Some of My Favorite Christmas Ornaments Are Also Some of My Favorite Souvenirs


I love buying souvenirs when I travel. No matter how many pictures I take, I still want a tangible memory. Something that I can hold in my hand and think, I was there.

But I won't just buy any old souvenir. Oh no, it has to be perfect — at least in that moment when I'm buying it. So I tend to be very indecisive, which is why I wasn't able to buy a rug in Turkey.

It's hard to predict how much I'll like my souvenirs when I get home, or even to the next destination on the trip. For example, at the time I was thrilled to be buying freshly dried mace at the Douglaston Spice Estate in Grenada, but it turns out that my cooking repertoire doesn't include a recipe that uses mace.

But guess what kind of souvenirs I have been consistently pleased with? (The title of this post might have given away the answer.) Yes, that's right: Christmas ornaments.

Pictured above is an ornament I got in Llandudno, Wales, in September. I didn't set out to buy a Christmas ornament, but I was in a store with all sorts of little dragon tchotchkes. (The Welsh love dragons — there's a dragon on their flag and thus dragons seem to show up everywhere.)


I would have liked an adorable stuffed dragon but I really couldn't justify buying one, and even I could, I wouldn't have wanted to lug it around Wales. But this little dragon ornament suits me just fine.

When I was on Grand Cayman earlier this month, there were Christmas lights everywhere. I bought the ornament pictured on the right at the Westin Causarina, where I was staying. I didn't actually see any turtles when I was on Grand Cayman, but the turtle symbol is everywhere, beginning on the tail of Cayman Airways plane I flew. I think the stingray should be their mascot, but the Caymanians are all about the turtle. I love how this one is making a snow angel in the sand! By the way, according to its label, this ornament was designed in Maine and made in China. Oh well…

Below is an ornament that I bought at Heathrow Airport last November. I had a really long wait, and I wasn't in the cool new Terminal 5, which I still haven't been to. There weren't that many stores in Terminal 3, but there was a little Harrods store that mostly sold things with the Harrods logo. I love the black London cabs, so when I saw that ornament, I just had to have it.

Now, I don't always remember how much I like my souvenir Christmas ornaments — and when faced with an overloaded souvenir shop I often forget completely, especially if the holidays are faraway. So hopefully now that I've written this this post I can start a real collection.

What are your favorite kinds of souvenirs?


5 Responses to Some of My Favorite Christmas Ornaments Are Also Some of My Favorite Souvenirs

  1. heather on her travels December 24, 2009 at 5:12 am #

    I think along similar lines & try to buy a decoration wherever I travel – they bring back memories when I see them all hanging on the tree together. You can see all my decorations here;

  2. Vera Marie Badertscher
    Twitter: pen4hire
    December 25, 2009 at 12:35 am #

    I buy an ornament each place we visit and after years and years of travel, I could use two–or even three trees. I have enough to decorate a Southwestern tree, a United States tree and a round-the-world tree. They long ago crowded out all the “normal” ornaments on my tree, and bring such joy and memories when I bring them out each year. You can see a few in a picture at A Traveler’s Library on my December 8 post.

  3. Stephanie December 25, 2009 at 9:47 am #

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who does this! It’s a tradition my family has been doing as long as I can remember. A drunk Santa on Bourbon ST. from New Orleans, a Union Jack ornament we bought at Harraods. Now that I travel solo I always bring one back with me. It’s great to decorate the tree and relive the memories on vacations past.
    It’s a tradition I hope to continue wen I’m settled enough to have my own Christmas tree someday.

  4. Michele Peterson December 23, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    Oh, I love that London black cab ornament. Christmas ornaments do make perfect souvenirs because they’re so small and packable yet so evocative of a destination.
    Michele Peterson recently posted..Why I’m volunteering in Guatemala

  5. Escape Hunter January 25, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

    Beautiful cute little Welsh dragon! 😀

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