Budding Ornament Collections

We have a very cool collection of ornaments that we've collected from all over the world. When I was a kid I had an aunt who would send me a personalized ornament each year as a Christmas gift, which is how my collection started. My mom always collects a hand-made ornament from each place around the country and world she visits, so when S and I were married we started doing the same.

Here are a few of the ornaments we collected during our first year of marriage.

The White House ornaments, a gift from S's mom each year:
 The handmade ski ornaments that were escort cards at my brother and sister-in-law's wedding last year.
 The beehive, a gift from my mom for our first Christmas last year.
 The hand-carved lobsterman, a souvenir from our honeymoon in Maine, and who just happens to be the most expensive ornament we own. But we splurged because he reminds us of our last night on our honeymoon where we feasted on lobsters overlooking the ocean after cooking them on a campfire.
 A bell with Santa riding a camel through the desert.
 A woven cross from Ireland.
 A sea turtle with a shell in the center, woven from palm leaves.
The airplane, of course. It's missing a few props to be S's plane, but it's a plane nonetheless.
 A hand carved bear to remind us of the baby bears that came running through our campsite during the first night of our honeymoon. And of the baby bear who came traipsing down the path as I stood in my underwear in 40 degree water trying to clean off from a 12 mile hike while simultaneously trying not to get hypothermia (or eaten by the mother bear).
 Sometimes the hand crafted rule is thrown out when, for example, the only store open in a particular location only has one ornament or thing that could possibly pass as an ornament. (We'll tie a string around just about anything if it's hand made, representative of the location and ornament-like).
 The hand painted shoe (I'm not sure of the country's significance, but I like shoes, so it works).
 And then sometimes there are just ornaments that are totally wacky and encompass every stereotype of a location. All this guy needs is a cup of shave ice next to him resting on that turtle's head.
 We also have a few ornaments that I made, like this black dog made of Sculpy clay.
 We also have some ornaments purchased at home, just because they appeal to us, like this flower and bee Steinbach ornament.
Occasionally I envy the trees with theme or single color decorations, but I love that each of our ornaments has a story. Are you a new-theme-each-year family or an ornament-with-a-story collector?

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