our trip to the Middle East and our tradition of buying a piece of street art on big trips.  We also buy a Christmas ornament on all of our travels, dating back to 2005 when we picked up a New York ornament on the top of the Empire State Building.

The hunt for an ornament is always really fun.  Sometimes we don’t buy a traditional ornament.  On a trip to Philadelphia, we bought a keychain and turned it into an ornament because all the Christmas ornaments we saw were too big and bulky.

Our little camel is actually a figurine carved out of camel bone.  Camel bone figurines are a popular tourist purchase in Egypt.  The store we went to also had angels, stars and other traditional Christmas ornaments carved out of camel bone.

We had to have the camel, it was too cute to pass up.  Do you have any Christmas ornament traditions?